Rosebud and Other Stories
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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Wakako Yamauchi writes of the soul, the spirit hidden beneath the surface. Secret desires, unfulfilled longing and irrepressible humor flow through her stories, writings that depict the life of Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans. Through the medium of her storytelling, the reader enters the world of desert farmers, factory workers, gamblers, housewives, con artists ...
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I give my thanks to Lillian Howan for editing this collection of short stories and for all the tireless energy and love and faith she has extended toward bringing this publication to life. There is no way I can fully express my appreciation. To my friend Garrett Hongo, who has helped me in countless ways for countless years, I humbly ...
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This is the story of Mutsuko Okada, daughter of a Japanese picture bride and a farmer. Probably sometime before the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924, Mr. Okada, tired of hacking it alone on the Southern California hard scrabble, found himself a marriage broker—an urban guy hustling extra bucks in a small room off a dry goods store. Mr. Okada snared his ...
Dogs I Owe To
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On South Halldale Avenue, we set out our trash and garbage on Tuesday afternoons for Wednesday pickups. I sit at the window that faces the street in my daughter’s room, now long vacant, and watch the sun go down. A dark speckled dog crosses diagonally from the other side and sniffs the bags of trash. He doesn’t mark his territory—he has none. He sniffs and gnaws ...
Pain and Stuff
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I saw Maisie around in the internment camp; she was maybe fourteen or fifteen, a couple of years younger than I was. She was named Masako; her family called her “Masa,” her contemporaries “Massie,” and finally “Maisie” after the beloved ditzy character Ann Southern played on screen. Our After our liberation from internment at the end of World War II, ...
Annie Hall, Annie Hall
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Just kidding. It’s just one more weekend night. I’ve spent a lot of these alone with my faithful TV—the one in the bedroom, not the one in the front room that Jeff, my son-in-law installed for me with all the up-to-the-minute stuff (of the time). The DVD is now a couple of years old (my grandkids love it), and the VCR is practically expiring from old age and ...
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My niece Sandy tells me that almost everyone she talks to about her problems quickly redirects the subject to him or herself. “Well,” I say, “almost everyone has similar experiences, and we just want to pass on what we’ve “Well,” I say, “if you don’t want a response, you might try talking to your sock, or shoe, or yourself. That way, at least you can say, ‘You-you-you! ...
A Christmas Orange Story
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This is the fourth Thanksgiving we’ve spent with Jay and Penny in Oak View, a village near Ojai, California. They have a long house that sits on the broad spine of a hill, and their back porch looks out to the mountains beyond and the highway that dips in and out, stringing little clusters of buildings together. From there they can watch the big summer sky slowly darken from east to west, watch the darting...
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Our tribe is fast disappearing, the Nisei, the first generation of American-born Japanese. They called us the “quiet Americans,” the “model minority.” Silence is being unseen, invisible—not to invite anger or envy. “The nail that sticks out gets hammered” is a saying more familiar to us than, say, Now, we Nisei are in our seventies and eighties. We did well after ...
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They say family stories are like Christmas newsletters. Boring. But I want to get this one down because, way later, my grandkids might want to read something like this and try to connect with it. I see them today: they have all they could want to eat and most of what they think they need to be happy. Maybe they would want to know how all the abundance ...
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Maybe this story should be written in Japanese, but since I’m telling the story, I can use only the language I know. Still, I have difficulties with syntax and vocabulary and using a lot of clichés, but those are clues to my roots .Also, I don’t really know all the facts; I’ve only observed from the outside, so I shall be drawing my own conclusions—connecting the dots, ...
A Nisei Writer in America
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When I was a little girl, my father bought a set of The Book of Knowledge , which was twenty fat books very much like the encyclopedia. I poured over pictures of great men and mysterious drawings of fossil bones that lay buried...
My Mother's Cooking
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My father farmed in the arid Southern California desert just north of the Mexican border. My mother often helped him in the fields. She got up in the morning, fixed our breakfast of hot rice, miso soup, and preserved cabbage, and sent us off to school with our brown-bag lunches: jam sandwiches, a In the late afternoon she came in from the fields and cooked supper ...
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The play Taj Mahal started out as an experiment, an exercise: to try writing from a white man’s point of view. The time I chose was the 1930s, the time of America’s Great Depression, when many men from the lowest economic rung, jobless and homeless, were riding the rails looking to change their lives. I felt I knew a little about being broke and searching for a change. ...
Publication Year: 2011