Stuff contributed by Lily_Havey

Nikkei Chronicles #2—Nikkei+: Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race

What Tribe You From, Brother?

Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey

When my son Michael was in high school he was approached by a group of young Navajo men who asked him, “What tribe you from, brother?”

Nikkei Chronicles #1—ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture

One Grain of Rice

Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey

My mother was always reminding me to eat every grain of rice from my bowl: “Hito tsubu mo nokosanaide tabenasai.” It’s the equivalent of “Clean your plate.” Japanese mothers are just like Jewish mothers in this regard. Well, the stereotypical ones, at least. They command and plead, “Eat it up, …

Nikkei Chronicles #1—ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture

Food for New Year

Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey

“I can do better than that with one hand tied behind my back,” my father complained, checking out the liver and onions set before him. “Nanda konna meshi? You used the wrong hand.” Then, glancing at my mother’s stricken face, mumbled, “Maybe needs more bacon grease.”

Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

The Wave In the Harbor

Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey

Tsunami—the wave in the harbor. Isn’t that curious and amazing…that the kanji for such a devastating event is 津浪, “wave in the harbor”?

Temple 7G - Part 4

Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey

Part 3 >>Before the war we had celebrated Christmas even though we were Buddhists. We exchanged simple gifts and shopped for a tree. One of my mother’s dressmaking clients gave us a special Santa Claus ornament. “Be careful with that,” she cautioned. “It’s hand blown in Germany. It’s valuable.” Why …

Temple 7G - Part 3

Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey

>> Part 2There were two Buddhist “temples” at blocks 7G and 12G. My mother and I attended the closer one at 7G. For the first few months a table with a bowl of incense sticks served as the altar. I remembered the Los Angeles temple where incense smoke engulfed me …

Login or Register to join our Nima-kai


Lily is a retired school teacher, pianist, stained glass artist, and watercolorist who now spends her time attempting to unclutter her life and to urge her garden to grow. She has written a creative memoir, 'Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp: A Nisei Youth Behind a World War II Fence' to be published by the University of Utah Press.

Nikkei interests

  • community history
  • family stories
  • festival/matsuri
  • Japanese/Nikkei food
  • Japantowns

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

The Nippon Foundation