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Victoria Kraus

@vkraus2

Victoria Kraus is a former Web Editor for DiscoverNikkei.org. She is a half Japanese half Caucasian currently residing in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. She graduated from Soka University of America with a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts.

Updated October 2008


Stories from This Author

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Royal Milk Tea Boba and Globalization

July 7, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

Boba in the United States is a result of globalization (or vice versa). It is becoming as popular and trendy as sushi and sake in the realm of food and drink culture in the U.S. My favorite boba drink is the Royal Milk Tea with less boba from Lollicup—a fast-growing Taiwanese-based franchise now in the U.S. My understanding of globalization, of course, is limited to that of a privileged person whose worries include oil changes for her car and the …

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Japan in Spain

June 16, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

My host mother is going to get on my nerves. This was one of my early thoughts during the first week of my five-month stay in Sevilla, Spain. The thought didn’t last long, interestingly, after I realized how similar Spain and Japan were. I traveled to Sevilla, the capital city in Andalucia (southern region of Spain) in the spring of 2004 for a semester-long study abroad program. After taking my first shower at my host mother’s house, I thought my …

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The East L.A. Gardeners Association sign on First Street

June 8, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

The East L.A. Gardeners Association sign is one of four written in Japanese characters on East First Street in Boyle Heights. (The other signs are for Otomisan Restaurant, the Rissho Kosei-kai and Tenrikyo temples.) I looked at the sign everyday on my way to school while I was a student at Roosevelt Senior High School. Seeing Japanese characters in the middle of a 99.99% Hispanic neighborhood made me feel special, as I was one of few in the neighborhood that …

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When multiethnic and multicultural identity started mattering to me

May 19, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

“Multiracial identity” didn’t become a part of my regularly accessed vocabulary until college. The phrase floated through conversations in junior high and high school, mainly during statewide and national standardized testing seasons (i.e. Stanford 9 during the Spring semester). “Multiracial identity”, as an idea that oftentimes provokes steamed discussion and a topic of particular interest to me, became a concept that I seriously probed when I took a course called “The American Experience” in college. It was also in college, …

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A letter to Virginia

May 4, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

Who and what’s to blame? That is not the question. The Virginia Tech tragedy was indeed a tragedy. No amount of condolences will alleviate the grief of the 33 lives lost on April 17, 2007. I can’t help but feel frustrated. Frustrated with the responses of intelligent American voices on radio and television airwaves discussing what could have been if Sueng-hui Cho was committed to a mental institution months or years prior; if Virginia Tech campus security and Blacksburg Police …

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My part-time job at a Japanese grocery store

April 21, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

I got my first real job when I was 16. I was a cashier at a family-owned Japanese grocery store in Little Tokyo—the Japantown of Los Angeles. Next to the fact that I wanted to earn money, for some reason I had a desire to challenge myself in becoming a responsible young adult by holding a part-time job while managing my studies and preparing for college. I wasn’t a golden goody-two-shoe student in high school but I did do my …

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What is a Jewpanese?

April 7, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

Someone recently asked me if I celebrated Passover because of my half Jewish heritage. I said I didn’t because I didn’t grow up practicing the Jewish religion. The only exceptions were when I went to a funeral for a family member on my father’s side or when I visited Jewish relatives on holidays. Other than that, I was Japanese, American and Buddhist most days of the week. I don’t even know what Passover really means. I remember learning a little …

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Japanese School memories, Part V: Liking Asian guys

March 31, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

I didn’t have any crushes on the boys in Japanese school and it wasn’t because I didn’t like boys. My very first crush on a boy was in the first grade. His name was Jesus (as pronounced in Spanish). I had a crush on him because all the girls had a crush on him. He would chase the girls (the not-so-shy ones who liked to be chased) during recess. I remember liking that he wore a blue Batman t-shirt because …

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Japanese School memories, Part IV: Field Day, Japanese school style

March 24, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

Undokai (Sports Day) is an annual event that schools throughout Japan—elementary through high school—hold during the fall. Undokai combines the Japanese word undo, meaning exercise, and kai, gathering. The undokai event stems from Taiku no hi (Health and Sports Day), an official nationally recognized holiday in Japan that commemorates the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo. It is like Field Day for schools in the United States with some differences. Field Day doesn’t commemorate anything nor is it an observed …

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Japanese school memories, Part III: Not looking the part

March 17, 2007 • Victoria Kraus

I have a good Japanese accent. It’s so good that I can fool any Japanese person into thinking that I’m a native from Tokyo. The trouble is I don’t look the part. Fooling Japanese people into thinking I’m a fellow native is limited to phone conversations. Rarely do I fool someone in person. It’s like having one of those naturally inherent skills you don’t remember having practiced. Like basketball. Some are naturally physically coordinated. Others aren’t. Height doesn’t necessarily correlate …

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