Navigating the new normal


We were faced with a new uncertainty following Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place orders imposed upon us on March 17. That was followed by a statewide order just two days later. States from coast to coast followed suit, altering the lives of millions.

Welcome to the new normal, courtesy of the global coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19.

Here at the Nichi Bei Foundation and Nichi Bei Weekly, as we are a newspaper, we are exempt from the shelter-in-place orders and are continuing to publish — although most of our staff is working in some sort of remote capacity. In this trying time for our community, our businesses, and our nonprofit organizations, we feel it is imperative to adhere to our core mission of keeping the community connected, informed and empowered.

As these orders came into effect, we were right in the middle of production of our largest edition of the year — our Japanese Culture Guide — and our San Francisco Japantown Map and Directory. These represent two of our core publications, one that has a strong goal of preserving Japanese culture in America, and the other with a mission of empowering San Francisco’s Japantown.

This could have been disastrous, in terms of potential loss of advertising revenue tied to the rapidly-changing economic landscape, as one by one major festivals started to cancel and the country was on a bullet train to a shutdown. However, just about all of our advertisers have stayed committed, allowing us to fulfill our mission. We are truly indebted to their support.

But as more and more events get canceled, including major fundraisers, we as a community will need to find ways to support each other. This week’s edition focuses a bit on senior services and Japantown businesses that remain open, and we’ll try to find ways in which we can support and empower our community even more in the coming weeks. We remain open to suggestions (send to

With our major upcoming fundraiser — our 10th annual Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival — and our upcoming Obon and Summer Festivals Guide in potential jeopardy, we may likely need to find a way to replace tens of thousands of dollars in budgeted income ourselves.

But we are a resilient community, which fought racist immigration laws, endured our wartime incarceration and rebuilt our lives from scratch after World War II.

Like we said as we set out to rebuild the Nichi Bei Weekly from scratch out of the ashes of the historic Nichi Bei Times more than 10 years ago, we shall rise again.

We’re all in this together. And we’ll do our best to make it through the storm together.

Stay safe, and please check in with your loved ones if you can.

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