Tamiko Nimura

Tamiko Nimura is a Sansei/Pinay writer, originally from Northern California and now living in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing has appeared or will appear in The San Francisco Chronicle, Kartika Review, The Seattle Star, Seattlest.com, the International Examiner (Seattle), and The Rafu Shimpo. She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II. 

Updated July 2012 

community en

Uncovering Tacoma's Nikkei Past: The Japanese Language School Memorial

The taiko players are warming up, their arms circling up in the air and back towards the drums. I’m standing on a gravel path, near a Japanese maple tree. There are metal lines running along the ground, which seems strange until I remember that I’m standing at the Prairie Line Trail, a converted railroad track that the University is transforming into a public park, similar to the High Line Park in New York City.

I’m happy to see a familiar face in the slowly gathering crowd. It’s Aya Hashiguchi Clark, a Japanese American actress and playwright ...

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war en

It’s Not Just About History: Visiting the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

It’s hard to describe the shock of recognition when sepia history meets full-color present, when they can align so precisely. That’s one of the many gifts that the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial gives to its visitors.

We’re standing under a large vertically hung banner, a sepia photographic replica of people walking down a ferry dock. It’s a picture we know well, as a famous historic photo of the first wartime forced removal of Japanese Americans. Our tour guide, Lilly, is giving us a tour of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. We look up at ...

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culture en

The Circles of Bon Odori

Although I am not Buddhist, the circles of Bon Odori have always spoken to me. All the circles of dancers, all of their arms even raised in circles, mimicking the full moon. The round uchiwa fans, the strings of rounded lanterns bobbing slightly in the breeze, the circular heads of the taiko drums. Food, dancing, community, summer heat, celebration, reunion with the spirits of the ancestors—really, what more could you ask from a festival?

Obon is well-known in the Japanese American community as “a gathering of joy,” for good reasons. But it will always feel simultaneously painful, because my ...

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identity en

A Circuit Left Open: Thoughts from the Tule Lake Pilgrimage, 2014

How else to say this? I am still returning. I don’t know how the telling will ever feel complete. What no one told me about the pilgrimage, what no one could have prepared me for, is how much longer the return has been than the journey itself.

* * * * *

At 9 a.m. on July 5th, it’s already 86 degrees and stretching towards the day’s predicted high of 92. The heat, combined with the high altitude, 6,000 feet, is daunting enough for someone who’s acclimated to the Pacific Northwest. I’m on an air-conditioned bus, with comfortable ...

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media en

"Infinity and Chashu Ramen": An Interview With Filmmaker Kerwin Berk

Two spirits are roaming through San Francisco’s Japantown. They’re charged with setting the universe right. One’s a bright-eyed young lady named Lucy Yamaguchi; the other is a 400-year-old foul-mouthed, crotchety spirit named Tenshi. She’s new to the job; he should probably have retired a few centuries ago. Will they succeed?

That’s the premise of the comic indie film Infinity and Chashu Ramen, which is coming to the Seattle area in early September. One showing’s set for the Bainbridge Island Art Museum on September 6, and the other is scheduled at the Wing Luke Museum ...

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