Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco

Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco
Information Source for the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center

Friday, September 9, 2011

I learned three things during my internship.
First, Planning carefully before I start to work on a project.
Second, We should listen and stay true to our supervisor directions, But still have our own creative vision.
Third, Make people happy.
Those ideas will be extremely useful in my career, I think. I also realized one more important idea which is to always be thankful to the people I work with.    

At NJAHS, I met many people who have shown me kindness they were always helpful to me. In the beginning, I couldn't communicate well with NJAHS staff because of my poor English skills. But even when I can't express my idea in English they tried to understand and helped me so that I was able to express my thoughts, feelings and ideas. So, I appreciate them for all their help. It is just too great to describe in words.

I'm happy that I go to work and build relationships with NJAHS staff and coming to the U.S.

I'll be back to SF and NJAHS one day !!!

Tsuyoshi Inoue        -Intern from Japan-
 I did an internship at NJAHS for five weeks. Before coming here, I was not excited enough to do internship at NPO because my hope was to do internship at business company. However, this internship gave me lots of challenging tasks, which made my internship more satisfying.

 The most interesting and toughest task I did was creating a presentation at university. I learned about how to make presentations at my university in Japan though this was my first time to make presentation in front of native english speakers. I tried to think about what they will be interested in through our presentation to make sure they will listen to it. When we did our presentation, most of the audience listened intently. Also I was able to make them laugh during my presentation. I was really satisfied with the results.

 During internship here, the most interesting and meaningful things that I learned was human relationship. Based on my friend's story, when you work at business situation, most of your task will be based on computer. However, at NPO, our work will be fundamentally based on human relationships.  I had lots of opportunities to talk with many diverse people, for example, professor, university students, photographer and senior citizen. I found it really interesting to communicate with people and I hope I can get a job where I can meet many kinds of people.

In the end, I can definitely say this internship influenced my future career. I would like to say thank you to all the people who helped me doing internship, including my supervisor Rachel and boss Rosalyn.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Last Ever Day at NJAHS

This is it! Here we are, on the last day at NJAHS. Final project, and now ninterns give yourself a pat on the shoulder. Its been fun, learned so much, and met much people. At least I know when I leave here, I left with something extra. I remember it was just the first day and I was shaking Rachel's hand. Now its at the end point where we soon will say our goodbyes. On to our last point with the video project of how to use 20$ in Japantown, we filmed our parts enjoying every little bit of it, and now just gotta put everything together. Memories built, new bonds, and new experiences. Make the last of it. Wooot feels like graduation. And so on..

Hanging with the other interns

Yesterday was intern day. For intern day, the Nikkei Community Interns got together and wnet around japantown. We got a tour by Steve Nakajo of japantown "back in the day" which was cool. He talked about how all the houses in the neighborhood were Japanese owned. We worked on our dance routine for the closing luncheon. Then we were served bento for lunch. All in all, it was a very relaxed day, but it was good to see everyone.

Ken Matsueda
NJAHS Intern

final day for high school interns

Today is their last day! Boo hoo!!! To celebrate we're gonna get our 20 dollars in Japantown video done. Woot woot, can't wait to watch the final product, it'll be pretty fantastic.It's been great, since Alvin is talking about me and Ken, I'll talk about him and the other interns.

Alvin: It was a pleasure working with you, you bring energy and excitement to NJAHS. Thank you for all of your hard work, punctuality, cooperation. You definitely are a great worker and have an AMAZING personality.

Eric: Thank you so much for being a great listener and worker. I really hope you got something out of this internship, I know at times you felt like you didn't, but just take a moment to think about all that happened this summer. You performed in front of 300+ kids, conducted a tour of Japantown, made a movie in 3 days, and learned how to budget $20 dollars and documented it. You should be very proud of yourself, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Luis: You are an incredibly dedicated worker, it doesn't go unnoticed. You are a self starter and won't give up until a project is done, even if it requires extra time. You have proven resilient even when our projects got turned upside down. Thanks Luis for being a loyal and dedicated intern.


Thank You NJAHS

Today is the last day of my internship at NJAHS. In my time in NJAHS, I have learned and did many new things. I performed in the Yosakoi Concert in front of hundreds of kids, gave a tour in Japantown, and made a movie about myself. I worked with two college interns, Ken Matsueda and Alison Sunahara, and worked with two other high school interns like myself, Eric Liu and Luis Lin. I also worked with Rachel Inouye and Rosalyn Tonai, my supervisors. It was great working with everyone in NJAHS because it wouldn't have been fun without them. They all taught me something and I want to thank everybody in NJAHS for everything. I'll always remember and cherish the memories I had with them.

