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Publishers Weekly

Fish & Fashion

Mari Lorraine Kimura. A Zone Publishing, $14.99 trade paper (357p) ISBN 978-0-9832193-0-9

Kimura's overly detailed memoir charts the life of a Japanese-American woman who worked in the fishing industry before becoming a successful stylist and costume designer in Hollywood. Kimura drops celebrity names and encounters throughout, including her childhood meetings with Donnie and Marie Osmond. Her father actually comes across as the "creative genius" she dubs him, although his accomplishments are lessened by some major missed opportunities. According to his daughter, Tadao Kimura was the real inventor of the California Roll, and blew opportunities to be an early investor in Microsoft and distribute Hello Kitty products in the U.S. The author's decision to end her memoir abruptly in 1992--just as she "discovered the missing link to an amazing technology that may someday revolutionize the way to environmental cleanup"--is an odd one, even if the event did turn her into a "pro-environmental, self-educated scientist." Nonetheless, Kimura's prose is solid, if not gripping, and readers who persevere will get a partial picture of an interesting and original life.

Reviewed on: 07/11/2011


Fish and Fashion

Lee Kissinger - Review

A fascinating story written by a fascinating woman. Author Mari Lorraine Kimura tells of a life filled

with action, adventure, family, friends, relationships and real life problems and solutions. I honestly couldn't put the book down in anticipation of reading about her next escapade and the interesting people that have come and gone through her life. If this is just the first half of her story I can hardly imagine the excitement she is going to bring us in the second half. I look forward to reading more adventures about this wonderful woman and her amazing life.

Dec. 18, 2011


“Fish and Fashion”…a review by B.D. Otis

Fish and Fashion is the true story of one woman’s rise and fall (and then rise again) through a myriad of careers and life experiences. It is truly an inspiring story, at times amusing and other times heart breaking. The book covers the life of Mari L. Kimura, a woman who has had so many careers and life lessons that someone should write a book about it. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened here.

The title caught me off-guard, as I wondered what the possible relationship could be between “Fish” and “Fashion”. I soon found out, as I read about her work experiences. From the mostly male dominated fishing industry to the stressful and competitive world of fashion…and everything in between. Her interactions with the real characters she meets along the way reminds me of a modern day Forrest Gump. Just when you’re thinking “what else could possibly happen?”, something even more incredible happens. Although I’m sure that there’s more to some of the stories (especially an encounter with a well-known celebrity), Ms. Kimura has the class to not turn the book into a Hollywood gossip scandal; but rather simply tells the tales for their information and entertainment value…and some of them are extremely entertaining. I mean, how many people can say that they’ve had a private singing performance from their favorite teen idol? That’s just one of the stories you’ll discover.

Fish and Fashion is an easy read, and you should be able to finish it in a day or two. The surprisingly abrupt ending left me wanting more, so hopefully there will be a sequel. If you’re looking for an enjoyable and inspirational book, pick up a copy. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed on November 25, 2011


Fish and Fashion, A Memoir By Mari Lorraine Kimura

A Zone Publishing (2011), Total Pages: 357

Book Reviewer: Antoinette Palazzola (8/23/2011)

The author, Mari Lorraine Kimura, is a second generation Japanese American Woman. “She has Japanese blood, an American mentality and a Latin heart.” This book is a memoir of the author’s life starting in the 1950’s when her father immigrated to America through 1990, the year she had a spiritual calling at the image of the Virgin Mary at the Basilica de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico.

          The authentic quality of this memoir is obvious in the detail and organization in which the author writes. The personal experience of the author allows the reader to comfortably connect and follow along with the author on her journeys. The first person style gives permission to the reader to look through the eyes of a young Japanese American girl, which makes this memoir culturally diverse and historically valuable.

          The content is extremely edifying and engaging. There were a couple of suspenseful moments like the Shark(s) encounter (p.126) that literally raised my adrenalin and had me at the edge of my seat and a few humorous moments where I found myself laughing out loud. Stories in this book range from exciting action adventure, like the one found in the flood story (p.122) to the deeply moving and profound bank deposit moment regarding Peter and HIV (p.223), which personally, brought me to tears. The reader is able to identify with clever sayings like: “When you cater to the class, you live in the mass”, regarding the fashion marketing industry and “Soul Control”.

