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

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? Itadakimasu 2! Another Taste of Nikkei Culture revisited the role of food in Nikkei culture.

For this series, we asked our Nima-kai community to vote for their favorite stories and an editorial committee to pick their favorites. In total, four favorite stories were selected.

Here are the selected favorite stories.

  Editorial Committee’s Selections:

  Nima-kai selection:

To learn more about this writing project >>

* Translations of these selected stories are currently in process.


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 

food en ja es pt

A Precious … and Delicious Legacy

The life of Ms. Aiko, a pleasant and hyperactive obatiam who, to this day, at age 96, provides a lesson in vigor and joy of living, would serve very well as inspiration for a book. She was even the subject of a brief article in this newspaper last July, in addition to having been interviewed by the Japanese TV station NHK and the French newspaper Le Monde. Besides, she has been mentioned in several publications.

Having lived in Brazil for 90 years and for more than 60 years in the city of São Paulo, Ms. Aiko has other ...

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food en ja es pt

Hard times for Mother, good memories for me

“Eat it all, mottainai to throw it away.” Although two years have passed, I still miss my mother. “If you run out of ajinomoto, use shoyu (soy sauce) with sugar.” I still remember so many pieces of advice she gave me! “If you cook with tanchi, the food tastes bad.” My mom was always right. Food is prepared with love, without tanchi (being upset).

My mother wasn't openly affectionate and neither was my grandmother (oba). Both were widowed with small children in difficult times: my oba during the war (1944) and my mother during Peru's economic crisis (1985 ...

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food en

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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food en

Caring and Helping Others

Chohichi Tanaka left Itoshima in Fukuoka, Japan in the early 1900s looking for a better life. 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. Education ...

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food en

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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