Southern Fried Sushi: A Novel

Southern Fried Sushi: A Novel

3.9 93
by Jennifer Rogers Spinola
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Hold on for a wild ride as Shiloh loses all she once prized and is left with the reality of all she once rejected.

See more details below

  • Checkmark First In Series NOOK Books  Shop Now

Overview

Hold on for a wild ride as Shiloh loses all she once prized and is left with the reality of all she once rejected.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Southern Fried Sushi is fun and heart-wrenching, deep and up-lifting. That is no mean feat. Jennifer Rogers Spinola has written a winner!
 ~Arlene James, author
Fresh Fiction - Viki Ferrell

This is an inspirational story that will surely touch your heart. It is a tale of someone searching for their own destiny and finding it right at their fingertips. Don't miss this special treat! 
Inside the Wong Mind - Kimberly Wong

I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story of a young woman's search for God. I loved how God's story of redemption was seamlessly woven into the plot and how Shiloh learns to accept the kindness and forgiveness of people she makes fun of. Her search for her Savior is so real and heartfelt -- I cried as she cried out to God for answers and healing. My favorite part of this book was that the romance is between Shiloh and God. This story is her journey as she searches for the God that her mother found and the God who changed her mother's life so dramatically. I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who enjoys a story about a girl searching for God in an unlikely place.
Five Star Books and More - Susan Choy

Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola was thoroughly entertaining, hilarious, deep and insightful! I loved Shiloh P. Jacobs and I’m still wondering what the “P” stands for…hmmmm maybe we’ll find out in the next book.  I also loved the mix of Japanese culture and Southern culture (especially the dialogue!).  Spinola has perfectly captured the feelings, thoughts and emotions of a person exposed to a radically different environment and culture.  And Shiloh’s feelings and issues with her mother are very convincing.  Kudos to Spinola for creating characters that seem 3D in this story!!!

Live, Love, and the Pursuit of Publication - Raenice Weakly

If you're into light-hearted books with a tiny splash of romance, Southern Fried Sushi is perfect. I am now reading the second book, Like Sweet Potato Pie (again with the cool titles), and I'm loving it so far. I'll definitely be on the lookout for book #3, Til Grits Do Us Part.
Radiant Lit - Pebbles Jacobo

Spinola is an excellent author and knows just the right elements to add, when to add them, and how to keep a story exciting and moving forward. The characters are all well developed and you get a real sense of the role they play in Shiloh’s life.
Book Bag Lady

I totally fell in love with the characters in this story.  The Southern charm, good wit, humour, kindness and deep belief in God make these people your next best friend!  Shiloh’s landing in Staunton, Virginia was the best thing that could ever have happened to her.  Not only does she gain a wild, unusual group of friends, but she discovers something about herself, her family and God along the way.  The writing was flawless, the characters well-developed and you’ll find yourself lost in the world of Shiloh and her new friends.  You’ll be doing yourself a great injustice if you miss this one! 

— Louise Jolly

Good Family Reads

This is a great Christian fiction (romance) book. I know...that''s a lame take..so let me further elaborate! The settings, both in Japan and in Virginia were so realistic (found out later that she lived in Japan and the deep south) that I would love to visit both places. I especially love books that can let me escape to another world and her descriptive prose definitely did it with this book. The plot...while a little crazy at first...I mean who has all those things happen at one time.. works for the rest of the story. The writing was like a fine hot pepper... slow to simmer but hot to the point and kept the heat on during the whole book.The characters each had their own believable flaws that kept me reading. The romance isn''t the heart of the story..it''s a fiction but the romance adds a great touch. Very highly recommend!!!!

— Jacque Stengel

Fresh Fiction

This is an inspirational story that will surely touch your heart. It is a tale of someone searching for their own destiny and finding it right at their fingertips. Don't miss this special treat!

 
— Viki Ferrell

Inside the Wong Mind

I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story of a young woman's search for God. I loved how God's story of redemption was seamlessly woven into the plot and how Shiloh learns to accept the kindness and forgiveness of people she makes fun of. Her search for her Savior is so real and heartfelt -- I cried as she cried out to God for answers and healing. My favorite part of this book was that the romance is between Shiloh and God. This story is her journey as she searches for the God that her mother found and the God who changed her mother's life so dramatically. I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who enjoys a story about a girl searching for God in an unlikely place.

