Eating cold rice

Going back to Hawaii 1920 labor strike Picture brides and karifufu Racial make-up of plantation camps Clothes of plantation workers Surviving after father's death Washing for Filipino bachelors Kids working hard Bombing of Pearl Harbor Helping soldiers Brother leaves for war, survival Okinawan discrimination First day of school Doing chores Eating cold rice

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My mother was stickler for tradition. She said girls, when they get married, someday, you might marry a poor man and can’t eat hot rice. So, when I was single, my mother never allowed me to eat hot rice. I always ate the day before cold rice. And she was right, because when I got married to my husband, he was the oldest. And my mother-in-law was a widow, too. And my husband was supporting four siblings. Sure enough, you know, I continued to eat cold rice.

So, after we were on our own, because my mother would constantly say when she got married in Japan, she had to get up at 3 o’clock and work on the farm. And she couldn’t eat because when she took the second bowl of rice, her mother-in-law would just give her the eye. And while eating, she would repeat the story every day. So I couldn’t eat, you know. But, she didn’t mean it in a bad way, I think.

But, after my husband and I had our own home, I still continued to eat the cold rice. And my husband would scold me. He said, “Now you can eat hot rice.” But, no, I kept on eating cold rice. It got to be part of my, I guess—I acquired that habit. So, ochazuke, we enjoyed ochazuke—putting hot tea...

Date: February 19, 2004
Location: Hawai'i, US
Interviewer: Lisa Itagaki, Krissy Kim
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

gohan rice

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