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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Thanksgiving dinner with other than the traditional trimmings

The only part of Thanksgiving I look forward to is the four-day weekend. The food is ok. Typical American Thanksgiving food makes me feel unnaturally heavy. I like turkey, mashed lumpy potatoes and gravy, and canned corn, but I refuse to eat cranberry sauce, stuffing or yams. Most of my Thanksgiving dinners, fortunately, have always involved Japanese side dishes to balance off the typical American food. The only times I’ve felt unthankful at Thanksgiving were when I had dinner with family on my father’s side. They’re unorthodox Jews who butter their broccoli. I can’t stand buttered ...

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On hugs

I’m generally not the hugging type. I’ll hug if I’m at a function where everybody is hugging hello and hugging goodbye, i.e. graduation ceremonies. And I’ll hug if a friend who is the hugging type wants one. What I don’t like is that most of my hugs nowadays have become half-hearted including the ones I receive. It is rare that I give or get or both give and get a genuine hearty hug to or from someone. The rare occasions that I do get and/or give hearty hugs are limited to events in ...

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On being half

The "being half" experience, specifically for Japanese and white American mixes, vary. Some are more Japanese than others. Some are more white/American than others. Some are a good mix of both. I have friends who fit under each category. I’m a good mix of both and more because I grew up in Southern California in predominantly Mexican neighborhoods. I was fortunate enough to be strongly connected to the cultural traditions of my ethnic heritages including the strong Mexican culture that pervaded the neighborhoods I lived in. But even the good mixes have identity crises over disconnection from their ...

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I like Enka

I listen to enka. Mostly in the car. Enka is a traditional form of Japanese music that originated in both the Meiji (1868–1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) periods. Popular enka, what is mostly on the market today, can be likened to old American folk and country music for its themes. The term enka comes from en , which means public speech and ka , song. It began as a form of political dissent - speeches set to music to make them spread more easily.*

I became an enka fan in 2005 after watching the annual “Kouhaku” NHK-televised music program on New Year’s ...

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Second grade identity

Being “half” came to my attention at seven years old. I remember in my second grade class at Geddes Elementary School, each of us shared in front of the class how we celebrated holidays. Most of my classmates, 99% of them, were second generation Christian/Catholic Mexicans. Most of their parents were from Mexico. I remember many of them saying almost the exact same thing. At Christmas, they would go to church with their family, eat their grandma’s tamales, and get lots of presents. Some of my classmates were cousins. I remember feeling left out and wishing I had ...

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