Nikkei Chronicles #6: Itadakimasu 2!: Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

In response to popular demand, we are bringing back Nikkei Chronicles’ most popular and beloved theme: food! Itadakimasu 2! Another Taste of Nikkei Culture will revisit the role of food in Nikkei culture, the subject of the first Nikkei Chronicles in 2012.

We invite you to share your personal stories and essays, memoirs, academic papers, restaurant reviews, and other prose works that share your perspectives, experiences, and/or research on food.

How does the food you eat express your identity? How does food help to connect your community and bring people together? What kinds of recipes have been passed down from generation to generation in your family?

Submissions will be accepted from May 1 until September 30, 2017, at 6 p.m. PDT.

All stories that meet the project guidelines and criteria will be published in the Discover Nikkei Journal on a rolling basis as part of the Itadakimasu 2 series.

For more information, visit 5dn.org/itadakimasu2.


Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series:

#1: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture 
#2: Nikkei+ ~ Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race ~ 
#3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João? 
#4: Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values 
#5: Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture 

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Restaurant Memory

My favorite restaurant in Little Tokyo is called Suehiro’s. It is a small Japanese restaurant on First Street between San Pedro and Alameda. It used to resemble a little mom and pop restaurant, but was recently remodeled to keep up with the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. It is now more elegant and even has a wine bar, but it still serves the same comfortable, delicious food.

I like the chicken sukiyaki with its hearty broth and steaming noodles. I always search for the chewy shiitake mushroom hidden among the vegetables. The food is very simple: crunchy shrimp tempura, salty fish ...

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Caring and Helping Others

Chohichi Tanaka left Itoshima in Fukaoka, Japan in the early 1900s looking for a better life so he decided to venture to America where he thought he might find work. Chohichi stopped in Hawaii for a short period but continued to head to the mainland. He arrived in San Francisco. He went to French Camp, near Stockton California. He became a share cropper and grew sugar beets and sweet potatoes. He met his wife through a picture bride arrangement; her name was Waka.

They had five children, Aiko, Yoshio, Masao, Mitsuko, and Hanako. They all attended school in French Camp ...

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In Praise of Konbini Ice Cream

I can remember those thickly hot Kobe days, when my brothers and I sat for hours on tatami mats, sluggishly scratching and slapping at the hot, swollen welts covering our legs. We would trace the patchwork fields indented on our knees and our thighs from the pressure of sitting on bamboo mats for too long, all the while dragging the page of a book to read on, numbly pawing at our Nintendo DS, or maybe even sinking into the couch cushions to stare at the television screen as it frustratingly highlighted Japanese Olympic athletes when all we wanted to see ...

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No Time for ITADAKIMASU!

Itadakimasu. What’s that? I never heard of it when I was growing up in postwar Canada. Japanese Language School didn’t exist in Greenwood. The only word similar to that was “Itai!” or “Itai-na!” when your older brother or sister was shoving you aside to get the best seat at the kitchen table. Besides, we all wanted to be more “Canadian-ized,” that is Anglo-Canadian culture. At Sacred Heart School, we children learned to sing “Irish Eyes are Smiling” or “Loch Lomond.” Even though the food was bland compared to Japanese food, it was a treat to have the nuns ...

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Matsutake Sukiyaki

In Seattle, my family’s mushroom hunting season would begin with discussions around the big table in the large, windowed breakfast nook at home, where the family took all everyday meals. Around the dinner table, rumors about friends and acquaintances being recognized at various well-known matsutake sites in the Cascades, the Olympic Peninsula, and Shelton were thoroughly analyzed. One year, matsutake were found under huckleberry bushes, an inconceivable place! Every Japanese family had their own, secret matsutake hunting places, locations which were family treasures. We children were sworn to secrecy and sternly admonished not to utter the names of the ...

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