THE EVOLUTION OF G YAMAZAWA: From Buddhism in the South, spoken word to hip-hop

Poet and rapper George Yamazawa, Jr. — known by his stage name G Yamazawa — performed at the Nichi Bei Foundation’s seventh annual Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival in San Francisco June 17. Prior to his performance, the 26-year-old native of Durham, N.C. took a few moments to talk about his life and work. […]

Soto Zen reverend’s off-the-beaten path to S.F.

The two largest Buddhists sects in Japan are Jodo Shinshu and Soto Shu. Jodo Shinshu boasts the most number of practitioners in Japan,  while Soto Shu claims the title of most number of temples, said the Rev. Koshi Kurotaki, resident minister of the Soto Mission of San Francisco Sokoji. And while Zen Buddhism has become […]

Obon dancing in America: Reverend Yoshio Iwanaga photo album

(Editor’s Note: The following was excerpted from an online exhibit curated by Wynn Kiyama, executive director of Portland Taiko and director of the Portland State University Taiko Ensemble. Photos courtesy of Portland State University Library). Yoshio Iwanaga (1900-1950) was a Japanese Buddhist minister who moved to California in 1930 and introduced doyo buyo (children’s dance) and Bon Odori (Obon […]

Rinban Bob, Rev. Patti Oshita retire from Sacramento Betsuin

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After serving the Buddhist Church of Sacramento Betsuin for 32 years, Rinban Bob Oshita and his wife, the Rev. Patti Oshita, gazed at a banquet room full of more than 700 people on June 11 who had come together to celebrate the Oshitas’ retirement. “As this event was being planned, I thought […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Obon in Japan, compared to America

I’d been trying to think of how to compare Obon festivals in Japan and America, but for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on, it was very difficult. On the surface there are many similarities; however, the role of the temple in America is very different than that of Japan, so to properly understand […]

LETTERS: Assistant minister in Nara Prefecture has roots in San Jose’s J-Town

Editor’s Note: The following comments were posted on www.nichibei.org in response to the article entitled “The process of becoming a better minister,” which was published in the Jan. 1 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly. Sensei — What a pleasure to read about your ministry and all that you do for your village. I still […]

LETTERS: Bay Area native spreads Buddhism’s message

Editor’s Note: The following comment was posted on www.nichibei.org in response to the article entitled “The process of becoming a better minister,” which was published in the Jan. 1 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly. Sensei Jeff, My how time flies! Its been over 2 yrs since we’ve communicated. It’s great 2 hear you’re now […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: The process of becoming a better minister

Happy New Year! It has been two years since I last wrote, and in that time I finished my Buddhist training and have become an assistant minister in my village. It’s pretty difficult because as I was told: Being a minister is not a job, it’s a lifestyle; there’s no clocking out. But it is […]

Zen living in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. — Aside from running the renown jazz club and Japanese restaurant Yoshi’s in Oakland, Calif., the club’s owners and former married couple Yoshie Akiba and Kaz Kajimura share a uniquely Japanese home in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. The home, built in the early 1960s next to a great brick Catholic priory, features […]

Nobuko Miyamoto’s creations add to SoCal Bon Odori

LOS ANGELES — Nobuko Miyamoto, singer, dancer and songwriter, has left a significant imprint on the local Obon celebration scene: Several of her songs will be performed by dancers this summer at Bon Odori throughout Southern California. Miyamoto, who danced and acted in the Oscar-winning film “West Side Story” and such Broadway hits as “The […]

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