This week I helped in celebrating my grandmother's 87th birthday. Looking back and knowing what I know about her past, it is quite a remarkable life she has lived thus far. Growing up in the coastal city of Hamada Shimane and in a powerful militaristic country, Yasuko was just shy of her 18th birthday when one of the most devastating acts in the history of war took place. On August 6th, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped in the city of Hiroshima, less than 100 kilometers away from her. Although she was fortunate to be outside the area of destruction, many of her friends and acquaintances suffered a different fate.
In 1952 my grandmother married my grandfather, a Japanese-American soldier and immigrated to America. Her act of marrying my grandfather was one of rebellion in the eyes of her family since she was marrying the enemy, but she never looked back. At the time, she was pregnant her first daughter, who would be my mother. She proceeded in raising three beautiful daughters, each unique yet sharing a common bond with each other.
My grandmother remains the center staple of our family. She and my grandfather helped raise me and I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for that. Although she now deals with Parkinson's, she is still impressively capable and still enjoys the finer things in life, such as beer and ice cream (often at the same time!) Kampai!