Hello everyone, I hope you are all in good health.  We have all heard about the COVID-19 (coronavirus} and the deaths it’s been causing.  We are so lucky to live in the US where the virus spread is kept under strict control with the latest medical technology.  If you haven’t gotten sick, count your blessings and wash your hands as frequently throughout the day.  When you are out and about, restrain from putting dirty fingers to scratch your eyes and nose and for goodness sake, don’t put your fingers in your mouth.  Stay warm, if you see me and if I look like I’ve gained weight, it’s the 4 shirts I wear under my sweatshirt, amazingly, it’s quite comfortable.

By the time you read this, our California primary election should have been completed for both Republicans and Democrats.  If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results. If you didn’t vote in the primary, you still have a voice in the November election.

On February 16, we held “Day of Remembrance” which is to remind ourselves about Executive Order 9066 which Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into effect.  Mass hysteria caused the government to relocate 120,000 Japanese Americans and also 21,000 in Canada and 2,264 from South America.  The living conditions were nothing to write home about. Camps were located in harsh conditions.  Tule Lake mornings were in the mid 20’s and snows were 21” per year.  Manzanita summers soared well over 100 degrees and the fine sand particles found its way into the barracks so everything was covered with dust.  On February 23, we had Films of Remembrance where authors created stories of the incarceration and the injustice to the Japanese community.  The government stated that the barbed wire and the rifles on the stockade was for the protection of the internees and that it was to keep unwanted visitors out but then why were the guns pointed inwards?

On February 23, we held “Films of Remembrance” where five sets of films commemorating the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans in concentration camps.  I hope you had a chance to see one or all five collections.  I have heard that many internees do not want to talk about the camps.  I never remembered a single time when my dad even mentioned relocation camps.  I found out by snooping around old books and found an old yearbook.  Curious, I looked through the pages and saw some football, baseball and basketball being played.  Thumbing through more pages, there I saw my dad at nineteen years of age.  I don’t remember his accomplishments. He may have listed automotive and woodworking but that was it.  He couldn’t include kendo, choir or any other achievements or accomplishments from Japan.  If you didn’t get the whole story from your parents, then you may have been able to get a glimpse of the past from these films.  If you missed them, you may get other chances.  We want to remember and remind people of the injustices that occurred to our families and stand beside people who are being currently oppressed.  We cannot stand by and let the dark part of this country’s history repeat itself.  We have a voice and we should use it to speak out about social injustices.  Remember, “I will protect all who are weaker than myself.”

At the BCA National Council Meeting, I met and talked with other attendees and we agreed that everything has changed and not all for the better.  We spoke about increase in the homeless population, more people are going hungry, bullying, racism and gun violence.  This is not all but enough don’t you think?  As the outgoing BCA President Rick Stambul stated, “We must do all we can to keep the environment around our sangha as safe as possible.”  We will apply for an assessment by Homeland Security and the assessment is free.  From the assessment, we can request for governmental funds to improve the situation, for free.  You can’t beat that.

I’ve heard many Ojiichan and Obachans would scold young help because they did not get the perfection, they expect in whatever they were being helped with.  Well, would you come back to help if your best effort is frowned upon?  Remember, “I will be kind and gentle to every living thing,” including our temple members.  Please encourage them to continue to come back and help.

Lastly, we continue to push for our 100 new member per year goal and we need everyone’s help to attain this goal.  We need families to step up and discuss membership with their children.  My dad speaking to me to join the temple made it clear that I was on my own and I had to make a decision whether to become an active BCA member.  To me it was an easy choice.  Please help to direct your children in the right path.

Please keep healthy and safe,

In Gassho

Ed Nodohara