THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Not really a nut

I used to have those childhood sandwiches with that creamy spread from the favorite legume of most children, the Arachis genus, the humble peanut, many times a week. I think most of you are aware that the peanut isn’t a nut at all — actually, foods in the nut family like walnuts, almonds and pecans […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: How to maintain a good heart at all times

常 (Tsune) means “always.” This character’s top lines indicate the roof of a house, a window and steam coming out of the vents of the house. The bottom lines indicate a person who is wearing an apron. Together, this character shows a person cooking with a calm heart. 良 (Yoki) means “good.” This character represents […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: S.F. pianist and teacher Florence Takayama Iwamoto’s life of musicality

A number of my recent Nichi Bei Weekly columns, some written together with Jonathan van Harmelen, have focused on Japanese Americans in classical music in the mid-20th century. My initial columns focused on those few artists, including Yoichi Hiraoka, Tomi Kanazawa, Hizi Koyke and Agnes Yoshiko Miyakawa, who managed to achieve fame on an international […]


(What should you do when your genealogy hits the proverbial brick wall?) Genealogists often use the term “brick wall” when they hit a roadblock in their research. It happens to all of us. What do you do when you can’t find any more information? Have you exhausted all obvious resources? If so, then be sure […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Summertime chillin’

Now that the mercury is definitely on the rise in the midst of summer, when full bodied red wines and dark whiskies are a little too hot for the palate and turning on the oven or stovetop simply magnifies the unbearable heat, it’s time for some chillin’ to counteract the heat. Did someone say chilled […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: We survive through our breathing

人 (Hito) means ”a person.” This character represents two people supporting each other. 息 (Iki) means “breath.” The top lines indicate a human nose and the lines below indicate a human heart. Air passes through our nose to our lungs and heart. 生 (Ikiru) means “a life.” The bottom lines represent soil and the top […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Recounting ‘Sushi and Sourdough’ author and WWII vet Tooru Kanazawa’s life

Tooru Kanazawa, an early Nisei writer and journalist, distinguished himself as a community activist and soldier during World War II. At the end of his long life, he achieved widespread attention in literary circles with the publication of his autobiographical novel “Sushi and Sourdough.” Tooru Joe Kanazawa was born Nov. 12, 1906 in Spokane, Wash., […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: We tend to believe we are always right

私 (Watakushi) means “I or me.” The left side of this represents a rice plant and the right side represents arms. The rice plant is held in a person’s arms. 正 (Tadashii) means “right.” The top line indicates the goal and the lines below indicate a foot, showing you walking toward the goal. 思 (Omoi) […]


Just the word barbecue takes on different meanings, depending on where in the country you reside. In the South, barbecue usually means low and slow cooking at somewhere between 225 to 275 degrees over charcoal. In the Carolinas, it primarily means hog, whereas it’s only beef in Texas. And even in the hog centric regions, […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Prewar attitudes toward queer sexuality in Japanese-language press

This is the 16th year that I have had the pleasure of presenting my annual queer history column. I want to start today’s installment by acknowledging the 2020 online J-Sei exhibit “Seen & Unseen: Queering Japanese American History Before 1945,” co-curated by Nichi Bei Weekly columnist Amy Sueyoshi and Stan Yogi. It was a landmark […]

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