Know Your Immigrant #2

By Anthony Ramirez, Laura Herrera, Karen Martinez

ManageMs. Ohara, 10th grade Biology teacher, is a second generation member of her family, born from parents that emigrated from Japan.

 

Ms. Ohara states, ”My parents were actually born in Japan and they came over in the 1960s, but my grandfather and his brother, from my dad’s side, actually came in the 1920s. And so he was actually the first, very first family member to come to America.”

Many head to America in hopes of an opportunity to work and achieve their dreams. Ms.Ohara’s parents, like many others, came to the United States because of the economical issues present in their home country.

“So after WWII like the area where my parents were from the economy…declined. And then so a lot of the farmers actually…were very very poor, and so many farmers from Japan actually immigrated over to the United States to continue their farming businesses or gardening businesses here. My mother’s family actually was a part of that….my father… was a part of that too, so his family immigrated as well, just for a better life.”, stated Ms.Ohara

 

We asked Ms.Ohara, “How long have you lived in California, or in the United States?”

“I was born here, so for the rest of my life I’ve been here.”

 

We then asked if she continues to follow her ancestors’ culture?

“Yes, yes, so my parent speak the language, Japanese, and then I speak a little bit of it. We celebrate all of the major holidays, we cook a lot of Japanese food. And I would say just keeping up with like cultural traditions, you know like simple traditions like, in Japan it’s very rude to… take all the food, and when you’re eating as a family it’s rude to eat all of your food, like you have to leave some food left over. It’s called like restraining, there’s a word for it in Japanese, but it’s basically called restraining.”

 

How long have you lived in California, or in the United States?

“I was born here, so for the rest of my life I’ve been here.”

 

Our final question was, “Would you say that you are Americanized?”

“I guess yes, I am, yeah, I guess so. But, I think that term “Americanized” it’s very broad, like many people have different definitions of being American, to me being American means, of course you know living in America, and practicing a lot of the American traditions, but also I come from an immigrant family, so it also to me means, hold on to a lot of your your family culture, like from the mother country, if you will, I don’t know if that is an appropriate term, but you know, from the country that my parents are from. So to me that means being American too.”

 

Although “Being American” has no official definition as it varies from person to person we can agree that the American people consist of a variety of cultures and traditions due to the fact that many of them are immigrants who come from countries who celebrate their own traditions which inevitably mix to create new traditions that many celebrate.

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