6.3 × 8 inches
MariNaomi's newest memoir, Turning Japanese, is on the one hand a chronological continuation of her first memoir, Kiss and Tell, as it picks up more-or-less right after the final relationship depicted in that book. On the other hand, it also has a good bit in common with her shorter works that were originally published on The Rumpus and later collected as Dragon's Breath And Other Stories. Turning Japanese is all about not just contradictions and opposites, but also about how someone can be and feel two things at once. In a society that privileges binary distinctions (and almost always creates a hierarchy based on those distinctions), MariNaomi's status as someone frequently in-between points out how simply living her life in certain places and spaces created a tension born from social mores being stretched. She's a person, not an accumulation of traits, and as such this book is about the thoughts and feelings that go into creating and presenting one's identity as well as exploring different aspects of one's roots. All of this is done with an absence of pretension and an emphasis on humor, and it's served to the reader in the form of both extended narratives and bite-sized vignettes.