Why Tule Lake matters

In this post-Trump, post-Stephen Miller era where social media has brought to the fore the systemic racism that permeates U.S. society, it is time to see Tule Lake for what it was. Tule Lake had nothing to do with loyalty or disloyalty. That’s just government propaganda, perpetuated by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). What […]

Folding the origami crane

It is belie(ved) that if you fold 1,000 origami cranes one’s wish will come true. It takes hours to fold that many and string them on a streamer. The crane is also considered to live 1,000 years. It symbolizes good fortune, longevity and peace, and represents hope and healing … during such challenges, especially the […]

Tips for navigating Japanese learning online

Learning Japanese is hard. Unlike English there are multiple alphabets plus character sets. Online learning can make what would normally be challenging seem overwhelming. Don’t despair, a few tips gleaned from experience can reduce the stress of learning Japanese. The default technology, Zoom, is far from a friction free learning environment. Let’s start by taking […]

My tsuru

I am a member of Tsuru for Solidarity. I am not an activist, nor am I a trained artist, but I have painted 12 large tsuru (paper cranes) of various sizes. I paint because it gives me pleasure and a way to express myself. Last year, like many Japanese Americans, I began by folding hundreds […]

The virtual Nikkei

To call this past year “unprecedented” is the understatement of all understatements. But as we noted in the commentary at the onset of the pandemic — “Navigating the new normal” (March 26, 2020) — “we are a resilient community, which fought racist immigration laws, endured our wartime incarceration and rebuilt our lives from scratch after […]

A life lesson from John Lennon, in Japantown

Sadness and sorrow. Dec. 8 was the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Here’s my story on meeting him: I was a young teen in the summer of 1973, hanging out at Paper Tree, when in walks John and Yoko. They smiled at my folks as they wandered through the store, bought some postcards, then […]

The Census is about our past and future

Many have come to understand that by participating in the Census, you are shaping the future — ensuring your community has the resources and representation it deserves for the next 10 years. As the deputy director of statewide initiatives for the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office, I have learned professionally how this aspect […]

Cupertino holds two bell ringing events for peace

In 1945, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was devastating, killing tens of thousands. However, the U.S. and Japan have since formed a strong connection. In observance of 75 years of peace with Japan, Sister Cities International and Cupertino-Toyokawa Sister Cities, Inc. organized a virtual bell ringing for peace Webinar Aug. […]

Japantown’s Peace Plaza — A chance to heal

Shattered tiles, forced removal and broken promises. To those unfamiliar with San Francisco Japantown, some might think that the Peace Plaza is just another open space in the city. But the cold, hardscape of the current design, is an unremarkable feature of a neighborhood that has never truly healed from the tragic history surrounding the […]

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 […]

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