The Informant is 29 years old, grew up in a military family, and studied at USC and UCLA. He’s very close to his Japanese culture.
Him: Okay, I have a superstition type of thing. My mom taught my brother and I when we were little to make Teru Teru Bozus.
Him: Teru Teru Bozus?
Me: What are they?
Him: They’re like. Okay, let me just explain it. It’s a Japanese thing. They’re for good luck. You take a ball of tissues and mush them together, and then you take a larger tissue and wrap it around the ball of tissues and tie it off with a string. You know you’ve done it right if it looks like a little ghost. Then I think you can draw a face on it. Or maybe you wait until the good luck has happened. I’m not sure.
Me: So you make them for good luck?
Him: Yeah. And if the good luck comes true you have to do something. With water. I think we just flushed them down the toilet but I don’t think that’s what you’re supposed to do *laughs*
Me: What happens if you don’t get good luck?
Him: You have to rip the head off!
Me: And your mom taught it to you?
Him: To me and my brother, yeah. We’d do it when we were really little. Before the first day of school and stuff like that.
Me: Would you teach it to your future children?
Him: *laughs* I don’t know. Maybe!
This superstitious practice was probably a way that the mother could share her Japanese culture with her children in a fun, accessible way. The Informant is only a quarter Japanese, with the rest of his ethnicity being mostly white-European ancestry. By being able to share this part of her culture with her children was probably very fulfilling for the mother and a way that her heritage and cultural practices could carry on through her children and not be forgotten. As a result, both the Informant and his twin brother still make the effort to include Japanese culture into their life in many ways. In fact, one of them now lives in Japan!