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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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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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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"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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The Fabric That Makes the Story: Interview with Dawn Yanagihara, Kiriko

Kasuri. Boro. Shibori. These words might not mean much to you if you don’t think very much about textiles or Japanese arts and crafts. But for Gosei Dawn Yanagihara, the words also represent a deep connection to her Japanese ancestry and the passion that helped her co-found her Portland-based company, Kiriko. The company uses Japanese textiles and heritage fabrics in order to create striking accessories that are meant to last a lifetime. I was able to speak with Yanagihara over e-mail. (* All images are courtesy of Kiriko’s website and Instagram.)

Can you tell us a bit more about ...

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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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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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