Stuff contributed by jkatagi

Nikkei Chronicles #3 — Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?

Katagwee?

John Katagi

On my first visit to Brazil, I attended a conference and received a nametag with the spelling of my last name: Katagui. What? G-U-I? Like Guido? That’s not my name! I took the nametag out of the plastic holder, crossed off the incorrect spelling and wrote it as “it ...

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Brazilian Sashimi and Killer Fruit!!

John Katagi

A large part of cross-cultural adaptation involves something as basic as food. And depending on the culture, food can require a giant leap of adjustment. Admittedly, Brazil doesn’t have really strange food like some other cultures. There are no one thousand year old eggs filled with fertilized chicken embryos ...

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

World Cup: Even Twenty Years Later, It was a Night to Remember

John Katagi

July 16, 1994. We were in São Paulo, Brazil. We being, Curt, Grace, Chris, Ruth, Albert, Darin, and me. Some 7,900 miles away, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, an event was in progress that would rock our world. The event was the final of the World Cup ...

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

You want to buy what?

John Katagi

Language acquisition is tricky. Before I began working in South America, I had a couple of opportunities in the early 1990s to visit Brazil and do some investigation and research to see if a career change was something I really wanted to do. During my first trip, as I brought ...

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

My Journey to COPANI

John Katagi

My journey to COPANI began thirty-three years ago. I was a young pastor in San Diego, when I was invited to offer the invocation at a San Diego landscape gardeners convention banquet. The convention included Japanese gardeners from the San Diego area as well as from Tijuana, south of the ...

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Km 41 - Part 2

John Katagi

Read part 1 >> Night falls on the Paraguayan landscape. The drone of thousands of insects begins to grow as the sun goes down. Bugs the size of B-52s begin to take flight and circle around any light source in the darkening countryside.

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Km 41 - Part 1

John Katagi

The notation on the margin of the bookmarked page of my father’s world atlas was distinct but baffling: km 41, Colonia Yguazu, Paraguay.

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Language School

John Katagi

Some ESL students suggest that English is a difficult language to learn. Certainly the pronunciation of words can drive even the most proficient English speaker just a little nuts. Our language is a compilation of many different sources, mostly European.

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

"Yo Eh Cho" OR "Yo ee say"

John Katagi

It’s been almost ten years since my friend, the senior Tsuchida-san, died in Paraguay. He was the Issei (first generation) patriarch of the Japanese community. And I knew from experience that if I was going to make inroads into that community, the permission to do so would have to ...

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

RUN!

John Katagi

In the mid-1990s, I stayed in an apartment on the grounds of a church in Liberdade (the J-Town section of São Paulo). On this particular afternoon, I was preparing for meetings that I planned to have later in the week.

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About

John Katagi has enjoyed his interactions with Nikkei in South America and the US. He has worked with the community for most of his professional life, as a staff member at the Japanese American National Museum, in religious and community service through Asian American Christian churches in southern California or working cross-culturally with Nikkei communities in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. His interests vary from Nikkei immigration history, food and travel. He currently lives and works in Ventura County, California.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns

Nikkei Heroes: Trailblazers, Role Models, and Inspirations

Submissions accepted until September 30.

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