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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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 

culture en

Celebrating the Child: Kodomo no Hi in Seattle

My youngest daughter and I are holding a brush together, because she wants me to help her write the symbol for “ko.” Next to our sheet of paper, there is a small block of ink and a pool of water. “Nihongo de? Eigo de?” the calligraphy teacher is asking me. Which language are we going to use for this lesson, Japanese or English?

Eigo,” I tell the teacher, somewhat apologetically. I’ve only taken Japanese classes sporadically over the years. Listening to Japanese being spoken is both comforting and frustrating: I can only catch every fifth word or so. But ...

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community en

This is What It Means to Say Hanami in Seattle

Each time I’ve tried to write about hanami in Seattle, there’s something that makes me hesitate.

Maybe I’m thinking about it too much through the prism of what happened this year. I’m a JA girl who celebrates Girls’ Day with mochi and pancakes, so I can’t expect authenticity in traditions. This year, as we took our young daughters, I couldn’t help feeling a certain nostalgia for a different kind of hanami, perhaps even a desire for a broader awareness of this tradition in Seattle.

I learned about hanami in college, but didn’t experience ...

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culture en

Recipe for an Improvised Girls’ Day

Girls’ Day at our house this year meant pink and green mochi, a box stand with Emperor and Empress origami dolls, and a stack of oatmeal pancakes.

Our improvised Hina Matsuri began a few years ago. “Can we celebrate Girls’ Day?” asked my sister-friend Bryn—who is not Japanese or Japanese American, but loves this tradition nevertheless. She knew I still had my yukata, made just for me, from our relatives in Japan; she knew the girls still love to wear it. Growing up in Kansas, Bryn had read about Girls’ Day from The Japanese Twins, a book published in ...

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food en

Eggplant Zucchini Okazu (Okazu Nimura-Style)

When Josh and I were in college and just learning how to live together, we also had to figure out how to cook together. It didn’t take long to find our go-to multicultural meal plan: chicken, vegetables, rice (Asian nights!). Or, chicken, vegetables, pasta (Italian nights!). We had lots of variations: stir-fry chicken teriyaki chicken, BBQ chicken, chicken cacciatore. For vegetables: salad, steamed broccoli. For carbohydrates: rice or pasta.

Every once in a while, we’d break out of the routine and splurge on some ground beef, and we’d make okazu.

In Japan, okazu is just a name ...

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identity en

The Retelling: Talking To The National Parks Service About Tule Lake


Struggle. Struggle. I obeyed essay questions all the way through my multiple degrees in English. I want to answer the question well. I want to be a good student.

Begin by quoting the prompt.

The Tule Lake Unit is where my family was incarcerated during World War II: where my father, his siblings, my grandparents, lived for several years. I value the Unit because it formed a significant part of my family’s life experiences, and in turn it formed mine.

I want you to think about what ...

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