ビクトリア・クラウス

(Victoria Kraus)

Victoria Kraus is a former Web Editor for DiscoverNikkei.org. She is a half Japanese half Caucasian currently residing in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. She graduated from Soka University of America with a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts.

Updated October 2008

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My part-time job at a Japanese grocery store

I got my first real job when I was 16. I was a cashier at a family-owned Japanese grocery store in Little Tokyo—the Japantown of Los Angeles. Next to the fact that I wanted to earn money, for some reason I had a desire to challenge myself in becoming a responsible young adult by holding a part-time job while managing my studies and preparing for college. I wasn’t a golden goody-two-shoe student in high school but I did do my homework and showed up to work on time.

The way I got the job was, to say the ...

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What is a Jewpanese?

Someone recently asked me if I celebrated Passover because of my half Jewish heritage. I said I didn’t because I didn’t grow up practicing the Jewish religion. The only exceptions were when I went to a funeral for a family member on my father’s side or when I visited Jewish relatives on holidays. Other than that, I was Japanese, American and Buddhist most days of the week.

I don’t even know what Passover really means. I remember learning a little bit about the religious symbolism of the foods eaten on Passover in the second grade. My ...

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Japanese School memories, Part V: Liking Asian guys

I didn’t have any crushes on the boys in Japanese school and it wasn’t because I didn’t like boys.

My very first crush on a boy was in the first grade. His name was Jesus (as pronounced in Spanish). I had a crush on him because all the girls had a crush on him. He would chase the girls (the not-so-shy ones who liked to be chased) during recess. I remember liking that he wore a blue Batman t-shirt because I watched Batman reruns on television. Liking his Batman shirt was enough of a reason for me ...

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Japanese School memories, Part IV: Field Day, Japanese school style

Undokai (Sports Day) is an annual event that schools throughout Japan—elementary through high school—hold during the fall. Undokai combines the Japanese word undo, meaning exercise, and kai, gathering. The undokai event stems from Taiku no hi (Health and Sports Day), an official nationally recognized holiday in Japan that commemorates the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo. It is like Field Day for schools in the United States with some differences.

Field Day doesn’t commemorate anything nor is it an observed day in any American school system that recognizes health and sports, at least from what I remember ...

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Japanese school memories, Part III: Not looking the part

I have a good Japanese accent. It’s so good that I can fool any Japanese person into thinking that I’m a native from Tokyo. The trouble is I don’t look the part. Fooling Japanese people into thinking I’m a fellow native is limited to phone conversations. Rarely do I fool someone in person.

It’s like having one of those naturally inherent skills you don’t remember having practiced. Like basketball. Some are naturally physically coordinated. Others aren’t. Height doesn’t necessarily correlate with one’s basketball ability. Just because you’re tall doesn’t ...

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