We are halfway through the year and things are finally starting to look up!  We have certainly been in a dark tunnel for quite some time now.  Obviously, it started with the worldwide pandemic and all of the restrictions that followed.  Then we went through our nation’s racial injustice issues (and continue to experience).  More recently, the anti-Asian hate issues have surfaced across the country.  Dark times, indeed.

But more recently, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…and I don’t think it’s a train heading our way!  As of this writing, Santa Clara County has just the “yellow” tier, which indicates minimal spread of the coronavirus and allows for higher capacity limits at indoor businesses. Additionally, there has been some constructive talk nationally about trying to address some of the racial injustice issues.  Hopefully, this talk will turn into actions, but it is a good first step.  The anti-Asian violence issues have also seemingly brought together people from all walks of life throughout the nation.  Locally, there is now a large group of volunteers that regularly stroll the streets of Japantown…just to provide a visible deterrent to potential trouble.  Most of these volunteers are from the surrounding community, not necessarily residents here.  A great example of the community working together!

The Betsuin continues to take the conservative route with regards to reopening.  While the county is in the “yellow” tier, we are operating as if we are in the “orange” tier.  We are now allowing very small services to be held in the Hondo…many families have put funerals and memorial services on hold for the past year.  We are also in discussions about when and how we will reopen all facilities in the future…safely.  As mentioned previously, we will not be having a “normal” Obon again this year.  It is just too soon to host an event for thousands of people.  We will be having another virtual event, so stay tuned for that.  We will also be hosting our annual Baccalaureate service in June.  Congratulations to all of the graduates!  What an incredibly difficult time that you have had to endure, but your future is bright!

We are slowly emerging from the darkness of the tunnel.  Please be patient…we don’t want to let our guard down too soon.  Do your part and get vaccinated as soon as you can.  It’s the single most important thing that everyone in the Sangha can do to help with our reopening!

In Gassho,