Sushi (short story)
Creators: Rei Noguchi
Short story by Rei Noguchi about a young Japanese American girl who learns about the wartime incarceration from an Issei woman neighbor. It is a cold New Year's Eve in Dover, New Jersey, and Maya Okano has been dispatched by her parents to return a plate to a woman they call Grandmother Okamoto. The older woman, who is making sushi for New Year's, is happy to see the girl and serves her tea. Maya tells Grandmother Okamoto that she doesn't like sushi or Japanese food in general, preferring "American" food. Grandmother Okamoto sends Maya into the bedroom to fetch a can of nori from the dresser; when she does, she sees a little shrine on the dresser and the photograph of a young man in military uniform in front of barracks. When Maya asks, Grandmother Okamoto tells her about her son, who was killed fighting (presumably in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team ) in Italy during World War II and about their forced removal from their Tulare, California, farm and subsequent incarceration in Poston . After she finishes making the sushi, they go and place some before the alter and pray together. Maya tells Grandmother Okamoto that she'd like to learn how to make sushi someday.
Rei Noguchi grew up in Seabrook, New Jersey, and was a graduate student at the time the story was published in the 1967 Rafu Shimpo holiday edition. He went on the become an English professor at California State University, Northridge.