Cold Udon Salad with Bok Choy and Cucumbers

Welcome to another stop on the TLC Book Tour.  I received a free copy of The Woman in the White Kimono  for an honest review.  As always, I paired a recipe inspired from the book’s pages with this review.

About the book:

 Hardcover: 352 Pages

Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (May 28, 2019)

Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Ana Johns worked over twenty years in the creative arts field, as both a creative director and business owner, before turning her hand to fiction. Born and raised in metro Detroit, she now resides  in Indianapolis with her family.

The Woman in the White Kimono is her first novel.

What I thought.

Excellent novel by Ana Johns. The Woman in the White Kimono opens with a prologue narrated by Naoka Nakamura. She wisely states, “A life with love is happy. A life for love is foolish.” So starts this tale of a traditional Japanese family in the late 1950s in contrast with a present day American family. Naoka shares her narration with Tori, the daughter of an American soldier. You can see where this is going…

Johns swaps back and forth, juxtaposing Naoka’s  youthful days of happy love with Tori’s narration of caring for her dying father in present day. On his deathbed, her father tells her a tale of a beautiful bride in a white kimono in a magical lantern-lit garden. You can see where this is going…

I do not, however, want to give the impression that this is a predictable tale. It is not. Naoka is a strong character and does what she has to do, but it’s not a tale of woe (even though parts of the story are truly horrific).  Tori seeks out the mysterious and beautiful “woman in the white kimono” and uncovers a tale of stoicism, resolve and even calmness and serenity. I think she learns much from Naoka as she deals with her own sorrow.

I highly recommend this novel. The story is based on true events and do not skip the author’s notes at the end. Heartbreaking.

The food…

This is not a food-centric novel at all but I did find a few things to be inspired by:  breakfast of white rice, grilled fish and miso soup, Kompeito, tea, Dagashi candy, rice dumplings, brandy, casseroles, bowls of sake, Lemon Ban-cha tea, cold udon noodles and simmered dripping broth, Kobe beef with seasoned vegetables, no Omoi breakfast at hotel (pickles, tofu, fried cheese, chicken, rice), mochi cakes.

I was stuck on the noodles.  I remade an old recipe and tossed in bok choy and cucumbers.

Cold Udon Salad with Bok Choy and Cucumbers


Healthy and delicious and fresh and timely!


  • 1 T. chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 T. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 T. lite soy sauce
  • 2 T. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 t. sriracha
  • 2 bundles dried udon noodles, cooked according to directions
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 T. sesame seeds


  1. Place first eight ingredients in a blender.  Pulse to incorporate.  Set aside.
  2. Cook noodles in a large saucepan of boiling salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Drain; rinse under cold water, then drain again.
  3. Toss drained noodles with chopped cucumber and bok choy and dressing.
  4. Top with sesame seeds.  Serve.

Yield: 4

I was recently reading the benefits of bok choy in the June edition of EatingWell.  The article was aptly named “You Rock, Bok.” Bok choy is listed second on the CDC’s list of forty-one super fruits and veggies.  Bok is chockful of antioxidents that protect cells, improve immune function and block cancer forming cells.  It’s also high in vitamin C.    I love it raw but will start incorporating it in stir fries, too.

Please check out the other tour sites for The Woman in the White Kimono:

Tuesday, May 21st: Write Read Life

Wednesday, May 22nd: Tina Says

Thursday, May 23rd: The Hungry Bookworm

Thursday, May 23rd: Bookish Bliss and Beauty and @bookishblissandbeauty

Friday, May 24th: Asha Reads and @ashareads

Monday, May 27th: Tar Heel Reader and @tarheelreader

Tuesday, May 28th: Read Eat Repeat

Tuesday, May 28th: Lori’s Reading Corner – author guest post

Wednesday, May 29th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, May 30th: Helen’s Book Blog

Thursday, May 30th: The Baking Bookworm

Friday, May 31st: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Monday, June 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, June 4th: A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, June 5th: @chaptersofmar

Thursday, June 6th: Eliot’s Eats

Friday, June 7th: View from the Birdhouse

Monday, June 10th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Tuesday, June 11th: Books & Bindings

Wednesday, June 12th: Laura’s Reviews

Thursday, June 13th: Book by Book

Monday, June 17th: @oddandbookish

Tuesday, June 18th: The Book Return


I am linking up with Foodies Read for June

and Novel Food #36

and as with all my salad recipes (and soups and sammies), I’m also linking up with Deb’s Souper Sundays.

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