(Photo above: my dad with his accordion; c. 1951.)
Father’s Day is celebrated in Canada and many other countries, including Mexico, on the third Sunday in June. For Mother’s Day last month, I made a short list of some of my mom’s favourite things, which I was fortunate enough to ask her about before her passing in November of 2019; sadly, I never asked my dad the same questions (he passed away in 1990), but, remembering him fondly today, I have tried my best to guess what his answers might have been, from my recollections:
Favourite colour: His suits and shirts for work were mostly blue or neutral coloured, but I would say for many other things, it was red. One time he even picked a red rug for our living room, and we lived with that decision all through the 1980s (LOL).
flower sport: I was completely lost with the flower for my dad, so I went with sports; he was very athletic in his youth, and enjoyed watching tackles and kicks on TV later in life, but I am certain his all-time favourite was baseball:
Favourite age: I think probably his twenties and early thirties. He completed his high school and college education in Japan; shortly after, in 1939, he got a job in Mexico, as an accountant with a pharmaceutical company owned by a Japanese family, just before Japan (and the US and Mexico) entered WWII. Once there, he attended night school to learn Spanish and get his Mexican school diplomas, joined sports teams (as seen above at a baseball game), and enjoyed travelling and playing his treasured accordion, as seen at the top of this post. During the war, Japanese immigrants were fustigated by forcing them to move to Central Mexico, away from coasts and especially the American border, and Japanese-owned businesses and properties were closed and retained by the Mexican government; my dad worked as a teacher in one of the schools set up for Japanese children in Mexico City. After the war, the government returned properties to their owners, and my dad was able to go back to his old job. In the photo below, my dad in his early thirties, in a company photo in Mexico City, c.1950:
Favourite food: Anything Japanese, of course, but I know his favourite Mexican dish was pork rinds in green sauce:
Favourite girlfriend: Another mystery to be left unsolved. I could not glean that piece of information from my mom about her boyfriends, either; in the company photo above, she is the fourth girl from the left. My parents met at work, and were married on July 15, 1951.
Favourite T.V. show: Sábados con Saldaña, a marathonic show that aired live for most of the day, every Saturday, running from a good part of the 1970s, and until 1989. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to the sound of Jorge Saldaña‘s voice on TV. When the show started, there were only four Mexican TV channels, and channel 13, where this show was produced, was owned by the government. Mr. Saldaña (1931-2014) was a pioneer in journalistic and cultural programming, with segments from “Sopa de letras” (“Alphabet Soup”) discussing the intricacies of the Spanish language, to “Nostalgia”, full of, well, nostalgia, focusing on Mexican and other Latin American music composers and interpreters, and featuring classic songs in Spanish (below, an episode from 1985):
Favourite country: Japan and Mexico. I believe that a Japanese national will always love Japan first and foremost, but my dad also loved Mexico and Mexican culture very much. My dad collected Mexican Arts and Crafts, and was always taking photographs to capture instants of everything Mexican; below, some examples:
While Mother’s Day has always been almost a religious holiday in Mexico, when I was growing up, honestly, we would just make a greeting card at school and that was it for Father’s Day celebrations; I hope that has changed since then. Here in Canada, we are still in partial lockdown in Southern Ontario, although reopening is slowly happening; we are celebrating my husband with a cake, entirely made by one of my daughters, and a Greek BBQ for dinner.
Do you celebrate Father’s Day? When is it celebrated in your country? My “Favourite Things” questionnaire was a fun activity for Mother’s Day, but a little bittersweet this time around, since I had to guess my dad’s answers; I liked remembering him, nevertheless. Feel free to share your list of favourite things in the comments!
To all those wonderful fathers, grandfathers and fatherly figures in our lives,