I am Japanese, but I have never been to Japan
And neither has my father
And my Grandma has only visited
- To be married off
When she told her to-be husband that she wanted to go to college,
And was denied marriage for being too loud
- To explore with a friend, maybe a sister
I don’t remember. And I’m on a plane back to college and so I can’t call her to ask.
Even with Little Tokyos and J-towns,
Davis is the closest I get to Japan.
It’s where my Grandma is,
It’s where my Grandpa is buried.
My Grandma’s house has those paper doors
And those doorway curtains
And a Go board
And Grandma’s stories.
And when she could still cook, Grandma’s food.
Most of which was brown and mushy
I used to say, like army food
My Grandma was
Ages five to nine.
She graduated high school early,
And went to college at sixteen.
Became a nurse
Became an immigration lawyer.
75% win rate.
She has two sons,
And two grandchildren,
And to me, she is Japan.
On this plane, I miss Japan.
- Kaeru; to return (written while leaving)
- I could not look up the name because I was on a plane; “paper doors” are shoji
- “Doorway curtains” are noren