What is going to happen next year? I don’t know about everyone else, but I am feeling somewhat upset by the way things went over these last few years. We are still coping with the plague of COVID-19. We watched on live TV a large and terrifying mob storm the U.S. Capitol, trying to interfere with the transition of power from one president to the next. We’re watching a terrible war take place in Ukraine. We’re seeing China come to a point of rebellion over its efforts to contain COVID-19. We also had an election that seemed to signal the end of democracy as we understood it.

So, it is hard to say that things may go back to being normal. “Normal” seems like an outmoded concept, one that assumes that we can get back to living a life where we could take so much for granted, when the center held and we could count on guidelines and baselines, traditions and unspoken rules.

At my age, 92, I feel like I have seen and lived through a lot, having grown up on a farm in the 1930s. There has been so much change in my lifetime, perhaps the only constant is more change. And the period that we are living through seems different. I don’t even know if I think there is some basic human nature that is a genuine constant.

The young generations are so wired and technologically proficient, they seem unlike human beings of just a generation ago. Yes, I can operate a computer on a primitive level, but when anything goes wrong, I feel like a lost child, full of dread about my lack of knowledge on how to fix it. So, I call my daughter or son-in-law, and they suggest I unplug the machine, wait a few moments and plug it back in again. And what do you know? It has fixed itself. Let’s not even get into the subject of smart phones.

They say the way to keep young is learning new things. So, I should be taking language lessons, trying out a musical instrument and actually learning what a computer, let alone my iPhone, can do. But I am feeling really obstinate about this advice. I tried taking Spanish lessons at a local night school, and I passed the course, but I just did not feel like pursuing it. Even trying new recipes is no longer much fun. So, I am falling back on what I do know, and doing a bit more of it.

It seems to me that there is renewed interest in the incarceration of Japanese Americans. There’s more literature, films, articles and students who want to know more about it. So I am spending more time talking and Zooming with students from all over the country. In doing this, I feel that I am being my most useful self. In spite of the vast resources available on this subject to any serious student and teacher, the American public is still pretty ignorant, and I think that it is up to us, the survivors and descendants, to talk about our experiences, and to inform the general public on how serious that racist government policy really was, and what it did to our community. I think intergenerational trauma is something that we have come to understand, and we need to address this and talk more openly among ourselves.

Still, there are happy things in our lives, and I am glad that we have them. The Warriors are playing well, and it’s nice to see so many young players on our team. We seem to be getting more rain and snow this year, so maybe drought conditions will ease. Some cuttings from an unusual succulent plant that I got from my sister Shirley in Oceanside have survived, and are thriving. I am working on producing the best galette that I can, and the last one, a pear and blueberry one, turned out nicely. Even the Wakasa monument controversy shows signs of progress, which is a big thing. My kitty, Stephi, is getting fat, and is finally coming around to being a more content being. I have friends and family who are a great comfort. Now, the big question confronting me is, should I renew my driver’s license next year? I think I will try.

Chizu Omori, of Oakland, Calif. is co-producer of the award-winning film “Rabbit in the Moon.” She can be reached at chizuomori@gmail.com. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei News.

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