-Alvin Tan

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Making a video

$20 budget to spend in Japantown. What can you do that won't make you go bankrupt? The interns and I made a video to let people know a way to spend time in Japantown with a reasonable budget. We went to Yakini Q, we danced across the street, and took pictures by the Osaka Castle. So we learned that there is a lot to do that is not that expensive.

Ken Matsueda
NJAHS Intern

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

20 dollars a day in Japantown

Yesterday was the start of our final project, $20 a day in Japantown. This is a great last project that seems like it'll be a lot of fun to do with the guys. We figured out what we're gonna buy and from where. We developed the script and budget, so today when Max Nihei gets in we will start filming. This is going to be a lot of fun.

I am also excited to go visit the places, yesterday we went into many stores and checked out a few things. We went into YakiniQ on Post St. it is a Korean cafe that is inspired by French cuisine. So Luis and I were in there looking around and I think it was the owner who was really helpful and friendly. I asked her about what is good and popular here, she said the matcha latte is good and their original sweet potato latte?!?!? Yes, you heard me right, it is a sweet potato puree with cream and all that good stuff mixed together for pure goodness. I got a free sample and boy I got it yesterday, but I'm still hyped up about it. Plus the interior is so peaceful and relaxing. It was a really nice place that I would love to hang out at. The only thing is, it opens at 11 am, which is so incredibly late for me. But if I am ever in Japantown late at night, there is a good bet it'll still be open because it closes at 10pm. So I'm excited to go back today.


The Final Week

Time has passed and its the last week at NJAHS being a nintern. Its been fun and a enjoyable experience. We are on our last part on our duty, and that is making a 20$ video in Japantown. Its basically us ninterns explaining a way to conserve and use a minimum amount of money on materials or anything that might be usful to anyone. We're doing our script, rehearsing, and now we're prepapring the last event. At the end, we''ll see our accomplishments and what we've gained being in NJAHS.

- Eric

The Time We Script Our Own Video

Written at 8/2/2011 11:05AM

Currently it's Day Two of our video project. We are trying to make a video about how we can spend $20 during a trip in Japantown. This is going to be exciting because we plan our video better than last years and be the first one to exceed our expectations. You better be ready for this and hope you enjoy it. Busy planning at the moment.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

Journey into Japantown

Yesterday August 1st, me and the other interns at NJAHS were given the opportunity to explore Japantown. Our assignment was to go around and see what activities can be done in Japantown for a budget of $20. We visited the Paper Tree, we went to Yakini Q and we looked at the doughnut food at the shops in the mall. It was a lot of walking but I personally enjoyed hanging out and creating ideas for our video.

Ken M.
NJAHS Intern
We begin to make our videos to show people how to spend under 20 dollars in a day while at Japantown. First we begin to plan out the script and roles. We go to the stores to see what items we can purchase and what seems the best for the viewers. We want to include activities, foods, and crafts in our video. This video is made for the attention of people to come to Japantown and have fun with just under 20 dollars.


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Time We Began Our Revolutionary Tour

Written at 7/29/2011 6:35PM

So this is it, our tours are now officially open. We welcome anyone that have an interest in Japanese American history and their culture. I'm sure my specially design poster with tabs can attract tourist and Alison's design can be seen at the window. This will create opportunities to test out what we learned so far at NJAHS and educate the masses. Lets Do It!

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

Japantown community

Yesterday July 31st, was the BNP which stands for Better Neighborhood Plan. This meeting was set to start at 12:30pm. I made it but I was late. I think that made it kind of difficult. But there was food, I saw my uncle, and I learned about how Japantown is trying to figure out which businesses to keep and which ones should go. I learned that the BNP is trying to make Japantown an SUD meaning a Special Use District. This would make the area affordable for seniors and college kids. All in all, it seemed like a lot of people were dedicated to making Japantown thrive.

Ken Matsueda (Intern)

Tours around Japantown

Hey guys, so we posted flyers for our tours of Japantown. We are free this week to give tours, so if you are interested call NJAHS. Luis made an amazing looking poster with pull tabs. I made a generic one for looking at. We will see what happens this week. Also in other news, look out for our $20 a day video. We will be working on it this week.

As for last week, we finished our DVDs from the digital storytelling project. It went really well, I am proud of my video. Roz says we will be debuting it in the New People movie theatre on August 14. I am so excited for it!!!

