I’m Big in Japan. Really.

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Image of Kitchen Counter Cooking School_JapaneseA couple months ago, I began to notice a lot of Japanese folks trying to friend me on Facebook. I couldn’t figure it out.

Then, I got an email overnight on Sunday that explained it all.

My second book, “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School,” was recently published in Japan. Apparently, it’s doing so well there that it just went into its fourth printing. Coincidentally, my niece Sarah is living in Tokyo studying Japanese and teaching English. She went into a bookstore and there was a stack of books right in the front of the store.

According to fellow writer, Mathew Amster-Burton, the Japanese title translates to “The Magic Cooking Classroom that Changes Bad Girls’ Lives.” Magic? Bad Girls? Yes! I love it. Then, at the bottom, a great sales pitch: “Buy this and you will become happy.”

Curiously, my Book of the Year (Memoir/Biography) award from American Society of Journalists & Authors made it onto the Japanese cover, even though Viking/Penguin never put it on the U.S. edition.

Encouraged by the publisher there, readers are posting photos of food they’ve made from the book, including roast chickens and loaves of bread, all over the place, including Twitter. The publicist said that people are debating which kind of cook they are compared to the people in the book. “I think I am more of a Donna, but then I think maybe I am a Dri.”

They set up a special hashtag #TYVMKathleen so that Japanese fans can communicate with me directly on Twitter. (For non-millenials, “TYVM” stands for “thank you very much.”)

I can’t read Japanese, but their enthusiasm is not lost in translation. I am completely moved by the outpouring of affection from readers so far away. I’m delighted that I can now legitimately use the phrase, “I’m Big in Japan.”

I’ve been invited to go to Tokyo to do some media to promote the book in mid-July. Mike and I were planning to go to visit Sarah anyway, so this has all turned out to be a terrific turn of events. It reminded me, too, what a great, useful book that is for so many people. I had originally planned to do an in-depth series of videos based on the lessons and potentially pull together a visual cookbook with extended recipes. This turn of events has encouraged me to reconsider those plans.

If you’re not familiar with the book, here’s the trailer Mike and I made for it when it launched here in the U.S.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.


  1. Irene Flinn says:

    That is totally awesome. When you go to Japan, Sarah can be your translator! So very proud of you!

  2. What a great story! So happy to see a fellow Michigander make it big in Japan!

  3. Yes, you are big in Japan!! I read your book in both languages (the translator did a terrific job). What a wonderful and powerful way to change your life! Cooking was not my forte, but since I read your book, I bought good sharp knives and I realized how much it changed my cooking (I don’t have to cry anymore when I slice onions!!). Have a great trip!

  4. Kathleen – Read all your books. Only one comment – WRITE MORE!!

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