Troy Ishikawa

Troy Ishikawa is an Interculturalist whose process training and consulting practice specializes in problem solving cultural differences in behaviors, norms, and values. His practice concentrates in deconstructing logic sequences for cross-cultural transferability and culture equivalencies. He is also a writer and gives presentations of his family history and stories that pertain to the Nikkei experience. He is a member of the Kagoshima Heritage Club, enjoys global travel, hiking, learning, and cooking ethnic and pan-Asian cuisines.

Updated October 2011

identity en

Nikkei Chronicles #3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?

My name has Asia covered: From Asia Minor to Japan

What is in a name? Is your name unique? Have you developed your identity around your name? Were you named after a relative, a movie star, or a song title…? Do you happen to have a surname that is also shared by a famous person? These questions and more usually come to mind when thinking about your name.

As most Nikkei, you probably have encountered multiple mispronunciations of your surname, myself included. I can relate to the “butchering” of the mispronunciation of my last name, Ishikawa. The worst examples come over the telephone by telemarketers. If they can’t pronounce ...

Read more

food en

Nikkei Chronicles #1: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture

Three Generations of Japanese American Cooks and Food: From Grandma to daughter to grandson

What does your family call Thanksgiving stuffing? In our family, stuffing was called dressing. This food and cooking story entails a tradition that goes back three generations from my maternal grandma, Suye Sakoda to her daughter, Edna Ishikawa, and to me, Troy Ishikawa. Do good cooks run in your family? I hope so, because good cooking must be in our blood!

Having just said that, my mom was not always a quintessential cook. She developed her skills over the decades. Not surprisingly, she eventually built a career as a professional caterer and personal chef from the early-1960s to 2002. (So ...

Read more

identity en

It began with a laugh and ended with a laugh: My interview with Frank Chuman

I always liked interviewing people. I learned so much more than I could ever imagine, whether for an informational interview or for graduate school research. Most of the interviews I did in the past, I was contextualized to that person and hopefully that person also knew a little something about me, and hence the interviews came easy and flowed. Fortunately, this would also include my latest interview featuring Frank F. Chuman.

Frank befriended me through Tim Asamen, the newsletter editor for the Kagoshima Heritage Club. Tim introduced me to Frank via email addresses because he knew our immediate ancestors came ...

Read more

community en

Coming of Age in San Francisco’s Nihonmachi: How My Parents Met, Married and Moved - Part 3 of 3

Read Part 2 >> 

7. Edna Ishikawa 

Edna (née Sakoda) Ishikawa was born in Soledad, California, in 1920. She moved to “the city” in 1938 upon graduating from Gonzales High School in Gonzales, California, to follow her older sister, Fumiye. Actually auntie Fumiye lived in either Palo Alto or Los Gatos working for a white family. Edna worked as a secretary.

These types of jobs were “opportunities” for young women from the farms and rural communities to move to large urban cities and meet other like-minded people. The pay probably wasn’t great. However, the chance to experience life away ...

Read more

community en

Coming of Age in San Francisco’s Nihonmachi: How My Parents Met, Married and Moved - Part 2 of 3

Read Part 1 >>

4. Friendships 

Most of dad’s really close friends during those years were other kibeis. There was a close bond and camaraderie between these men. They shared similar hardships and lives: heavy Japanese accents, youth, energy, vitality, under-employment, etc. The Great Depression shaped many of these men’s attitudes, life perspectives, and relationships. They probably were raised in other prefectures in Japan. The Japanese government propaganda machine was in full swing during the early 1930s. The Japanese government pushed kibeis to return back to the U.S, a fact that few American writers and researchers have commented ...

Read more