A book giveaway!


This is one of those books that was almost impossible to put down.

I don't get much time to read anymore so when I get the chance to cozy up with a book, it has to be good. If I'm not captured in the first chapter I don't bother. This book did not disappoint!

About the book:

The story is a journey through the eyes of a young Chinese boy, Henry, growing up in Seattle during World War II just after the attack at Pearl Harbor. Although Henry's parents are very traditional Chinese, they insist that he attend an "all-white" private school to become more "American". He doesn't fit in. He faces all of the usual struggles of a 12 year old boy combined with the reality of discrimination and bullying as an after affect of Pearl Harbor. Eventually he meets "Keiko" a girl his age, at his "all-white" school, also there at the insistance of her parents who are Japanese. This becomes the premise of the entire book. An innocent but forbidden love. A struggle between respect for his parents wishes and becoming the man he has chosen to be.

The hotel referenced in the title is the Panama Hotel in Seattle. This is where Japantown and Chinatown were said to intersect.  Although this is a fiction piece, there are many references to actual places and historical facts. The video below narrated by the author, Jamie Ford, helps to explain the background of this story.

After reading this book I felt compelled to go on an adventure with my friend and see what "Japantown", or "Nihonmachi", looks like today and to visit the Panama Hotel. Here is what I found...

Jan Johnson, the owner of the Panama Hotel just happened to be sitting nearby. She was so gracious to spend some time sharing her experience with us and how she has worked to preserve Panama's history and treasures. I didn't realize that the hotel was fully functioning still and I am dying to go back for a tour of the basement!

Jan, the owner of Panama Hotel holding photos of the original space
The tea and coffee shop was such a cozy and relaxing atmosphere that I didn't want to leave.

If you visit the Panama Hotel Tea and Coffee House you will meet the sweetest bilingual barista with her notes beautifully handwritten in Japanese...

Below is a slideshow of photos from today's adventure at the Panama Hotel.


You can read more about Jan, and what she has done for the community here.

To enterpost to your facebook account and let me know in the comment section.

To enter again: tell me one of your favorite books.

For double points: support the local community and go visit the Panama Hotel (or Tea & Coffee house), sign the guest book and tell me about it!

I will announce the winner in 3 weeks!


  1. Wow! This is awesome! I am in awe! I want to go have a tour with you:) Good work! Great pic! Quite the story.. really cool Kim!

  2. Check this out! Cool book review/ give-away by my dear friend! Also see her other posts below!

  3. Ok, I "liked", "shared" and will tell you one of my favorite books; "Seven days in Utopia".
    So, how many entries did I earn? wink

  4. Great information and I'm very interested in this book now!

  5. OMG! I cant wait to read this book. As new transplant to the Seattle Area I find this type of information fascinated. This book is definitely on my reading list. Cant wait to share my thoughts with you.

  6. One of my favorite book that I just read is Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya. I think its a great read for anyone that has experience adoption.

  7. Thanks Kim - wonderful reporting from the Panama Hotel!

  8. I posted about Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet on FB.

  9. One of my latest favorite books (I have so many.) is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

  10. I shared on Facebook.

  11. One of my favorite recently read books is The Hunger Games.

  12. I just finished a book that I really liked--One Amazing Thing. I forget the author's name, though.

  13. [...] on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”. This was an amazing read and lead to a fantastic adventure for me, exploring Seattle in a new way. I hope you all have a chance to read [...]

  14. You are the book winner!

    See today's post at http://designonce.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/book-giveaway-winner/


by mlekoshi