How were the Uchidas different from traditional Japanese families?
The Uchidas were different from traditional Japanese families because they were more open to western culture than was customary for their generation. Having hosted white students and faculty at their home, the Uchidas were confident of their place in American society.
The author, Yoshiko Uchida, notes that both her parents read Japanese and English periodicals, magazines, and books while she was growing up. Her father, Dwight, always read the San Francisco Chronicle on the ferry that took him on his daily commute to his office. At home, Yoshiko remembers that there were reading materials like The National Geographic, Readers Digest, and Life.
Although the family observed many traditional Japanese customs, they were also open to sampling western customs and cuisine. Yoshiko maintains that the family's meals were often a symphonic smorgasbord of Japanese and American delights. Despite prevailing prejudice against the Japanese at the time, Yoshiko notes that both her parents were patriotic Americans. Her father 'cherished copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States' and hung an American flag on the porch on national holidays, despite the declaration that first generation Japanese immigrants were 'aliens ineligible for citizenship.'
In all, Yoshiko highlights the fact that her family was different from other traditional Japanese families because her childhood was infused with an eclectic blend of Japanese tradition, Buddhist philosophy, Samurai ethics, and Protestant theology.