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Alden M. Hayashi

@aldenmhayashi

Alden M. Hayashi is a Sansei who was born and raised in Honolulu but now lives in Boston. After writing about science, technology, and business for more than thirty years, he has recently begun writing fiction and essays to preserve stories of the Nikkei experience. His first novel, Two Nails, One Love, was published by Black Rose Writing in 2021. His website: www.aldenmhayashi.com.

Updated May 2024


Stories from This Author

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A Profound Silence

June 13, 2024 • Alden M. Hayashi

One of the most famous—if not the most famous—works in classical music is Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The opening of that masterpiece is iconic. There’s silence, and then those explosive four notes: ta, ta, ta daaannnnn! When I first played the symphony, our conductor emphasized that the most important part of that dynamic opening is the silence (the anticipation) before the notes, and not the notes themselves. And that’s exactly how Beethoven intended it to be because those four notes start …

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Unlocking Family Mysteries

Nov. 22, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Ever since I could remember, a large, colorful tapestry of the Great Torii of Miyajima was displayed prominently in the living room of my Nisei parents’ house. Visitors couldn’t help but notice it when they entered our home in Honolulu. As a kid, though, I never thought much about that artwork; to be honest it was like wallpaper that was always silently there, unnoticeable in the background of my youth. Over the years the tapestry became badly faded from exposure …

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The Poker Table—Part 4

Oct. 30, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Read Part 3 >> It was late in the afternoon, almost five o’clock, when Dad and I dropped off Tanaka-san and Lynne, so I called Mom to tell her we were running late because, with freeway traffic in Honolulu, it could be a while before we were back at my parents’ place across town. As I merged onto the freeway, I couldn’t help but think about Lynne. How odd it was, her insisting on joining us for lunch. I really …

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The Poker Table—Part 3

Oct. 23, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Read Part 2 >> That Saturday, when I arrived at my parents’ house to pick up Dad, he was already sitting outside, waiting for me with two large paper bags. “Sorry, am I late?” I asked. “Look at what I picked this morning,” he said, pointing to the two bags. Inside were white Piri mangoes from his tree as well as several jabong, a type of grapefruit with the sweetness of oranges. “Wow, Tanaka-san is gonna love these!” I didn’t …

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The Poker Table—Part 2

Oct. 16, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Read Part 1 >> Today, talk of his poker gang’s tanomoshi has made Dad uncharacteristically nostalgic, prompting him to reminisce about this group of seven lifelong friends who, over the years, had dropped to six and then five, with the deaths of Morimoto-san and Fukuda-san. The surviving members continued to play until Tokunaga-san had to bow out because of stomach cancer, which required months of brutal chemo and radiation treatments. The group remained in limbo until he had passed, prompting …

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The Poker Table—Part 1

Oct. 9, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Author’s note: My late Nisei father did indeed have a poker gang of his best friends who would meet monthly, always on a Saturday night, for decades, but this fictional short story—“The Poker Table”—is only loosely based on them. * * * * * Mom and I were in the kitchen that Sunday morning, preparing lunch, when we heard the crash from outside, followed by an angry round of expletives in both English and Japanese. My father might let out …

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No More Euphemisms: My Mother Was a Hostage

Aug. 9, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Decades ago, when I was studying for my degree in journalism, I had an extremely tough professor. He was a gruff, cynical curmudgeon who constantly berated us for failing to scrutinize any statements made by politicians, government officials, and others in power. “When interviewing them,” he advised, “always, always, ALWAYS bring your bullsh*t detector with you.” I got a “B” for that class (my first “B” ever in school), mainly because I wasn’t adept at investigative journalism. I couldn’t always …

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Sansei Fear of Failure

July 17, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Years ago, a management headhunter called me about a job opening at a small but prestigious journal. I was excited about the prospect of working for that organization until I heard the exact position: publisher. In my career as a writer and editor, the highest managerial job I had had was that of executive editor, which was two levels below that of publisher. (As executive editor, I reported to the editor-in-chief, who reported to the publisher.) I told the headhunter …

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Finding the Right “Keiko” — Part 2

June 29, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Read Part 1 >>  When I arrived at The Plaza, I found Aunt Emiko watching a game show on a large TV in the community room. I was relieved that she recognized me right off and seemed elated for the company. “Let’s go to my room,” she said, “we’ll have more privacy there.” In so many ways, Aunt Emiko seemed like her old self, my beloved aunt who had always made me feel like the most special person in the …

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Finding the Right “Keiko” — Part 1

June 28, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Author’s note: After my mother had passed and my brothers and I were cleaning out her house, I was overcome with such intense grief—unrelenting waves upon waves of sadness compounded by a lacerating guilt for all the things I should have told her while she was still alive. To deal with those intense emotions, I’d often write in my journal, and those notes would later become the basis for this fictional short story, “Finding the Right ‘Keiko.’” * * * …

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