• Joe Shem

“思いやり” (omoiyari) is the Japanese way of being kind and considerate

Ms. Nobuko Shiraishi was born in Tokyo. She came to the US about 40 years ago when she was 20 years old. At first, she simply wanted to learn English, so she attended a junior college in Colorado. She then continued on to graduate from a college in Southern California. She got married, and moved to Contra Costa county and had 2 children.

She is happy to be living in the Bay Area because there are many Japanese people that she can speak Japanese. Her children also attended a Japanese school and are bilingual. She hopes her grandchildren too will be exposed to and know Japanese culture. While she values the American way of being able to do things with freedom and has chosen to stay here permanently, there are 2 things she values and wants to pass on to her children. First, she loves Japanese food such as sukiyaki (すき焼き), ochazuke (お茶漬け), natto (納豆), somen (そうめん), and fried rice (チャーハン). To date, she makes Japanese-style gyoza for her family. She also wanted to teach her children how to be polite (礼儀正しく), how to greet others (あいさつ), and how to thank people (感謝する). This is the way of living her father taught her. That is, to be considerate, to think about the other person, and be courteous. The most important Japanese word for her is “思いやり” (omoiyari) or the Japanese way of being kind and considerate.

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