Raymond Chong

Raymond Chong was born in Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of Southern California and earning a masters degree at San Jose University, Raymond became a professional civil engineer and traffic engineer. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Public Works & Engineering Department of the City of Houston, Texas. Raymond lives in Sugar Land, Texas with his wife, Mabel and son, Kenji. Raymond is Gosei--a fifth generation Asian American.

Updated March 2008

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Far East Café Reunion – Memories and Nostalgia - Part 2 of 2

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As part of the Far East Café Reunion, I gladly shared with the guests the story of the colorful life of Gim Suey Chong (1922-1979), my father. He had a humble beginning in Yung Lew Gong Village in Hoyping County of China. At nine years old, he took an epic sojourn from the Port of Hong Kong to the Port of Vancouver, across continental Canada aboard the Canadian Pacific Railway, to arrive at the Port of Boston in 26 days. He lived at his father’s Imperial Restaurant in Central Square in Cambridge.

Gim Suey Chong lived with ...

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Far East Café Reunion – Memories and Nostalgia - Part 1 of 2

Michael, my brother, and I hosted the “Far East Café Reunion – Memories and Nostalgia.” Our purpose was to celebrate the life of Gim Suey Chong and the legacy of famous Far East Café with relatives and new friends. On Saturday, June 7, 2008, we gathered at the mezzanine of the Chop Suey Café in the landmark Far East Café Building for the program and lunch, the room of countless parties, in two rows of tables.

During the program, we shared memorable and nostalgic stories. We feasted on the delicious China meshi (Cantonese) dishes. We first met as mysterious strangers but ...

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A Nikkei Pioneer in the City of Roses: Hanhichi Wakiji - Part 2

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Together, Hanhichi and Taeno raised six children, the Nisei generation (second generation). They were: Masa (born October 26, 1912), James Hajime (born July 11, 1914), Kaoru (born July 31, 1916), Takeko (born July 20, 1919), Mari (born March 22, 1922), and George Minoru (born January 26, 1929). The Wakiji Family lived at 1485 East Orange Grove Avenue near Nippon Nursery. They were one of the three Japanese families living east of Lake Avenue.

In the early 1900’s, a Japan Town of Pasadena was rising in the Central Business District (Old Town) on the westside. Japanese American businesses ...

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A Nikkei Pioneer in the City of Roses: Hanhichi Wakiji - Part 1

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Ancestors of the Wakijis
by Noboru Wakiji


In 1185 the Heike Clan (AKA Taira Clan) was defeated by the Genji Clan (AKA Minamoto Clan) during the great Genpei War in late Heian period. Our ancestor (unknown name), a samurai, fled from Yashima, on the coast of Seto Inland Sea on Shikoku Island to the southern part.

Our ancestor, together with fellow samurai of the Heike Clan settled in a coastal village named “Wakiji.” Since they gave up the warrior’s class, they became yeomen who lived as farmers as well as fishermen to keep their lives.

It is difficult ...

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