Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Book review : KA-E-RO-U Time To Go Home - B. Jeanne Shibahara

I was recently offered a review copy of KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home, and, reading the summary of the book, I was instantly intrigued. Having spent half of my life living in France, I love discovering differences in cultures, whether that be through food, music, traditions or history, and this book promised to give me a captivating and fascinating insight into a country I know little about : Japan.

The central character of the novel - Meryl - is a middle-aged, American mum, whose son is now grown up and working in Japan. Her father has just remarried and is going off on honeymoon and, as her husband was killed during the war in Vietnam, leaving her to bring up their son as a widowed, single mum, she is feeling a bit lost, unwanted and unneeded. A friend passes on a new project to her - a Japanese flag from World War II, stained with blood and marked with messages. Meryl gets in touch with her son's Japanese teacher at the university and he encourages her to go to Japan, catch up with her son and hunt down the flag's owner.

Meryl heads off into the unknown, catching a flight to Japan and discovering that her son is off travelling. Luckily, his bunch of co-workers at an English school take her under their wings and introduce her to some of Japan's unmissable customs and traditions, while helping her track down the family. She then heads off on a road-trip to return the flag to the sister of the soldier, who invites her to take part in a ceremony to honour her brother's memory and release his spirit on to the next part of his journey. Despite the miles between their homes and the differences in language and culture, their one universal point - the loss of a loved one - brings the two women together, allowing them to say goodbye to their pasts and open themselves up the possibilities that the future may hold.

It's an uplifting, positive story, filled with fascinating insights into life in Japan, past and present. From kimonos to Matagi hunters, sushi to ikebana, it will lead from the things you vaguely know in Japanese culture to notions that have never even crossed your mind, bringing in the unknown whilst also leading to the discovery that, beneath it all, we all have the same humanity and love.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : currently £5.93 on amazon

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (13 Oct. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1719859264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1719859264
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. Cheryl,
    Thank you for your thoughtful, sensitive, and perceptive review...expressed so beautifully. Wishing you and yours "love in the simplest things."
    B. Jeanne Shibahara

    1. Thank you ... both for the book and your kind comment :)

  2. Great review, I loved this book!


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