Keiko K.

Keiko was born in Chiba Prefecture, Japan and raised on the East Coast of the US. She identifies as Sansei. Her maternal grandparents immigrated to Hawai'i from Okinawa in the early 1900s where they labored on a sugar plantation to provide for their family. Her father's family hails from Tokyo, where they too struggled for a better life in the aftermath of WWII. Advancement through education has been a core value in Keiko's family. She honed her writing and critical thinking skills at a small liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts. Little did she know that one day she'd be using those skills to blog about Japanese food. When Keiko needs a break from thinking about ramen, she writes about culture, identity, Japanese American history, LGBT issues, and Hawai'i. You can follow her on Twitter at @keikoinboston.

Updated August 2015

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How to Get Your Japanese Citizenship Back

I grew up a dual national. I was born in Japan but my mother is an American citizen so she reported my birth abroad (see also: Wikipedia). The United States uses the jus sanguinis—meaning “right of blood”—principle to determine nationality so because my mother was a US citizen, she could apply to have my birth recognized by the US, thus giving me citizenship.

Having spent the majority of my life in the US, when it came time for me to choose a nationality, the obvious choice was to renounce my Japanese citizenship. I was attending college in the ...

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Happy Anniversary to The Genki Spark!

The Genki Spark was founded in 2010, by Sansei Chinese/Japanese American Karen Young, who was also a founding member of Odaiko New England. They are the first and only all-Asian all-female taiko performance troupe in the United States. This year they’re celebrating their 5th anniversary!

On their website they describe themselves as “a multi-generational, pan-Asian women’s arts and advocacy organization that uses Japanese taiko drumming, personal stories, and creativity to build community, develop leadership, and advocate respect for all.” They are a “fiscally sponsored project of AARW.”

Initially they performed mainly in New England, but they have ...

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Monet’s La Japonaise Kimono Wednesdays at the MFA - Part 2

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Why I don’t think it’s cultural appropriation

Kimono try on is an established part of Japanese cultural sharing. One of my friends reminded me that in Kyoto it’s a big tourist thing to do something called “maiko for a day” (maiko are apprentice geisha) and it’s popular with both Japanese people and international tourists. Another friend reminded me that it’s common for non-Japanese to also wear kimono, yukata, and happi coats as obon festivals and other matsuris in places like Hawaii and California. Here in Boston we’ve had kimono try on ...

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Monet’s La Japonaise Kimono Wednesdays at the MFA - Part 1

Update 7/7/15 4:37pm: I emailed and left voicemail for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA) on Friday, July 3. It seems that about an hour before I posted this on my blog, I received an email from someone in the MFA’s PR department that I missed letting me know that the MFA has decided to change their programming for Kimono Wednesdays and will no longer be allowing the public to try on the replica uchikake. They will allow “visitors to touch and engage with” the replica uchikake and will host “talks [to] provide context ...

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Define American

I've been meaning to write something to answer Define American's call for stories. In light of founder Jose Antonio Vargas's arrest yesterday (on July 15, 2414) I thought now would be a good time. Jose was detained by the US government when he tried to board a flight to California at the McAllen-Miller International Airport in Texas, a few miles from the US-Mexico border. Due to its proximity to the border, people flying out of McAllen are screened by Border Patrol agents in addition to the TSA, something which is not mentioned on the airport's website ...

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