If you have visited the temple recently, you will see a happy new face. Reverend Etsuko Mikame finally arrived in San Jose on August 16th after a week stay in the IBS Center in Berkeley. We have been awaiting her arrival for so long and finally she is here. If you see her, please introduce yourself to her since, as you know, San Jose Japantown is one of the more friendly neighborhoods in the US. She speaks and understands English so you will not have any problems communication. She comes from a family of ministers, father, brothers and a sister. I didn’t quite get her home city but it is near Hiroshima. Reverend Mikame has the courage of the Wakamatsu Colony. She has come to an unfamiliar country that speaks a different language with many different customs. Please make her feel welcomed.
On August 22, the Coast District Committee meeting was held in Watsonvillle. Dennis Akizuki and Joyce Iwasaki and I were fortunate to have Rick Stambul, president of BCA, join the meeting. We had the pleasure of his company as we provided Rick transportation to and from Watsonville. Rick is originally is from New York where his family worked on a chicken farm. His parents decided to move from the farm to Southern California. He enjoyed his time on the farm and enjoyed his return visits to the farm to see his grandparents during summer vacations. Somewhere along the way, he learned about Buddhism and has become a devoted follower. Rick is concerned about the recent shootings that has plagued the nation. He has been proactive in contacting churches and synagogues where mass shootings have occurred. It seems that the size of the temple, church or synagogue does not determine if it is a target, it can happen anywhere. At the shooting sites, ministers were trying to console their parishioners by taking questions about the shooting. One of the questions to the minister was, “What did you do to prevent the shooting?” The minister’s reply was, “Nothing.” Rick does not want a response of “Nothing” if we are asked the same question. He has asked all Coast District Temples to look into active shooter training. Coincidently, Doug Sawamura, president of Mountain View Buddhist Temple sent an invitation to San Jose Betsuin to join in an Active Shooter Training presented by Homeland Security. We will send a group of about 10 members to the meeting. Unfortunately, training is only held on weekdays so there are many conflicts with work. We will take the training and implement what we learn.
I feel fall is the time for reflection. Spring is for optimism for a prosperous year, summer is when we work and reap our hard work. Fall is the time when things are slowing down before the mad rush of the holidays. The days are still warm but the evenings are cool. Football season is beginning and baseball is winding down. It is a good time to go haka mairi to visit graves of your relatives and lost loved ones. A few weeks ago, I went back home to see my mother. On my way, I stopped at the gravesite of my Tanaka grandparents in Sacramento. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t visited their graves for more than 10 years. I had to send a text my brother to ask for the location of the marker. I wasn’t close to where I remember. After that cemetery, I visited the New Castle cemetery where my dad, Nodohara Ojiichan and Obachan are buried. I hope everyone feels the pleasure of expressing gratitude by visiting the ohaka family member.