— Kimberly Wong

The Readers Roundtable Inspirational Moments

Southern Fried Sushi is a beautifully written novel with a vibran
— Kathy Branfield

Five Star Books and More

Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola was thoroughly entertaining, hilarious, deep and insightful! I loved Shiloh P. Jacobs and I’m still wondering what the “P” stands for…hmmmm maybe we’ll find out in the next book.  I also loved the mix of Japanese culture and Southern culture (especially the dialogue!).  Spinola has perfectly captured the feelings, thoughts and emotions of a person exposed to a radically different environment and culture.  And Shiloh’s feelings and issues with her mother are very convincing.  Kudos to Spinola for creating characters that seem 3D in this story!!!

— Susan Choy

Radiant Lit

Spinola is an excellent author and knows just the right elements to add, when to add them, and how to keep a story exciting and moving forward. The characters are all well developed and you get a real sense of the role they play in Shiloh’s life.

— Pebbles Jacobo

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781607425588
Publisher:
Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Series:
Southern Fried Sushi , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
161,244
File size:
2 MB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Southern Fried Sushi


By Jennifer Rogers Spinola

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Rogers Spinola
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61626-364-5


CHAPTER 1

Uh-oh." Kyoko peeked over the cubicle at me with suspicious black-lined eyes. "They got your work address."

I stared at the envelope Yoshie-san dropped on my desk. Citibank Corp, it read. Not good.

"Mou ichimai," said Yoshie-san slowly, sifting through the mail stack. "One more. For Shiloh Jacobs." At least he meant to say "Shiloh." His thick Japanese accent rendered it so incomprehensible, it might have been "Spaghetti."

"Busted," whispered Kyoko insolently.

I waved her away with a scowl. "Mind your own business."

"Sumimasen. Mou nimai. Sorry. Two more." Yoshie-san's ink-stained fingers stopped on two more envelopes. "American Express. Daimaru."

I snatched them out of his hand and shoved them under my notebook. "You don't have to read my mail out loud!"

"You have a Daimaru card?" Kyoko stared. "From that big department store?"

I ignored her. "I'm busy. My big story on the Diet's due."

"I want a Daimaru card. How'd you get it?"

"Go to Daimaru and find out yourself."

"You know, it's pretty much impossible for foreigners to get credit cards here. What'd you do?"

I launched a paper ball over the cubicle wall and socked her squarely on her sleek bob, tinted with that mod dark purple-red tone we saw everywhere. In fact, I don't remember seeing anyone in Japan with black hair except Yoshie-san, the office helper. I saw chestnut and auburn and bleached blond in abundance, but no black. I should make a list.

Black hair? Yoshie-san. Mod purple-red? Kyoko. My next-door neighbor, Fujino-san. I added some more ticks. I should do a study on this for my master's. "Modern Japanese and Hair Color: A Study in Transitions."

"Ouch. What's your problem?" Kyoko rubbed her head. She spoke with perfect coastal English that betrayed her California roots. If I didn't look up, I'd think I sat across from a surfer.

The cursor blinked on my screen, and I typed a few more lines about the Japanese legislature, otherwise known as the Diet. When previous Prime Minister Koizumi's son starred in an ad for diet soda, I'd begged to write the article. The puns were too tempting. But thankfully somebody axed the idea before it ever made it to editor Dave Driscoll.

Somehow I'd become the reporter Associated Press tapped for political stories. Kyoko dabbled in legal articles.

"Wanna go to lunch?" Kyoko could change subjects in the blink of an eye.

"Meeting Carlos. In Shibuya." The corners of my mouth turned up.

Tap, tap, tap from Kyoko's side. "Wanna join us? He's bringing along his new roommate. Wants me to check her out and make sure she's ... you know. Normal. Not psycho or anything."

"Her?" The tapping stopped. "You're kidding, right?"

"I said the same thing. But he told me not to worry. Just business, and he's not attracted to her and whatnot."

"They all say that."

