Bobby Okinaka

Bobby Okinaka is the Web Editor for Discover Nikkei. He grew up on military bases around the world but now calls Los Angeles home. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in East Asian Studies, he taught English in Wakayama, Japan for three years. In his spare time, he produces an online Asian American talk show called Fresh Off the Box and another site on Japanese fashion and pop culture called Tokyo a la Mode.

Updated December 2007

community en

I called my grandmother "Oba-chan"

I called my grandmother "Oba-chan." It is the Japanese word for "grandmother." She was born somewhere in California just before the First World War. Her parents arrived in America by a ship from Japan. My brother remembers her once showing a sepia-toned photo of a Japanese man wearing an American soldier's uniform of that time period. Was he drafted into the U.S. Army for the war? We'll never know the answer to that question because Oba-chan isn't around to answer it. And on top of that, we can't find that photo after cleaning out her ...

Read more

community en es pt

Discover Nikkei in Brazil - Celebrating the Centennial of Japanese Immigration

2008 marks the centennial of Japanese immigration to Brazil. On June 18, 1908, 793 people aboard the Kasato-maru arrived at the port of Santos to start a new life in a new land. For the 1.5 million Brazilians of Japanese ancestry today, the Kasato-maru is their Mayflower and a symbol of their history and identity.

The centennial was celebrated both in Brazil and Japan. In Brazil, Japanese culture was literally paraded down the streets as part of Carnaval. Dancers dressed in samurai and geisha costumes moved to the rhythm of the samba in front of a giant Kasato-maru parade ...

Read more

community en

My Nisei Week, Our Nisei Week

Saturday, August 16

On Saturday morning I arrived early at the Japanese American National Museum. Yonezawa-san was already there. He is the president of the Miyagi Kenjinkai. Miyagi Prefecture is famous throughout Japan for the Tanabata Festival in Sendai. On the seventh day of the seventh month, the streets of Sendai are lined with colorful decorations called fukinagashi. Yonezawa-san and the Miyagi Kenjinkai made five fukinagashi that we were going to use to decorate the central hall of the museum. The Kenjinkai boss was especially excited to share a part of his culture with the Nisei Week festival-goers.

Four of ...

Read more

community en

Nikkei Parents’ Day

Nikkei in Los Angeles recognized Parents’ Day on July 27 with a ceremony honoring the 2008 Parents of the Year at the George and Sakaye Aratani Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo. This year the honor was bestowed upon two families, Kaname and Kuriyo Inaba of Northridge and Haruo and Takako Yamashiro of Gardena. Both families were recognized not only for being role models as parents but for their commitment to community service as well.

Local children participated in the celebration by drawing pictures of their families for the Nikkei Parents’ Day art contest. And there was also a speech ...

Read more

community en

La Vida Sake: Supporters sip for the Little Tokyo Service Center

Normally automobiles and alcoholic beverages don’t mix, but at the “La Vida Sake” fundraiser event, the cars were parked and the sake helped raise money for the Little Tokyo Service Center.

“La Vida Sake” was a sake and food tasting event held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA on May 22, 2008.

In Japan, the word “sake” refers to all types of alcoholic beverages. The correct term for what we know as “sake” is “Nihon-shu.”

The sake tasting event was the perfect opportunity for LTSC supporters to learn more about sake and even ...

Read more