I’m building a family tree for Maya. Maybe it’s more for me, but that’s really too soon to tell. When I was a kid, we did one in elementary school. The tree (although one of the parents said it should really be the roots) went back four generations, including me. Now with the magic of the Interwebs, I think, we can stretch a bit farther to six, including Maya and her cousins. Beyond that, or rather with that oldest generation, the information is sporadic and somewhat unreliable. Those records are in Japan, and I have no idea if they survived both time and bombings. I now know approximately where three quarters of my family come from in Japan a little more specifically than before. Some stories have gained clarity, while some have retreated and other questions have taken their place.
That being said, I’ve only visited one place that my family is from, and that is now within damaged zone of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Disaster. Our family left there well over a hundred years prior to the disaster and I spent only about two hours with those members of the family when I visited in the 90’s. It was, and remained, a foreign world. Fukui-ken, where I spent three years, is where I think of when I think of Japan today.
I really should talk to my in-laws, though. Maya should have both sides of her family. And if this project really doesn’t stretch back too far into the Old Countries, then there will be some balance. Becky’s family came to the US about a half to a full generation behind mine (depending on who you’re talking about). The family stories on both sides are rich and the intermix of the two histories, I believe creates an illuminating picture of the American Century.