"He's engaged. To me." I waved my ring at her.

"Doesn't mean a thing."

I glared at her again. "I trust Carlos. He's never lied to me."

No response. Just those black, overplucked eyebrows. She thinks I'm a moron.

"Do you want to come or not?"

"I'd better. Moral support. 'Cause believe me, you're gonna need it."

"Whatever."

"Five more minutes. Gotta get this to editing ASAP."

I added a few more lines, saved, and turned off the screen. The end of this month made two years working for the Associated Press bureau in Tokyo as a news reporter—a heady jump from college papers and my aspirations of the New York Times for as long as I could remember.

Not that I hadn't worked for it though. I'd grown up in Brooklyn, read every page of the paper since age eight, and studied my tail off at Cornell—double majoring in Japanese and journalism. Studied a year abroad at Kyoto University, number two in the country, and homestayed in Nara. Interned at the Rochester Democrat and New York Post and worked six months at my beloved Times. And suddenly I found myself in Shiodome, Tokyo, in a brand-new office, halfway through my online master's program in journalism and ethics. With awards lining up behind my name.

Kyoko slung her black skull-printed purse over her shoulder and played with the mouse while I gathered my purse and keys.

The corners of the envelopes stared at me accusingly, and I quietly slid my notebook back.

Shiloh P. Jacobs, they read in stern, accusing fonts. No mistake. Not only was there no possibility of another Shiloh Jacobs in the entire country, but the amazing Japanese postal system once delivered my friend's letter from New York when the address smudged. They read the names in the letter, guessed the recipient from the context, and forwarded the letter—to my correct apartment no less. Back in Brooklyn I still got mail for Mr. Pham, who'd moved back to Vietnam in 1987.

I was still staring at the envelopes when Kyoko scared me by appearing over my shoulder.

"Uh-huh. As I suspected."

I slapped my notebook down over the envelopes and pushed her with both arms. "Out! Now!"

"How much did your last trip cost?" We walked through rows of cubicles with reporters typing furiously and piles of paper, sprawling books, and boxes stacked everywhere. Reporters never close books or throw paper away; they just stow them somewhere for future use.

"Which trip?"

Kyoko stared at me. "What do you mean, 'which trip?' To Brazil of course." She pretended to smack me in the forehead. "That must've cost a fortune!"

We closed the glass office door and pushed the elevator button. "I couldn't miss Carnaval, Kyoko. The biggest Mardi Gras in the world. It was the trip of a lifetime."

I closed my eyes and remembered the wild samba, the crowds, the late-night euphoria and thick salt air of the beach. Lights reflected over the dark water, mirroring the two famous bulges of Pão de Açúcar mountains. I'd flown back to Japan with confetti in my hair.

"Well, you'll pay on it for a lifetime." Kyoko folded her arms grumpily.

A Japanese woman with fake blue contacts got on, and I quietly made a tick mark in my reporter's pad under Sandy Blond.

"What's that?" Kyoko demanded.

I put a finger to my lips and put the pad back in my jacket pocket. The elevator dinged, and the woman got out.

"Research. I'm doing a study on hair color in Japan for my master's."

"Aren't you studying ethics?"

"Sure. The impact of Western imperialism and globalization on traditional cultural attitudes. What do you think?"

Kyoko raised her eyebrows. "You're just weird. Period."

I smirked. The elevator was empty, so I turned to the mirror and brushed lint off my new navy-blue jacket. A lightweight silky weave from Comme des Garçons—a super-spendy splurge after a particularly heated argument with Carlos. But I have to admit, it did suit my straight, dark brown hair and hazelish-greenish eyes with their distinctive flecks. All the summer pastels seemed to wash me out, but this did the trick. And my Louis Vuitton silk scarf pulled everything together. Just one Louis Vuitton. I promised myself.

In my teenage years I'd dressed like a bum: torn-up jeans, T-shirts. But this was AP and Tokyo, and the combination reshaped me in ways I'd never imagined. It also reshaped my wallet.

The doors opened with an automated announcement from a high-pitched woman's voice, and we stepped out into the brilliant late-June sun. And heat.

I took off my scarf immediately and folded it in my purse. And my jacket. Draped it over my arm.

