Entertainment Spotlight

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Suzanne Kai - on Sunday, 08 May 2022

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres
What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres MAY 8, 2022 With “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” the documentary about me, now out today and streaming merrily along on Netflix, I’m officially in the film industry.  Actually, that’s been the case since last June, when the documentary, which stole its title from a popular column at Asian Connections created by director Suzanne Joe Kai's son Mike when he was 14, premiered at the...

Sleeping on Potatoes: A Lumpy Adventure from Manzanar to the Corporate Tower

Posted by Lia Chang on Thursday, 19 January 2006.

Former Japanese American internee, Carl Nomura, achieves the real American dream

Carl Nomura's memoir, "Sleeping on Potatoes: A Lumpy Adventure from Manzanar to the Corporate Tower, " is the story of a former Japanese American internee who became a scientist, physicist and successful business executive. His inspirational life story is the epitome of the American Dream.

Born in a box car to immigrant parents, his father was an abusive man who moved the family around, separating his six children by sending Nomura's older brothers and sisters to stay with relatives. After his father died, his mother supported the kids as best she could but the Depression hit and the family struggled to survive.

After graduating high school, Nomura and his family found themselves the target of the relocation efforts of the American government during World War II. Along with 110,000 Japanese Americans, Nomura and his family spent two years in Manzanar, an isolated dust-covered internment camp located in California.

Determined to learn from his experiences and motivated to change his situation, Nomura went back to school when World War II ended. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 1948, a master's of science degree in 1949 and a doctorate degree in physics in 1953. He then began a career that would span 33 years with Honeywell, a multi-billion dollar manufacturing company. Starting as a research physicist, he climbed the corporate ladder holding positions like manager of operations and associate group executive of the solid state electronics division to later become the corporate senior vice president of the company. When Carl retired, the Honeywell CEO commended him for his contributions to the company saying, "Carl has made a greater contribution to our success than any other executive in the company."

The director of the Washington Center for the Book wrote, "His story brings greater understanding and deep appreciation of the diversity of our American culture by his unflinching exposure of his own family history. Nomura recounts with accuracy the emotional pain, isolation and dislocation from traditional Japanese culture in the struggle for the promise of a better life in America." She continues, "He voices his life experience with insight and humor, which is the great expression of the commonality of the human experience seen through the filter of a kind mathematician."

Nomura has won the highest award given by the University of Minnesota, the Distinguished Graduate/Outstanding Achievement Award, which is given to graduates who have achieved something of merit. Nomura currently resides in Port Townsend, Wash., near Seattle. In his retirement, he runs his own farm, as well as a local Japanese restaurant and travels extensively.