5 StarsI debated on this one 4.5 or 5 stars, but in the end, going with 5 Stars!What an absolutely lovely story. My eyes are still wet and my chest still feels tight…I don’t typically read m/m romances although not sure exactly why. The few I’ve read have been very good. This one was just a beautiful read. I would lower my rating slightly because the story drags a bit in places. A more patient individual may not even mind. In the end, the absolute beauty of the story made my mind up for me.This was a story about two very different men. One a Yakuza Captain [Shigure Matsunaga], and the other a visiting American artist. Our American, Ken Harris was raised in Japan and is fluent in the culture, the language with all its’ many nuances. They meet at a party and begin a dialogue. We start here.It appears the Japanese culture is very accepting of homosexual relationships, so this isn’t a barrier for these two, so is, in a sense different than we typically read about in other m/m books. Sure, Ken has the issues with his family accepting, but he seems to be wise and has personally moved beyond this. What appears to be the barrier is the simple fact that Ken is Gaijin; a rather reverse prejudice. Even being Yakuza and with his very low beginnings, Shigure feels Ken not completely worthy but is willing to play with the Gaijin for a while.This story is about finding love and overcoming many obstacles, the most important being yourself, next being a societal mores and deeply rooted prejudice.What did I like about this story? Wow, a tough one because I really liked the whole thing, but to outline it a bit for you:1 – It portrays, very richly, the Japanese culture. I’m definitely no expert, but the author appeared to know what she was talking about. Her use of the language and terms was throughout the book, but if never put me off. She had a way of explaining her meaning without blatantly “explaining her meaning”. Almost like she was educating me very subtlety. Such beauty in the language and nuances of this culture. How they use words to do more than communicate in the single dimension.2 – I thoroughly enjoyed Shigure Matsunaga. He is a 37 year old man and has risen to the role of Yakuza Captain. This is no easy fete, but he appears to be tough, but caring about his crew who all live on a compound inside Tokyo. He is very comfortable with who he is and his relationship with “his Gaijin”. He is truly a lesson in contrasts. He is tough, but tender. He is romantic, but blunt and direct. He eventually loves Ken to distraction, and then loves him with his whole being. He tests this at every turn learning to trust himself, learning to trust Ken.3 – The relationship between Ken and Shigure. These two have the problems everyone has in relationships the world over. They seem to operate as a team almost from the very beginning. As if they are the other half of each other. It takes them a while to realize this about the other and the journey they take us on is a wonderful one. The intimacies they share are so raw and emotional, it left me speechless. I would read it and have tears running down my face at the artistic visualization this author painted just for me. Truly rare when you find an author that can make you feel this way.This book may not be for everyone, but I am very glad I had this experience. I know it has left a mark on me that I’ll share and recommend over and over again. I feel like I’ve found a TREASURE to share.Just food for thought … I know many people say they don’t read m/m books. I would ask you to truly reconsider. For me, this book is about so much more.Happy Reading!