As fourth generation Japanese-American, I look at my kids and think that they will grow up without the same richness of culture that I experienced when I was their age. My grandmother was second generation, and she could speak Japanese and cook all of the traditional foods. I grew up eating sushi and turkey at each family holiday, and it wasn't until I was older that I realized not all families did this. "What do you mean you don't have inari and kamaboko?"
Now that I'm a parent, I realize anew how much work my grandmother put into these family dinners. She didn't want to deprive her kids of being American, and yet she didn't want to give up her own traditions and history. Her life read like an adventure book -- she lived through the depression, war, internment camps, racism and saw the new millenium before she died.
And so as the Christmas season approaches and I think about family traditions, I realize that it is important that I teach my kids about a part of their culture that they don't know. A lot of the traditions are lost, but there is one that I can continue. I will do it and feel as if my grandmother is still sitting at the table with my family.
That's right. I am going to be serving sushi at Christmastime. Right next to the turkey.
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over two hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. Check out my 2024 writing challenge to write a book a week at Author Versus AI. For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
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