This summer is shaping up to be one of the busiest for the Japanese Canadian community. I was honoured to help cut the ribbon for the re-opening event of the Ofuro (Japanese bath) exhibit at Burnaby Village Museum. On my way to the exhibit, I got to see the vintage carousel, and the 1920s-style village that makes up the open air museum. I passed by a blacksmith who was working and talking to the crowds, and I paused to peek in the windows of a bakery exhibit to check out the cake on display.
The Ofuro was a JCCA project for the 1977 Centennial Year, the 100th anniversary of when the first known Japanese immigrant Manzo Nagano came to Canada. An ofuro is a deep tub filled with water and kept hot with a wood-burning heater. The Japanese style of bath is for soaking only, that is, before you get into the tub, you would scrub and wash yourself until you were clean. This is all explained in an interpretative panel next to the exhibit.
Jiro Kamiya was the builder of the bathhouse and ofuro tub, which replicated some of what one would see in rural parts of the province until the 1960s. His son, Frank Kamiya, represented the family, and it was wonderful to see so many members of the family who were able to attend the ceremony. Besides the family and members of the public, there were also some special guests including some from Japan.
Earlier in the week, the city of Burnaby welcomed the mayor and councillors from their sister city of Kushiro, a small city of nearly 200,000 in Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan. I was fortunate to meet with Mayor Hiroya Ebina and some of his representatives at a few events including the Ofuro event.
We are pleased to welcome two summer students who are helping us with our events including our major fundraiser, our annual wild salmon barbeque at Powell Street Festival. Luella Sun is our event coordinator who organized this year’s barbeque. Tammy Lee is an archival assistant who is helping us go through our boxes of documents and materials to ensure we preserve our important GVJCCA and Japanese Canadian history. Both Luella and Tammy were helping out at the barbeque and our community booth so chances are good you would have spotted them if you dropped by the Powell Street Festival.
Our new GVJCCA Japanese Canadian Young Leaders (JCYL) of Vancouver committee is jumping right in and helping with events including the annual Asahi Tribute game in Oppenheimer Park on August 15th. Check out the poster in this edition of The Bulletin Geppo and the new JCYL of Vancouver logo which I am sure you will be seeing around town if you haven’t already. On August 10th, members of the Asahi baseball team including my grandfather will be recognized at a special event at Nat Bailey stadium before the Vancouver Canadians game. Details are listed in the announcement in The Bulletin Geppo.
You may be wondering how to find out about all the Japanese Canadian events that are happening around the Lower Mainland. One way is to make sure you have a subscription to The Bulletin Geppo. Did you know you can choose how you would like to receive it, as a hard copy or electronically? As you have probably discovered by flipping the pages, there are articles about arts, culture, and we list events in our community calendar in the magazine and on the GVJCCA website. Your new & renewal memberships support the GVJCCA and the publication of The Bulletin Geppo.
We welcome our new and regular readers from around the world, and a special acknowledgement of our readers in the Greater Toronto area who are connected to the Greater Toronto chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians. We know that many of our readers have strong ties to the west coast and the Japanese Canadian community. We have heard from our readers about the importance of the preservation of our Japanese Canadian history and culture, and the need to share it with a broader audience. The Bulletin Geppo is one effective tool to educate, inform, and sometimes entertain. Thank you for your support!
As we are preparing for the publication of this edition of The Bulletin Geppo, The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression filed a legal challenge against the omnibus Bill C51. This unconstitutional new law attacks our rights. This law will affect all Canadians, and in particular racialized Canadians like Asian Canadians, Muslim Canadians, and Indigenous peoples, and anyone who speaks up to protect our environment, human rights, and challenges government on their policies. We will be keeping an eye on this charter challenge, and so should you. Also, remember we can all make a difference by speaking out and writing letters to the editor, voting for people who support our rights (for example, voting against Bill C51), and by supporting organizations who are taking a stand.