Vicky K. Murakami-Tsuda

Vicky K. Murakami-Tsuda is the Communications Production Manager at the Japanese American National Museum. She loves working on the Discover Nikkei project, because it gives her the opportunity to learn so many new and interesting stories, and connect with people around the world who share similar interests. She is a “self-proclaimed” yonsei from Southern California who comes from a large extended family. A long time ago (when she had more free time and energy), she was also an artist who explored Japanese American culture and history through her artwork.

During this time of Safer at Home, she spends most of her time working from home, reading, playing games on her phone, binge-watching movies and shows, snacking all day long, connecting weekly with her family via Zoom, enjoying not having to drive in traffic, and dreaming of when she can get back to her normal life of eating out, bowling, Dodger games, and having fun with family and friends in person.

Updated May 2020

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Embracing Traditions

The holidays are here! This year, at a time when we usually think about customs passed along through generations, I’ve been finding myself contemplating changing traditions. It’s hard to let go of what’s been ingrained as tradition year after year, especially when you enjoy it so much. Over the past few months though, I’ve been noticing an embracing of different cultures as part of our celebrations, a shift to a more multicultural holiday season.

Growing up, the holidays meant food and family. Every Thanksgiving was spent with the Omoto side of the family. It’s always ...

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Mixed Holidays

Growing up, every year on the evening of March 16th, I would always make sure to wear something green to sleep. This was a self-preservation measure. If I didn’t—the moment I woke up—I would be mercilessly pinched by my mother, gleefully observing the St. Patrick’s Day tradition.

I remember one year, my father, who is a gardener, came home from work wearing his usual work clothes. My mother was ready to pounce on him, but then he smiled broadly and pointed to the green leaf pinned to his shirt. My mother was disappointed, but we all ...

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Memories of My First Visit to Hawai‘i

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Set aside for acknowledging the loves and relationships in our lives, it’s a day celebrated for exchanging obvious gifts like chocolates, flowers, or other so-called romantic gifts.

This Valentine’s Day though, I will be spending the day at the Japanese American National Museum with my husband celebrating the quiet strength and subtlety of everyday lives and love. Gokurosama: Contemporary Photographs of Nisei in Hawai‘i, featuring black and white photos by Brian Y. Sato, opens to the public with a special tour and public program. As with many of the Museum’s and ...

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Emerging from Hibernation

I was awakened from a dream this morning by a phone call. In my dream I had deeply gouged my hand, but it wasn’t bleeding. I was calmly, yet urgently, getting gauze and tape from a medicine supply cabinet when I was jarred from slumber.

Sometimes, I occasionally have very involved and detailed dreams. These stress-induced dreams tend to have recurring plotlines and even similar settings. I haven’t had them in a while, but I’ve had dreams in which I’m being chased. I’m alone and running through backyards and crouching behind trees and bushes. Suddenly ...

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Daruma, Dorama, and Hope

Daruma are popular Japanese symbols of perseverance. Often used as good luck charms to fulfill a special wish, it’s customary to paint in the right eye when the wish is made, then paint the other eye when the wish is fulfilled.

It’s a traditional folk craft representing the 5th century Buddhist monk Bodhidharma who meditated so long that he lost the use of his arms and legs. Daruma dolls are often weighted on the bottom so that if tipped, they automatically find their balance and right themselves up again no matter how many times you push them down ...

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