Erica Isomura

Erica Isomura is a yonsei Japanese Canadian and Chinese Canadian writer and community organizer based in Vancouver, BC – unceded Coast Salish territories. She writes with the kugi collective, a Japanese Canadian writing collective whose work is a reflection of race and identity. Erica’s work can be found at and on instagram as @ericahiroko.

Updated July 2017

community en

mensch: memories of incarceration in a Jewish deli

I used to work across the street from a Jewish deli. As one of the newer, more hip-looking establishments in a quickly changing working-class neighbourhood, I held some reservations about the place. It was a bit pricier to eat at and a little aesthetically out of place, filling in the storefront between two of my favourite lunch spots: a 24-hour convenience store/donair shop and a cramped Filipino restaurant with sticky floors, kitschy bamboo walls, and often playing loud musical reality shows on the TV.

The first time I walked in, I ordered a half-size pastrami on rye. The shop ...

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