          This memoir raises moral and ethical questions. Despite disturbing content, the reader will gain an enhancement of understanding into our human races’ modern day destruction and imminent extinction of the ocean’s marine life. This book brings to light important topics like overfishing and net fishing wastefulness (p.144) and how they are the direct cause of widespread depletion and endangerment of animals like dolphins, sea lions and tuna. It exposes evil acts perpetrated by opportunists in the fishing industry, who have not been held accountable for their reprehensible actions toward marine life. This book serves as a humanitarian tool, in terms of animal rights and in the sense that it suggests that every human must take responsibility to bring about justice for all earthlings. I highly recommend this book to all readers.


Book review by Felicia Bonnie Case - August 14, 2011

When I first began reading the book, Fish and Fashion, I thought it sounded a like a female Forrest Gump story. Kept waiting for the male version of Jenny to appear but there was no love interest. Love interest would have been nice, though it is not really needed. The book focused on Mari.

I continued reading I found that it was a very interesting story about Mari's life. Sometimes it sounded like a tell all but she never said anything really bad. Mari spoke of people as they truly presented themselves. Another might have portrayed a person that did them wrong in a more negative tone such as other tell all books have done.

Mari gave a lot of insight in the endeavors she encountered and the processes that help navigate through the occurrences. The detail of how people were sneaky and greedy is a lesson that most of us find out about too late. The story of Mari's father's business dealing is a must read for people who do business..

Mari has done so much with her life. I'm thinking that putting this book in young woman hands might help them get some ideas to expand and do their own lives. There are teenagers who have ideas about doing fashion and I found the way you had opportunities inspiring.

I felt like the last chapter with the vision was a direction but then it suddenly stopped. It would have been nice to know how it blossomed from 1990 till current. Another chapter that tied her new journey to the author note would have been good. I imagine this book to be part of a class reading in a school. It would be nice for young minds except most probably do not know anyone mention.

As I read I thought of my own life and I was amazed that we had been in the same area. We could have passed each other on the street and I would have never known. I remember at that time when I went to DMV for my license I was so worried about passing I could not think of anything else. We might have walked by each other at the same time and never have known it. I went to Fairfax and Hollywood high from 1975 to 1977.

Overall I found the book very informative and it shows how Mari has a unique mind that strives just like her dad.


          Elyse Kusunoki - August 30, 2011

I just finished reading, "Fish & Fashion" by Mari L. Kimura. What a great read!!! Since I'm your typical avid murder/mystery fan, I normally do not read memoirs or autobiographies. However, since I was looking for something to read, I 'borrowed' the book from my husband and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.....a captivating story. While Mari's experiences were not always glamorous or easy, she certainly has led a fascinating and extraordinary life! What an extremely talented and resourceful person. My only 'issue' was that Mari was often too trusting and "nice"; consequently she was sometimes misled and taken advantage of by her friends and family. Nevertheless, Mari has achieved more than most people have in a lifetime and should be proud of her accomplishments.

Thanks again for the opportunity to read "Fish & Fashion". I hope to meet this remarkable person someday.


David Banuelos – August 31, 2011

‘Fish & Fashion’ is a compelling story of the life and adventures of Mari L. Kimura. It’s an easy read and once you get started you won’t want to put it down. Mari’s family life was a constant struggle, starting in childhood to present day. I can’t imagine being shipped off to live with my grandmother so early in life having both parents and 2 siblings in the household. Mari was used over and over again for family business, but she still was able to carve her own nich in life and become extremely successful on her own.

Learning from her father’s business mistakes is a huge lesson learned for her and anyone else that is pursuing business ventures. Being taken advantage of so many times taught Mari about the legalities of big business and for the rest of us as well after reading this book.

Mari took full advantage of her father’s ties in Japan for business ventures and eventually used that experience to a highly successful career in Hollywood, as a fashion designer and image consultant in fashion and other areas of entertainment.

The book is well written and keeps the reader’s attention all the way to the end, which is not really an ending in my opinion. The story is not yet finished. Her pursuit to help the environment is admirable and I wish her nothing but success in that venture so that we all can benefit from it. Great Read.


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