Kyoko wiped her brow. "This is awful! I feel like I'm in New Mexico. Ro-chan ..." She moaned. "Are you really going all the way to Shibuya? Again? It's like the third time this week!"

I grinned at the nickname she'd given me: "Ro-chan." Chan is an honorific, so she called me, in effect, "Little Honorable Ro." Kyoko would never admit in English that I had any honor, but in Japanese it just sort of happened.

Ro? That's another story. Not only did I have to repeat my unusual name—Shiloh—over and over to Tokyo-ites in various red shades of embarrassment, but it's utterly impossible to pronounce in Japanese. And not just for Yoshie-san.

Just trying to sound out the warped vowels and syllables to fit in the Japanese phonetic alphabet was sheer torture. It ended up something like "Shaee-row," since there exists no "shy" sound or L in any form in the Japanese alphabet, and gave us all a headache.

My mom had single-handedly given me a name where each and every syllable got butchered in Japanese. She'd accomplished a pretty good feat; I'd never seen another name like it. I hoped she enjoyed her little prank.

"Carlos wants me to," I pleaded. The oppressive heat rushed at us in all directions, making it hard to breathe. "He's really busy."

"And you're not?"

"Not as busy as he is, I guess." My red face dripped sweat, and my clothes stuck to me.

"Thank goodness!" Kyoko grabbed a mini pack of tissues from a noisy gaggle of spiked-and dyed-haired young people on the sidewalk. Companies and stores gave tissues away by the pack as advertising, boasting bright pictures on the clear plastic. She tossed me one, and I mopped my forehead.

"Good thing, too. My collection at home is getting sparse. With freebies like these, I never have to buy tissues anymore." I turned over the package and read the kanji characters. "Kinoko Records. Checked it out yet?"

"Yeah. It's all right. I found some good Ramones stuff there once. And a bunch of Japanese punk albums. More punk than post-punk, but darker than New Wave."

I never knew what Kyoko was talking about when she started in on her music, which included a heavy dose of retro '80s stuff, so I pulled out my reporter's pad. "Did you catch the hair colors back there? At least one neon blue."

"You're wasting your time."

Maybe. But I knew Kyoko's secret from the distant gleam in her eyes. She adored "Akiba"—Akihabara, Tokyo's geeky electronics district. That's where all of her extra cash disappeared. Video games, cool stuff for her computer, anime comic books. Record shops reminded her of electronics shops. She was probably plotting her next trip now.

"Akiba this weekend?" she suddenly asked, and I laughed out loud.

We ducked into the subway station already jammed with people jostling in line for tickets that popped out of a machine. The turnstiles opened, and we joined the waiting throngs.

The next two cars were so full we couldn't even get on, with people squishing out of them and white-gloved "pushers" shoving arms, legs, expensive purses, shopping bags, and occasionally heads through the slowly closing doors.

On the third try the crowd finally spit us into the subway car and smooshed us up against the glass with contorted faces. Kyoko, dressed all in Gothic black, looked scary as she grimaced and sponged her forehead with another tissue.

"Is that a real Louis Vuitton?" she demanded, snatching the corner of my scarf out of my purse when I dug for my tissue pack.

I snatched it back and zipped my purse shut. "Why do you care?"

Her reflection stared back at me in the glass. "Girl. You are a spender."

"Just like you in Akiba."

"I bet all my comic books cost less than a corner of that little silk thing in your purse."

"I bet they don't."

"So Carlos has a girl living with him now?" She wrinkled her nose, and her piercing glittered. She'd just done the one-second subject change again.

"For now. Says it's temporary. The last guy had gang tattoos and never paid rent." I put my nose in the air. "I don't see any problem with it, provided she respects our relationship. I'm a modern woman."

Kyoko shot me a look. "She better be ugly as sin. That's all I'm saying."

"Then don't." I turned my thoughts to Carlos. Carlos Torres Castro hailed from Argentina (or, as he pronounced it, Arhentina) and in the words of more than one female friend was a knockout. Dark lashes and even darker brows framed gorgeous almond-shaped black eyes, and his skin glowed with a perpetual tan. He was a stockbroker, twenty-seven, just three years older than me—and he let his wavy hair grow just a little over the collar of his fashionable dark suits. Total Arhentinian style.

