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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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

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

QUESTION 1: WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST ABOUT THE TULE LAKE UNIT? 

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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identity en ja es pt

Nikkei Chronicles #2: Nikkei+ ~ Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race ~

Snapshots from a Nikkei/Filipina Album

“Your mother is Filipina?” my friend’s mom asks me. She’s Filipina, too. She shakes her head, and smiles, not unkindly. “You look more Japanese.”

* * * * *

My first and last name are Japanese. None of my names are Filipina. But then there’s the color of my skin, which in the Pacific Northwest is “a nice tan.” I know how to make turón, lumpia, and adobo. I can make chicken teriyaki “from scratch,” with a closely guarded family recipe. I could order my way through a Goldilocks’ lunch counter or a teriyaki lunch menu. I went to Buddhist and ...

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war en

Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Of No-No Boy and No-No Boys: At the Seattle 2013 JANM Conference

“How do you as a storyteller account for traces of the erased, the denied or that flat out vanished?”—Junot Díaz

From Twitter: 
July 15, 2013, 12:35PM: @Tulelakenps: Today, 70 years ago in 1943, Tule Lake was declared a Segregation Center, incarcerating all Japanese Americans deemed “disloyal”.

“Your name?”

I’m picking up my registration packet for the Japanese American National Museum conference, held in Seattle a few weeks ago. “Nimura, N-I-M…” I begin, and start to spell out my last name for the volunteer automatically, but then I stop. She’s already flipping through the packets and ...

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