Nikkei Chronicles #11—Itadakimasu 3! Nikkei Food, Family, and Community

Back by popular demand, our theme for the 11th edition of Nikkei Chronicles is Itadakimasu 3! Nikkei Food, Family, and Community. We invite you to submit your personal stories, essays, memoirs, academic papers, restaurant reviews, and other prose works on Nikkei food–how Nikkei use local ingredients, cooking techniques, agricultural practices, and tastes to create their own versions of Japanese food. We are particularly interested in sharing Nikkei family and community stories behind favorite recipes. 

All submissions that meet the guidelines and criteria will be published in the Discover Nikkei Journal on a rolling basis as part of the Itadakimasu 3! series. The submission deadline is Friday, September 30, 2022 at 6 p.m. PDT.  

Visit 5dn.org/itadakimasu3 for more information!

*Itadakimasu 3! Nikkei Food, Family, and Community is presented in partnership with:

     

     

 

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >> 

*Logo design by Jay Horinouchi

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JANM Sashimi Potluck Lunches : Extended A Pre-WW II Tradition

Most people appreciate that anyone who works for a reputable nonprofit organization is unlikely to get rich. But the intangible rewards for those who feel the satisfaction of helping to fulfill a worthwhile mission often surpass the limited monetary compensation. And if you’re lucky, you might gain access tangible benefits unique to the Japanese American nonprofit community.

As someone who worked for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) for over 20 years, I witnessed a series of remarkable summer Nikkei grassroots benefits: the sashimi lunches. While potlucks including freshly caught raw tuna are hardly exclusive to JANM, the evolution and …

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Tree of Lemon

Before the current tree came into bloom, its predecessor was flourishing elsewhere long before. The predecessor's keepers, a large Sansei sharecropper family, had to make the best of what they grew while still hoping to remain true to their ancestral roots. They were residing in shacks on other peoples’ land, then to a small barrack across the country barely capable of keeping itself intact, and soon back to a new shack as tiny as ever. Feeding the family a dinner agreeable to everyone was a seemingly never-ending struggle.

Over time, however, the most perfect formula was crafted: lemon-infused ramen. With …

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Canadian Nikkei Comfort Food

I previously wrote an article on Nikkei food that was uniquely Japanese Canadian: kan-ba-lando chow mein that evolved in the coal mining town of Cumberland, B.C., and Denbazuke from New Denver internment camp.

Fuki is symbolic of Japanese immigration. In the late 1800’s, when poor people from rural villages came to Canada or Amerika, for some reason they brought this insignificant root that is grown on the hillside of Japan.

My theory is that perhaps these villagers thought that there wouldn’t be any Japanese food in Canada, and therefore concealed fuki roots onto the ship. Another theory might …

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Butadofu

I grew up in an essentially white community. My exposure to Japanese culture was limited to my parents, as my friends and community were not Japanese. Growing up in the 60’s, I was admonished to assimilate and not to be different.  

What did maintain my link to Japanese culture was food. Growing up, I remember my mother, Irene, cooking a lot of Japanese dishes, most from memory without measuring ingredients. She cooked many Japanese and Hawaiian dishes: tonkatsu, hot rice with a raw egg and soy sauce, sweet and sour pork or chicken, and fried Japanese eggplant. One of …

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Umeshu: Drinking Past and Present

Every summer I drive to the local Japanese markets to look for them—the small, green ume that are only in season a couple weeks each year. Through the cool blast of air from the store’s sliding doors, I make a beeline for the produce section feeling excited and nervous, never knowing whether the ume will actually be in stock yet, or if I’ve miss-timed my arrival by a few days or a week. Sometimes the mission is a failure and I have to try again, but when I do find them, piled up in their cardboard box, the excitement is …

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butadofu Canada community family Family family tradition food hawaii JANM June Aochi Berk plum wine potluck umeshu