Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Laura Honda-Hasegawa was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1947. She worked in the education field until 2009. Since then she has dedicated herself to exclusively writing which is her great passion. She writes essays, short stories, poems, and novels, all under a Nikkei lens.

Updated September 2018

identity en ja es pt

OHAYO Bom dia

Chapter 16: I Am A “Sampa Kid”

I was born in São Paulo Hospital on Frei Caneca Road, in the heart of the city of São Paulo.

As a child, my mother often took me for a walk to Ipiranga Park. Local Brazilians, seeing me in a pink dress with a Japanese sunshade, used to refer to me as the “Walking Japanese Doll”.

I always enjoyed going to Casa Nakaya, which used to be in the João Mendes Plaza. Back then I used to enjoy riding the “camarão”—a tram resembling a shrimp—to get to the plaza. Moreover, Casa Nakaya was a ...

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identity en ja es pt

OHAYO Bom dia

Chapter 15: The Joy of Writing

I feel joy from within my heart through writing. Writing about things has given me a feeling of purpose in life, and thanks to that I’ve been able to enjoy my walk through the long journey of life thus far.

During my childhood, I would often scribble all over the bottom of drawers. I secretly wrote on the bottom side to keep it from being seen by anyone. I still remember—a long line of what looked like words and pictures, all over. It must have been such a wonderful story for young little me.

My father was the ...

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culture en ja es pt

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Chapter 14: A Variety of Sounds

Pochi is a Japanese dog
Wagging his tail...“Wan, wan
Perry was born in Brazil
He doesn’t understand “Wan, wan
Perry says “Au au
Au au is all he can say

Japanese cats say “Nya nya
Roosters say “Kokekokko
It’s different in Brazil
The gato says “Miau miau
The galo says “Co-co-ri-coó
Interesting, isn’t it?

“Train train poppo poppo
Shuppo shuppo shuppoppo

So Japanese children sing
But that’s not how it’s done in Brazil
If it’s not “Piu-í piu-í
It’s not a locomotive

Tick tock tick tock
The clock is hard at work ...

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identity en ja es pt

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Chapter 13: Do You Speak Nisei Language?

When I was a student, we had an interesting kid in our class.

She was Japanese Brazilian, and spoke mostly Japanese at home.

Even though 90% of the class was Brazilian, she had no hesitation about using Japanese words.

Anta, estudou para a prova?” (Did anta study for the test?)

[Editor’s note: “Anta” is the Japanese word for “you”.]

 “Eu não entendi direito ano lição.” (I didn’t really understand ano lesson.)

[Editor’s note: “ano” is the Japanese word for “that”.]

It sounded weird at first, but the classmates just naturally accepted her. And because of ...

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identity en ja es pt

OHAYO Bom dia

Chapter 12: About the Japanese Accent

Ever since I was in school, I’ve heard that “Japanese-Brazilians are bad at Portuguese”.  Poor writing was a given…it was hard to understand what they said…they had strange pronunciation…bottom line, it sounded like Japanese.

Because of that, there were children who unfortunately stopped going to school.

Back then, when you walked into a store, it wasn’t uncommon for the clerk to greet you by pretending to speak with a Japanese accent.

Even at college, I could quickly sense that kind of prejudice from little things.  One day, here’s what a Japanese-Brazilian girl who was ...

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