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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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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Some of My Favorite Nikkei and Japanese American Children’s Picture Books

Growing up in a family of voracious readers and three librarians, I was incredibly lucky to have books—almost as many as I wanted. I’ll never forget coming back from our trip to Japan to find that my auntie had left me the entire Anne of Green Gables series on my desk. One day I looked at our family bookshelf and realized that on a full shelf were loaned books that my dad had brought home from the university library where he worked as head of circulation. Some of the most precious books to me were ones that featured ...

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Pictures at an Asian American Exhibition: Roger Shimomura, “American Matsuri” at the Tacoma Art Museum

Prelude

I am thinking about what it means to be seen.


Entrance

Every October, the foyer and the main entrance to the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) are a riot of color, excitement, noise. There’s a sand painting just inside the main door. In the theater space a mariachi band is playing. Upstairs and around the museum, there are dozens of community altars with flowers, pictures and jewel-tone creations. Inside the craft rooms, my kids are painting sugar skulls; many of the kids’ faces next to them have been painted to look like skeletons. A long streamer of papel picado ...

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“Just Good Theater”: An Interview with Aya Hashiguchi Clark, Tacoma Actress and Producer

Aya Hashiguchi Clark is a Nikkei actress and producer who lives in my hometown of Tacoma, Washington. She and her husband recently founded Dukesbay Productions, a theater company devoted to “[presenting] theatrical works that reflect and celebrate our diverse society in the Pacific Northwest,” as well as showcase “local actors who represent a diversity of ethnicity, age, religious background, training/experience, and acting type.” I’m grateful that Aya was able to spend some time talking to me about her theater experience and her reasons for founding Dukesbay.

The following conversation is a lightly edited version of our online chat ...

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A Lesson in Taiko—And Parenting

“Don doro don don, Don doro don don, Don doro don don, Don doro don don….”

Nine of us are onstage at the Tacoma Buddhist Temple, a bachi in each hand, each one with our taiko drum and stand. Our group is having a taiko demonstration and class from Wendy Hamai, one of the founding members of the Tacoma Fuji Taiko. The class had been arranged for my daughter and her Girl Scout troop, but Wendy asked us if we—the mothers—would be interested in playing, too.

And so there we were, three moms and five fourth grade girls ...

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To “Stand On Both Feet”: Cathy Tashiro and The Dimensions of Mixed Race Identity

Here is another story about being mixed: My friend Cathy and I were chatting a bit after yoga class. A classmate came up to us:

“Your name, Tamiko—hmm, that sounds Japanese.”

“I am half Japanese, actually,” I said.

Cathy and I looked at each other.

“Actually, we’re both part Japanese,” Cathy told him.

He looked at me, puzzled.

“I don’t see any Japanese in you…”

He studied Cathy again: “But you look Japanese.”

Cathy and I looked at each other again. Cathy smiled at him.

“Yep, we’re both part Japanese.”

Somehow, he didn’t seem satisfied ...

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