I fingered the big diamond on my left hand, wondering if I'd lost my sanity to get engaged four months ago—in only my second year at AP. But we're talking about Mr. Right here. Mr. More-Than-Right, with a Spanish accent.

He'd offered me the ring over wine and steak. "Sí?" he'd said, turning those pleading eyes to me, almost too beautiful to look at.

"Sí," I replied and slipped it on my finger. It dazzled in the candlelight like fire trapped in glass. And so we were affianced. No wedding date in sight, perhaps not for the next two or three years. But it would happen. We just needed time.

Time. I checked my watch for the tenth time, still too many stops away from Shibuya. The train lurched to a halt, opened its doors, and out rolled a moving sea of people. Kyoko and I hung on to the rings dangling from the ceiling for our lives. The tide poured back in, blasting us like seaweed in a typhoon.

Red kanji characters burned overhead as the doors closed, announcing the next stop, and my eyes bounced over silent, charcoal-gray-clad businessmen avoiding eye contact, a subway map, and too-colorful advertisements for green tea and soap. No one spoke. Kyoko stuck her iPod buds in her ears, harsh guitar chords audible even over the chunk-chunk of the tracks.

When the subway car finally eased to a stop at Shibuya station, I'd melted into a rumpled, wrinkled mass of sweat. We stumbled out into the station and across the platform, following humanity up, up, and up the stairs toward daylight.

We didn't have to think. The crowds moved us along without effort, like a piece of flotsam in a flood. I just had to remember to keep right so running businessmen could speed past on my left.

The right-left thing changed, though, from city to city. So I had to stay on my toes.

"What's the P in your middle name stand for?"

Obviously I had to stay on my toes at all times with Kyoko, too. I narrowed my eyes at her. "Nice try." This time she'd done the split-second subject change on purpose. Trying to catch me off guard. "I'll never tell. So you can stop asking."

"Must be pretty wild if you don't use it instead of your first name."

"Wouldn't you like to know." I stuck my tongue out at her.

"Where are you meeting?"

"At Hachiko. We always meet there."

People crisscrossed our paths yakking into tiny flip cell phones, sucking Starbucks straws, and tuned out with iPods. No two faces looked alike: topped with a delivery cap, wrapped in an Indian turban, or hair cut in the fashionable, shaggy Japanese teen look. But all were on a mission: lunch. And air-conditioning.

I took my scarf out of my purse and tied it on then put on my navy-blue jacket. Even in the heat. And my new pricey sunglasses. Rolled on a bit of perfume from the glass tube in my purse.

"Done yet?"

I sniffed at Kyoko. "Can't help it I want to look nice. Look! There's Hachiko."

As we grew closer to the unassuming bronze statue of a dog, I felt a lump strain my throat. According to the story, Hachiko waited at Shibuya Station every evening for his master to arrive—until the day the man suffered a stroke and never returned. Still Hachiko waited. Even after they gave him away, he escaped and waited at the station at the time of the train. For ten whole years until he finally died in 1935.

No story had ever gripped me as much as Hachiko's, and nothing in my adult life—ever—had made me want to cry.

Hachiko chose to love. And stay. Unlike everybody else in my so-called life.

I blinked under my sunglasses at Hachiko's characteristic bent ear in bronze.

"You okay? You haven't even met her yet."

I whacked Kyoko with my purse. "I don't care about her! Will you forget it? Honestly!" I crossed my arms and scowled at a group of boisterous European tourists, laughing and taking pictures of three delicate Japanese girls, all decked in colorful cotton yukata kimonos and shyly waving fans.

I started to say more, but a pair of black eyes lazily strode into view. "Little late, aren't you?" he said in his spicy accent, kissing me lightly on both cheeks. Not a bead of sweat—even in a full suit. Tropical blood, I guess. And he smelled wonderful. I leaned closer and tried to memorize the scent.

"It's rush hour, babe." I took his arm.

He tugged on my scarf. "Is that real? What am I gonna do with you, spending all your money?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola. Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Rogers Spinola. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >