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An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Not All Jungle


A far cry from its perception as a jungle outpost, Belém is a modern port city on the Amazon River. On this day in Belém, I was instructed, "Stand in front of me. Let me look at you."

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Coffee on the Amazon


I'm in the middle of Pará state, about three hours from the large city of Belém on a dirt road three hours from a small village called Tomé Açu.

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Say What?


My first meal during my first visit to Brazil was in a conference center just an hour from São Paulo’s international airport. This would be my first Nikkei leadership conference in Brazil, my first time for everything.

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Beisebol or Besuboru?


Beisebol is big among the Japanese farming colonies of South America. I found myself at a weekend tournament in Pedro Juan Caballero, a small town in eastern Paraguay on the border of Brazil. As I wandered around, it occurred to me that it wasn't just about baseball. It was about …

An L.A. Sansei's Misadventures in South America

Ahh. Piranha


I am sitting in a dugout canoe with three rather large Nikkei Brazilian guys. We're fishing in the Parana River just outside the town of Panorama on the borders of the states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul in central Brazil.

Paraguay with Eyes Open


September 2008 marked my first opportunity to visit the capital city of Asunción, Paraguay. I had been looking forward to my study trip, and was hoping that I hadn't lost my sense of adventure and the flexibility that would be needed for a two week stay, bookended by two twenty-four …

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John Katagi has enjoyed his interactions with Nikkei in South America and the US. He has worked with the community for most of his professional life, as a staff member at the Japanese American National Museum, in religious and community service through Asian American Christian churches in southern California or working cross-culturally with Nikkei communities in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. His interests vary from Nikkei immigration history, food and travel. He currently lives and works in Ventura County, California.


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