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 >>

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

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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community en ja es pt

Taking Pride in Spreading Yakisoba From Suzano to the Rest of Brazil – Tie-up of Noddle-making Facility and Bunkyo

Having originated in Colonia and spread to the rest of Brazil, “Yakisoba” is now enjoyed by many Brazilians. While the most general kind of yakisoba in Japan is the one flavored with brown sauce, why in Brazil did the one with a mountain of vegetables and meat in an-kake (thick sauce) on top of noodles, called an-kake yakisoba become so popular? This mystery had remained unsolved, as some people even called it one of the “seven mysteries of Colonia.” However, behind the mystery were the Hirotani Seimen, noodle-making facility, in Suzano city as well as some work of Fujinbu (women ...

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food en ja es pt


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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food en ja es pt

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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