This is the story of the oldest tofu shop in the US (in Portland, Oregon). It was started by a Japanese family in 1911. The article describes the family and the shop, and how both changed over the years. The war-time part of the story is particularly moving and an important history lesson.
I chose the title of today’s post from these line, towards the end of the article:
“As Ota’s new Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese customers acclimate to American foodways, they tend to come in less frequently. But for immigrants, language and food are like time capsules; by maintaining traditional recipes and techniques as the city rapidly changes around them, Ota Tofu honors this.
This short poem/film makes me think about the Japanese word ハーフ (“half”), which is used to talk about biracial people. I’ve often thought that a different word would be better — double, not half.
And speaking of ハーフ：
“When you are well prepared, the body responds like a force you never knew you had.”
This is my favorite line from this short film called “Marathon” about a man named Julio in NYC, an immigrant from Ecuador whose goal is to place first in his age group in the New York marathon. The audio is in Spanish, with English subtitles. (from Aeon videos)
According to this short article from PRI, 99% of the refugees seeking asylum in Japan are rejected. Here’s the story of one who wasn’t. (You can listen to the audio, though it’s not the same as the written text. I suggest reading first and then listening, after you have a good idea about the story).
It’s a good story to learn about the people behind the statistics.