Keirokai 2021 Part II
The cancellation of the 2021JCCA Keirokai, normally held at the beginning of the year, means we are unable to honour our seniors in person this year. With that in mind, we have created a virtual Keirokai as a way of paying tribute to the elders in our community and in our lives. If you would like to add a short tribute to an elder (or elders) in their life, someone who left a profound mark on you, please send to email@example.com, preferably with a high resolution photograph. It can be a mother, father, grandparent, aunt or uncle, family friend, or mentor. Talk about the special relationship you had, and how that relationship helped shape who you are.
We will publish submissions in upcoming issues of The Bulletin and online. Please note that by submitting you are giving permission to be published.
Happy 100, Stony!
On March 29, Stony will celebrate his 100th year on this earth. At the age of 98, Stony Tsutomu Nakano flew out from Hamilton, ON to take part in the Revelstoke-Sicamous Highway Legacy Sign Unveiling event in Sept. 2018 at Revelstoke. It was a homecoming dear to his heart. As a young man of about 20 when the war broke out, he was forced to work in the roadcamps in treacherous and primitive conditions. A man of few words, he gave a powerful moving speech in which he said, ‘during the years in the camps, he became a man. He never took things for granted as a Canadian.’ As he hugged the Canadian and Japanese government’s representatives with the sun smiling upon him, he felt deep peace in his heart.
To you Stony, we aspire to build on your 100 years of quiet integrity, dignity and strength. Thank you for leading the way. Happy Birthday.
– Laura Saimoto
I’m sure all my siblings would agree that our mother, Sumiko Doi, had the greatest influence on our lives. In her silent way Mom taught us to never give up hope and that society does not owe us; we owe society. These simple mottos led our own lives from a young age to become industrious as we struggled through hard times in adverse environments.
So here are some of the things our Mother did besides nurturing the ten children:
• all Japanese specialty foods (kamaboko, tofu, age, manju, noodles, etc.) were made from scratch…truly home made.
• did all the sewing, mending, darning and turning old clothes into something different. She bought raw wool and made futons. I still remember helping card the thistle-embedded wool.
• with manual clippers Mom did all (our hair cuts. I had mine cut military style twice a month.
• in the winter Mom would get up several times to check the wood heater for safety and add more fuel. She also made sure the tap water was still running…We dreaded having to unthaw frozen pipes.
• Mom always had a big veggie garden and she always grew everything from seed – seeds that she extracted from her own garden. From seedlings she started inside the house, she would transplant them outside into a makeshift hot house before being finally planted in the garden. She did all the watering, weeding and aerating and used chopsticks to pick up the cut worms inside cabbage leaves. Excess produce was given to the community.
• wild game was another source of food for us. Every bit of the animal was used. Mom helped with the cleaning and she canned some meat mixed with matsutake.
• Mom’s working hours were from very early in the morning till well after midnight; seven days a week; never went on vacations. She walked briskly and rarely asked for help.
• Mom was a small woman, about five feet tall. Always smiling and I never heard her shout or use harsh words to anyone. But this one instance was different… when the government officials came (for the second or third time) to tell her that she would have to leave for Japan or Toronto, Mom was so angry that she told them in no uncertain terms, “we have no money, proper clothing or blankets . . . to go to Toronto would only mean to die there. We are going to stay and die here!” She refused to move. The officials relented and we got to stay.
Mom was definitely the stalwart of the family and nurtured and taught us who we are today.
– George Doi
The Women of Hastings Park
I feel that we have not adequately recognized all those women that were detained in Hastings Park Women’s Building (a.k.a. Livestock Barn).
Unlike the Men’s Building where men easily conversed with strangers and played cards or the Ouija Board, women were shouldered with huge responsibilities, caring for their children and the elderly with no one to discuss matters with. Women were forever concerned about their children’s education and their ultimate destiny. My childhood observation of women at the time was that they all looked shocked and bewildered, walking as though in a daze:
• a woman with a milk bottle was frantically looking for a matron for more milk….a baby was screaming in the distance.
• well after the lights were turned off I would hear bucket noise in the washroom. I visualized a woman washing baby diapers…the candlelight disappears.
• from my bunk bed I saw a tiny elderly woman kneeling on her bed and carefully counting the coins in her purse. She wiped away tears with her dress then emptied her purse and started counting again. A few weeks later I noticed her bed empty and mattress folded. I still wonder were she went.
From my perspective these women were also the stalwarts and I salute them.
– George Doi
One of my monthly pleasures – up until the pandemic hit, of course – is Bulletin mail out day. Those three hours spent in the company of my crew of nisei volunteers, including lunch at Hi Genki, keep me grounded and connected to community. Working at my home office, mostly in isolation, it’s easy to lose touch, so I am grateful for my time with this gang. These photos capture their spirit pretty well, I think. A couple of them have sadly passed on since the lockdown went into affect, and George wasn’t there that day, but these photos always bring a smile to my face. Can’t wait to get together with these folks again!
– John Endo Greenaway