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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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

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Little Kunoichi Is Kid-Tested, Kid-Approved

A children’s book about a tiny ninja girl—do I need to say anything else? There are tiny watercolor ninjas hiding among cherry blossoms and scaling castle walls. There’s a marvelously detailed “I Spy” matsuri (festival) scene, filled with onigiri, taiko drums, sumo wrestlers, and characters from Japanese fairy tales. And there’s a family pet ninja bunny.

Overall, Seattle author and illustrator Sanae Ishida has been overwhelmed by the positive response to her book Little Kunoichi, published in April 2015 from Sasquatch Books. Inspired in part by a now-defunct Seattle store named Tiny Ninja, Little Kunoichi is ...

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The Feast that Makes a Family

There’s gravel crackling under our car wheels as we drive up my Auntie Nesan’s driveway. After we come to a stop, my husband Josh and I unbuckle our two little girls out of the backseat. We walk up to the house, trailing blankets and stuffed animals, and I tap on the screen door.

“Happy New Year! Come in!” my eighty-something aunt answers cheerily. After hugs and exclamations (“the girls are getting so big!”), we ask if we can bring anything over to Auntie Sadako’s house, about a hundred feet away. We leave carrying a platter of barbecued ...

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‘How Does Anybody Become An Artist?’: An Interview with Allen Say

Renowned writer and illustrator Allen Say has authored over 15 books, mostly for children. Though he may be best known for his picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott-winning Grandfather’s Journey, he’s also begun to write hybrid memoir/graphic novels. The first of these, Drawing from Memory, tells the story of three crucial years in his life as he was becoming an apprentice to a famed cartoonist in Japan. The sequel to this book, The Inker’s Shadow, was just released in September 2015. It reviews the three crucial years after Say came to the United States ...

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Piecing Together the Past: Restoring a Japanese American Bath House

At one end of the porch of the Neely Mansion there’s a pile of broken bottles, ceramic shards, muddy pieces of metal. About twenty yards away, there’s a charred piece of wood attached to a small house. I am thinking about a conversation I’ve just had with Linda Van Nest, president of the Neely Mansion Historical Association, who has taken me on a short tour of the house. “What’s that Japanese word,” she asks me, “when you are taking the pieces of something broken and making them whole again?” “Kintsugi,” I say.

“Ahhh, yes,” she says ...

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Some Of My Favorite Nikkei Books, Part II: For Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers

After school this week, the kids at my daughters’ elementary school are rushing over to the library. They’re clutching wrinkled envelopes filled with checks and dollar bills and carefully counted change. They throw down their backpacks by the computers and head straight for cardboard booths. It’s book fair week.

As a librarian’s daughter, one of my favorite days growing up was the arrival of the book fair booths in the library at school. So this year, I volunteered to work at book fair, at my daughters’ elementary school. Because I knew I’d be writing more about ...

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