FANTASTIC VOYAGE: 20 thoughts of 2020

Here are an assortment of my thoughts, some serious, some not, about the past year: • Skills I gained this year: I am better at teleconferencing, gardening and washing my hands. • If someone from 2019 told me those were the skills I would acquire, I would’ve been really confused. • I actually don’t think […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Mich Kunitani and the Nisei Young Democrat movement

Arguably the most dynamic Nisei political force in the later 1930s was the Nisei Young Democrat movement. Founded by a set of liberal intellectuals and activists, notably Nichi Bei Shimbun editor Larry Tajiri, the Young Democrats formed chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. By 1940 the Oakland branch had established itself as […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Our life is for planting seeds of smiling or laughter

人 represents a person standing and the character 生 represents a sprout growing in soil. 笑顔 (Waraigao) means “a smiling or laughing face.” 笑 represents bamboo and a person who is laughing, like bamboo playfully moving back and forth. é¡” represents a person’s hair and head. 種 (Tane) means “seed.” This character indicates a rice […]


From raging wildfires in both the Golden State and Down Under, racial tensions that erupted into massive civil unrest not seen since the 1960s, an ongoing pandemic and a divided country whose issues aren’t about to resolve anytime soon, the turning of the Year of the Rat could not have come any sooner, and I’m […]

LASTING COMMITMENTS: Genki Aging, Sharing important knowledge and Prop.19

(Editor’s note: The following article was co-written with Martha Bridegam, an attorney with the firm.) Finding purpose is what it’s all about as we age. All of us have the potential to become powerful storytellers and information sharers as we age because we have more life to share and more advice to impart. As we […]

NIKKEI Q: The pronoun revolution

In January 2016, more than 300 linguists, lexicographers, grammarians and etymologists — all members of the 127-year-old American Dialect Society — gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. where members honored “they” as the 2015 word of the year. The anointment was more than an obscure event held by word nerds, but instead indicated […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: To sous vide or not sous vide

Sous vide refers to that precise cooking application where food is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag, and then let to slow cook in a water bath not unlike that commercial water bath you may have used in chemistry class. Because you set the temperature at the exact point that a specific type of protein is […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Tom Tsuji, a versatile Nisei percussionist

(Editor’s note: The following article was co-written with Jonathan Van Harmelen.) In a previous article from our ongoing series on Japanese American musicians, Jonathan Van Harmelen and I profiled the trailblazing role of the Issei xylophone virtuoso Yoichi Hiraoka within the world of percussion. While Hiraoka lived and performed in New York City during the […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Peace of the world

世 (Se) means “generations.” This character represents a trio of the character 十 or (10). ç•Œ (Kai) means “world.” The top lines represent a rice field. The symbol in the center is a person and the bottom lines are divider lines. å¹³ (Hei) means “flat, calm.” The top line represents the sky and the bottom […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: The gift of family history

The holiday season is practically upon us. Have you wondered what unique gifts you might give your extended family? What about a gift of family history? Perhaps you’ve been researching your family for months, or even years. You know that there is always another record to find, another tidbit to uncover. And you might feel […]

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