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 She blogs at Kikugirl.net, and is working on a book project that responds to her father's unpublished manuscript about his Tule Lake incarceration during World War II.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

identity en

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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community en

From Barbed Wire to Cherry Blossoms: Day of Remembrance 2015 in Washington State

This year’s Day of Remembrance began early for me, and—of all places—on social media. I read Densho’s request to change my Facebook profile picture to Frank Fujii’s logo “Ichi-Ni-San,” which was used for the 1978 Day of Remembrance in Seattle 1978, and changed mine on February 15th. It was heartening to see the profile pictures of a few other Japanese Americans that I know on social media; it was a gift of solidarity.

However, I also changed my cover photo—the larger image displayed prominently on my Wall—to a photo I’d taken last ...

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food en

A Tour of Japanese and Japanese “Fusion” Bakeries in Seattle

There’s something about pastries, the ephemeral pleasure of appreciating something small and sweet, or savory and crunchy. For immigrants, expatriates, and travelers, it can be a bittersweet pleasure to find a taste that evokes the memory of a place; it’s like a taste of both transience and home.

Small wonder that longtime Seattle locals still remember Sagamiya, the Japanese confectionery based in the ID, some thirty years after its closure in the 1970s. “In the day there were only three bakeries we bothered with,” says my friend Omar Willey, who grew up in Beacon Hill, which used to ...

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identity en

A Tribute to My Oldest Nisei Auntie

If you knew my Auntie Nesan, you knew her laugh. 

My cousins and I called her “Nesan” (older sister) because of family tradition; as the oldest of six siblings, all of our parents called her “Nesan,” so we did too. Her real name was Hisa. Since my name ends with “ko,” or “child” in Japanese, I asked her once if her name was actually “Hisako” when she was younger. She shook her head, emphatically. “No,” she said. “I don’t like that name. It’s not mine. Just Hisa.” She was the oldest of six siblings, the second of my ...

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culture en

At 85, Tacoma Sumi Artist Fumiko Kimura Continues To Explore Artmaking Process

How would you prepare for a showing of your own artwork—one that spans a career of more than six decades?

“Do come to my place,” offers Fumiko Kimura over e-mail, cheerfully. “Just to let you know, my place now looks like I could be evicted.” The Nisei artist, now 85 years old, is currently storing most of her paintings at her home in order to select and mount them for a retrospective show at Tacoma Community College in November.

“Fumiko has been participating in exhibitions at the [TCC] Gallery for over 10 years,” notes Jennifer Olson-Rudenko, director of the ...

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