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my family

BY SAKURA YONEYAMA (staff writer)

when i was born,

my grandparents rejoiced

another yoneyama child

to share the bloodline and love

the sky smiled that morning

5:34 am

and outside, the pink sakura flowers rained down onto the pavement

but my grandparents’ joy

was cut short

when at the immature age of two,

i was shipped in a cardboard box and dropped off in the USA

and so every few months,

my grandma and grandpa and grandma

sent the same cardboard box

filled with japanese goods and foods

i'm sure my parents promised my grandparents

that their children would be true japanese citizens

that their identities would bear no american stamp

but that imagined promise was quickly broken

as english quickly became my sister and i’s preferred language

and while our japanese came out broken and fragmented

our english was rapid-fire, flawless

i wonder if they were ever sad,

overwhelmed by waves of grief and loss

when their grandchildren would come home

and could only speak to them in accented, simple japanese

when their grandchildren couldn’t read japanese books

when their grandchildren spoke to each other in an alien language, one they would never truly understand

i wonder if they were ever angry,

overwhelmed by waves of rage and indignation

when their grandchildren would visit

and couldn’t recognize japanese culture

when their grandchildren couldn’t understand japanese customs

when their grandchildren preferred to do it the “american” way

but i also wonder

if they were ever filled with hope,

overjoyed with waves of hope and pride

when their grandchildren would come by

and speak to each other in english

when their grandchildren unknowingly had planted roots in a new culture

when their grandchildren became pioneers of the family


Sharing culturally diverse stories to educate, inspire, and empower others

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