Discover Nikkei Logo

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/author/hayashi-alden/

Profile image of Alden M. Hayashi

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

Thumbnail for Life Lessons of <em>Mottainai</em>
en
ja
es
pt
Life Lessons of Mottainai

April 21, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

Like many Sansei, I heard the admonishment “mottainai” countless times in my childhood. The Japanese word, which basically means, “too good to waste,” was the mantra of frugality in our household. Whenever I was about to throw something away that might potentially be of future use, my parents would scold, “Mottainai!” The word was always pronounced as a sharp rebuke with an exclamation point: “Don’t be wasteful!” So, gifts were unwrapped carefully so that the ribbon and paper could be …

Thumbnail for When We Enable Racism
en
ja
es
pt
When We Enable Racism

March 17, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

In my novel, Two Nails, One Love, the narrator—Ethan Taniguchi, a middle-aged Sansei man—remembers a distressing episode from his younger days. He was working at a restaurant in New York City, where his manager instructs him to always seat Asian customers at the undesirable tables near the restroom because they’ll be less likely to complain. As Ethan would later recall, “for months, I obeyed my manager’s ugly, repugnant orders and always seated Asians near the restroom, even if other tables …

Thumbnail for The Search for Truth: Piercing Three Layers of Deception
en
ja
es
pt
The Search for Truth: Piercing Three Layers of Deception

Feb. 8, 2023 • Alden M. Hayashi

For years I have wanted to write about my family and ancestors to preserve stories of the struggles they faced as immigrants to the United States from Japan. But I kept putting it off, always assuming that there would be lots of time for that later in my life, especially after I had retired. Then, my father passed away in 2009, followed a few years later by my mother. Their deaths left me bereft, and as I struggled with grief …

Thumbnail for Black Mermaids and Nikkei Superheroes
en
ja
es
pt
Black Mermaids and Nikkei Superheroes

Nov. 3, 2022 • Alden M. Hayashi

The recent uproar over Halle Bailey, a Black actress, playing the Little Mermaid brought back a painful memory of mine from eight years ago. I was attending the annual Carnival parade in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the theme that year was “Comic Book Capers.” So I decided to go as my favorite comic book superhero: Spider-Man.  At the parade, I noticed this young boy who was also dressed as Spider-Man and, when he first saw me from across the street, I …

Thumbnail for Sansei Natsukashii
en
ja
es
pt
Sansei Natsukashii

July 19, 2022 • Alden M. Hayashi

During World War II, my Nisei mother and her family were sent from Honolulu to a concentration camp in Arkansas, and from there they were deported to Japan, where they lived in Iwakuni. In the first photo, taken in the late 1940s, my mom is on the very left, with a young girl in her lap, and you can see Iwakuni’s famous Kintaikyo in the distance. My mother had such a deep attachment to the centuries-old bridge, which stood gracefully …

Thumbnail for Was It Racism?
en
ja
es
pt
Was It Racism?

Feb. 22, 2022 • Alden M. Hayashi

Last summer my brother was riding a public bus in Palo Alto, California, and, when the driver stopped to let him off, the rear exit door ended up situated right in front of a large tree. My brother, who was visiting from Hawaii, had to make a quick decision: should he shout to alert the driver, or just suck it up and cautiously slide his body around the obstruction. Not wanting to make waves, he opted for the latter. But …

Thumbnail for Excerpt from <em>Two Nails, One Love</em>
en
ja
es
pt
Excerpt from Two Nails, One Love

Oct. 3, 2021 • Alden M. Hayashi

I’m not the type to wallow in a bad situation. I’m more apt to pack my things and move on. Much of this comes from my mother, who never looks backward and is as averse to self-pity as anyone I’ve ever known. Whenever she suffers a major setback or disappointment, she shakes her head, mutters “shikata ga nai”—a Japanese saying that roughly translates to, “it can’t be helped”—and then deals with the problem as best she can, or she pivots …

Thumbnail for What Nobody Can Take Away
en
ja
es
pt
Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities
What Nobody Can Take Away

Sept. 10, 2021 • Alden M. Hayashi

My Nisei mother was an attractive woman but she wasn’t materialistic. In fact, she was almost fervently anti-materialistic. She would spend money on stylish clothes only when she absolutely had to, for instance, to look her best for an upcoming family wedding. And I don’t think she ever bought a single piece of jewelry for herself. Anything really nice that she owned was given to her either by her family or other relatives. And even then she wouldn’t allow herself …

Thumbnail for Finding My Way Home
en
ja
es
pt
Finding My Way Home

Aug. 31, 2021 • Alden M. Hayashi

When I was in my twenties, struggling to find my way through life, I very much identified as a gay man. At the time, being Japanese American was more like a minor footnote of my existence, much to the considerable consternation of my Nisei parents. My father, who was then president of the Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjinkai, must have been particularly disappointed that I showed so little interest in my ethnic and cultural heritage. I think that my strong identification with …

We’re looking for stories like yours! Submit your article, essay, fiction, or poetry to be included in our archive of global Nikkei stories. Learn More
Discover Nikkei brandmark New Site Design See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon! Learn More

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
VIRTUAL PROGRAM
Nikkei Uncovered IV: a poetry reading
Join us virtually and enjoy poetry by Matthew Mejia, Christine Kitano, and Mia Ayumi Malholtra.
PROJECT UPDATES
NEW SITE DESIGN
See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon!