Potato In A Rice Bowl

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
416 Pages
Reviewed on 06/11/2011
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Author Biography

Peggy Keener spent nearly thirty years on the "other" side of the world, eighteen of which were in Japan in two time segments. The first began in 1962, the time period for her laugh-out-loud "Potato In A Rice Bowl."

Following that the Keeners lived in Okinawa, Australia, Bali, Thailand, and then back to Japan for another decade. Each country proved to be a fertile source for her ever growing collection of rollicking, knee-slapping stories.

While in Japan, Peggy not only raised her family, but also taught English throughout the country to thousands of Japanese ranging in age from five to seventy-five. She, as well, worked on national television, was the voice on numerous books-on-tape, lectured throughout Japan, and was an actress in umpteen TV commercials. Her study and love of Japanese antiques, in particular the tansu, have also made her a frequent guest speaker in both Japan and America.

One morning on a very early, very overcrowded commuter train to Tokyo, Peggy took a look around her and decided it was high time to go home and become a 100% American again. By then the three children had finished college and begun their own lives. Yes, it was time to be a potato in a genuine potato bowl again!

Grandcherubs beckoned her back to, of all places, her beloved Minnesota. She is now contentedly settled in Minneapolis with her husband, two dogs and nearby family. When Peggy isn't writing, gardening, decorating or shoveling snow, she works as a professional food taste

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

It was the early 1960's; Glen Keener had just graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Asian Studies. The former soldier was quickly hired by the US Army as a civilian in the Intelligence Branch. Glen, Peggy and their two children packed up and moved to Tokyo. She was from Austin, Minnesota; how would she cope with living half way around the world?

Peggy Keener weaves threads together to create the tapestry upon which their lives played out. She deftly describes her adventure sail boating. I will not spoil the scene for other readers. I will say, I always wanted to try sailing; she changed my mind! Her description of their son Percy's diaper was hilarious and brought back many memories. The reader must remember this was before disposable diapers. Percy weighed 30 pounds, and one or two diapers were never enough to keep him dry. It took seven or eight diapers meticulously folded to catch his "jet stream." It was a three day trip to Japan. It took a lot of diapers!

Peggy Keener kept me laughing throughout the entire 407 pages. I believe Peggy's sense of humor was what made her life in Japan livable. Attitude is everything. Her description of the Japanese toilet was hilarious. They were flush with the floor with a six inch reflector shield and you had to bring your own tissue. Peggy's attitude was, "When in Rome do as Romans." So when in Japan, do as Japanese do. It does not have quite the same ring to it. The Keener's adventures are entertaining. I can certainly understand why Peggy became a television star in Japan.

I love this book. Keener brings the city of Tokyo to life. I admire the way she embraced the culture with little complaint. I know the family was happy to return to the states. I'm also sure they look back on their life in Japan with fond memories. Keener is a fantastic writer. Her style is comical and is a cross between narrator and conversationalist. I look forward to reading more books by this talented lady.