Comfort Food, Words, and Women

This week comfort food, comfort words, and comfort women, were all topics of conversation with my SkimaTalk students.  Here I’ll talk about all three.

Comfort Food  means different things to different people. Generally though, comfort foods are heavy and satisfying.

Think of the type of food you want on a cold winter’s day: things that are warm and creamy, and things that remind you  of Mom’s or Grandma’s home-cooking.*

“Comfort Words” is a term that I coined* to refer to words that people use to comfort themselves, or provide reassurance.

One of my students had been playing a board game.  She asked why another player kept saying, “alright” every time it was his turn to take a card.  I explained that we sometimes say “alright,” or “okay” when we are in a stressful situation.  We are comforting our self, telling our self that, “It’s going to be alright, or okay.”

You can hear Tom Hanks, playing a baseball coach use both “alright” and “okay” multiple times in the clip below.

“Jimmy Says a Prayer” scene from A League of their Own, 1992 film by Sony

NOTE: There is a sexual reference and he does take the Lord’s name in vain* at the very end of the clip. It’s so hard to find “clean*” examples anymore.)

Now to change the topic and the mood completely…. Here is a very UNcomfortable subject.

Comfort women1944
Comfort women 1944

Comfort Women was the name given to the women (and girls) used by the Japanese Imperial Army for sexual services during World War II.  It has become a controversial subject.

Some people insist that the truth has been sensationalized* and comfort women were prostitutes who voluntarily took care of the Japanese military.  Fueling this controversy and confusion is one man’s discredited account* of the military rounding up Korean women to be sex slaves.  For more see this article: Japan revisionists demand apology over ‘comfort women’ reports .  However, this same article explains that “mainstream”Japanese don’t believe the stories of comfort women have been exaggerated.* (Most people believe there were women and girls who were abused and forced into sexual slavery).

This position was supported by the Mc-Graw Hill publishers recently as well. A Wall Street Journal headline read, ”

U.S. Publisher Rebuffs Japan on ‘Comfort Women’ Revision

‘Scholars Aligned Behind Historical Fact’ of Forced Prostitution, McGraw-Hill Education Says

Michele MVE 02 Icon 80 Percent JPEGMy Take On It

My husband Errol and I often remind each other, “Perception is everything.”  That means, it is not productive to argue about details.  If someone is offended or hurt, we need to take care of their wound.  Think of it like this:  When someone shows up at the hospital with a gun shot wound, they are scheduled for surgery!  We don’t waste time worrying about the details of the shooting until the wound has been addressed.

I think there are a lot of wounded people in the world and comfort women are numbered among them. We have seen controversy in the US with regard to racial relations. People have been hurt.  It’s okay to say, “We’re sorry.” Terribly sorry.

One of my favorite passages comes to mind: 1 John 4:7-12

Loving One Another

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

4 thoughts on “Comfort Food, Words, and Women

    1. Thank you Jenn. Readers who are interested in issues related to Asian American women’s issues should check out Jenn’s blog ReAppropriate at (Re-appropriate means to forcibly take something back that was taken away from you). I appreciate your strong voice for women and women’s issues. Michele

  1. Your post shows your excellent understanding of the use of ‘comfort foods’, and ‘comfort words’ in the English language.
    Your presentation of the facts relating to the historical injustices imposed on the Korean women and girls, called ‘comfort women’, who were sold to be the sex slaves of the Japanese Imperial Army, is more that shocking!
    Although this wrong can never be made right, the first step in the right direction would be a sincere apology for the wrongs committed.
    However this history is no less evil that the recent kidnapping of Nigerian school girls taken by the Boko Haran and forced into sex slavery. It stresses me that we live in such an evil world. There is only one solution to this problem and you have got it right! Love one another, as God has instructed us in the Holy Bible.

    1. Thank you! Loretta Wallace, the commenter is another published author. She has written multiple biographical books. Her first book, Purple Patches even includes some stories about me when I was a child! Loretta is my mother. <3 (Learn all about her books by following this link Her book, Portrait of Gunde is also available at ) Loretta’s books are collections of stories that teach. Many of her stories are accompanied by Bible verses or other familiar and beloved references. Her stories reveal traditional and Christian values and perspectives from the late 1800’s to present day. You will find them charming, entertaining, and insightful.

      I consider myself blessed to have been raised by such a compassionate and intelligent woman. Love you Mom!, Michele

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