Anyone who has spent time in Japan knows that the country is bursting with gastronomic delights. Especially in Tokyo, there is no shortage of eateries to satisfy your cravings. And yet, as “Butter” author Asako Yuzuki points out, although places catering to solitary men are abundant, it is uncommon in Japan for a woman to eat out alone.

“It is still difficult for women to eat what they want because cooking for a family continues to be the accepted norm,” Yuzuki says. “Japan is a country full of delicious food, but at the same time, it is also a country where there is strong pressure ... for women to be thin.”

Yuzuki probes this tension between food culture and gender stereotypes in her novel “Butter,” a 2017 bestseller in Japan and now her first book rendered into English. Translated by Polly Barton, the novel is a spiraling reimagining of a true-crime femme fatale. Yet Yuzuki goes beyond the typical crime narrative: She offers up food for thought on sex, autonomy, happiness, relationships, female empowerment and a gorgeously indulgent comfort meal — soy sauce and butter on rice.