Little Momo in the Big Apple

A column of reflections written from the perspective of a Nikkei, an American, an Asian American, a native Californian, a Japanese American (yonsei), a twenty-eight year old woman, and a hapa, Simone Momoye Fujita.

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The Lessons of Mirikitani

I recently sat down for a long overdue viewing of the documentary The Cats of Mirikitani. (Darryl Mori has written an excellent and thorough review of the film in a previous Discover Nikkei article—please check it out!)

I am a bit of a documentary addict, and this film stands out among other films of the genre because it is so deeply personal and poignant. The filmmaker, Linda Hattendorf, portrays her subject, octogenarian artist Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, at arguably the highest and lowest points of his life. As she develops a friendship with him, the details of his fascinating …

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Summer Recap: Eating New York!

I am a very big fan of food. In fact, some might even say I am obsessed with it. I schedule my weekend outings around gustatory adventures scattered across the city. Likewise, I often plan my lunch and dinner meals carefully in order to ensure that I can fit in the food craving(s) of the week. Food is often a delightful entrée (pun intended) to new lands and cultures, yet my very favorite meals are reminiscent of holidays, celebrations and other fun times shared with family and friends.

As I reflect on the summer of 2008, I happily remember all …

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Culture Clashes from Coast to Coast - Part 2 of 2

>> Part 1

Part 2: East Coast Style

When I decided to attend college in New York, I knew there would be a period of adjustment after leaving my family and home state of California, but I did not anticipate the type of culture shock that ensued. This culture shock did not arise from becoming accustomed to pedestrian life, from adjusting to life in a densely populated metropolis, or from the challenge of making new friends at a new school. Instead, my culture shock resulted from the realization that New York was indeed diverse, but in ways remarkably different from …

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Culture Clashes from Coast to Coast - Part 1 of 2

The Academy Award-winning 2004 film Crash was touted as a painfully honest and true-to-life portrayal of race relations in Los Angeles, but when I viewed the film, there was very little about it that resembled the city that my family has called home for several generations.

(Perhaps this is why the movie is on my list of top ten least favorite movies of all time, but, alas, that is a story for another time.) The interactions in the film were not similar to any that I either experienced or witnessed in Los Angeles. If anything, the film reminded me more …

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Half vs. Double: Hybrid Mathematics

My mother is Japanese American, and my father is African American.

According to this equation, most would assert that this fact makes me exactly one-half Asian and one-half Black, right? I whole-heartedly disagree. When faced with an either/or dilemma, I will defiantly choose the both/and option. The sum of my parts, racially speaking, is greater than one. Let me explain:

I am of the school of thought that takes the math-defying stance that mixed people are not split schizophrenically down the middle when it comes to their ethnic identities. This means that despite my ambiguous phenotypic appearance, I consider myself …

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