Heriete Setsuko Shimabukuro Takeda

A native and resident of the city of São Paulo, she is a 59-year-old descendant of Okinawans. She is married and the mother of two children. She has a degree in Business Administration, having retired from public service in 2012. Currently in search of the meaning of her life.

Updated October 2016

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Nikkei Chronicles #5: Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture

Gaijin

I couldn’t understand my friend Emília. I brought her along to spend the holidays at my grandmother's house in Santos, hoping she would put to use her knowledge of the Japanese language, since I had almost none. Or rather, none at all.

But after a few minutes of conversation, she calls me aside and confesses: I can’t understand what your grandmother says!

- What do you mean? You told me you could speak Japanese!

- I know, but I can’t understand anything that she says!”

Emília was right: my grandmother spoke uchinaguchi, the Okinawa dialect. Only ...

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