Robert Reed

On ramen, Japanese gardeners and Hello Kitty

On ramen, Japanese gardeners and Hello Kitty

The main character in many of Naomi Hirahara's mystery novels is a 70-something Japanese American gardener who sleuths about solving crimes in places like downtown Los Angeles' flower mart. The California section's Jason Song interrogated the author and former editor of Rafu Shimpo at the Mitsuru Grill on 1st Street. We later emailed a few questions and crunched the conversation into this:

Rafu Shimpo? Did that confuse people when you called?

I introduced myself as being from the Japanese American daily newspaper in L.A. Sometimes we got mail addressed to Mr. Shrimpo.

There weren't many skater shops or places called...