So it is the high school interns' last week. I'm very sad that we're nearing the end. This was a great experience and I really hope they got a lot out of it as well. We did a lot since our start, I really hope they got a good experience out of this and learned new skills.

Yesterday, Ken and I attended the BNP meeting in the JCCCNC. It was an interesting meeting. It was all older people either nisei or sansei and a lot of them have strong voices. I feel like I wasn't ready to voice my "youth" perspective. I notice a lot of older generation people have strong opinions, but I think to get the younger generations into Japantown, you need to ask the younger gen what brings them into their favorite places. then take that aspect and bring it into Japantown. On the notes, I mentioned that we need a youth council, it will provide the youth with leadership and give them a voice. The older gens need to be supportive of them and help them, not tell them what to do and how to do it. They need to mentor or be parents to this youth council.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Finishing Our Duties as Ninterns

So today, the day is slow on the last day of the week. We just finished our video project and turned it into a dvd for other to see, all thanks to Lina Hoshino for this opportunity. Then there is John Henry who sponsors us NJAHS for events and thanks to him , we wouldn't have experience any of this. So NJAHS show our thanks and appreciation to all those who supported and worked with NJAHS. We finished our tours with the college interns that was with Ken and Allison, which made it easy for a first tour, then there would be our 2nd one with the Aim High kids where Alvin is also from. We even finished our youtube video of the event/concert we did with the 300 kids about Japanese culture. That was fun. After all our efforts at NJAHS, there was a pizza party for us. How lovely. So now we're trying to make posters and fliers to advertise for the next tour. Following up there is going to be an event on Aug. 14 at New People known as the J-Pop center. As our day ends, our time at NJAHS is slowly ending. All the fun and experience here, hope to finish our duties as NJAHS's ninterns.

- Eric

The Time We Combine Our Work Force

Written at 7/27/2011 6:35PM

Today we got a lot done. We finally finish the video of us preforming to Mo Magic, made awesome fliers to attract tourists, and receive a pizza party. Remember the times when we ninterns had given this tour to Aim High.Well, Rachael gave us a pizza party today for that. While we were eating, Max grandfather came in, his name was Ken Nihei. So we also invited him to join us. Ken suddenly pop out a question asking does he have any stories during his time at war. We all got surprised when Ken Nihei told us what happen during his fight in European land digging foxholes. Mr. Nihei also mention how he used to collect pistols back then and he had like 10, but he can only keep one when the war was over. So he gave the rest to other veterans. Mr. Nihei talked about how he like to hunt ducks during his life in Wyoming. I like hearing these stories and I also like to collect pistols of my own.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

The Time We Present Our Tour to Aim High

Written at 7/22/2011 5:48PM

Today was the time when our group's finally ready to present our Japanese Cultural Heritage Walking Tour. Too bad Alvin wasn't here today due to his Aim High program. The tour went smoothly but our plan to line people up were a mess. Now we learn to make people line up or stay away from doors and other passengers way. Also the leader of Aim High got everyone some Manju and Rosalyn's daughter was passing out fortune cookies to the group.Here are some pictures of everyone getting lectured from the tour. You can look at them above since I took these photos. I learned how to be more clam and relief during our tour.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

San Jose Community

Yesterday, me and the Nikkei Community interns went down to San Jose Japantown to meet with the community. We first went to NBC 11 to talk to Mike Inouye. He was the weather man. He was nice and gave us tips like jump on opportunities and it helps to know people when you go out into the work force. After meeting with Mike, we went to the San Jose Japantown community center. There we ate sandwiches with some of the interns and staff. After lunch we went to get shaved ice and talked with Tamiko Rast at Roys Station. Roy's Station is a cafe that was started recently. It was originally a two pump gas station but during redevelopment, it was a necessity to upgrade to having more gas pumps. The day was pretty busy, and we were moving a lot but in the end, I felt like I learned a lot.

Ken Matsueda (Intern)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

World Perspectives.

Today was a normal day. We worked on a video to put on Youtube, made some fliers, and wrote thank yous to our sponsers. Last Friday, July 22nd we gave a tour for some middle school students. Because it went so well, we were given a pizza party. We thought the pizza party was going to be the only surprise of the day but then somebody special marched in.

Max Nihei's grandfather Ken Nihei came in to visit Max. He sat down and drank tea while we sat around him. I bluntly asked him "Hey Mr. Nihei, do you have any war stories that you may want to share with us?" I expected some heroic story about how he fought a long battle against the Nazis. What he said was a little different. He told us a story about how he was in a forest in Europe and he had to dig a trench. There was a bunch of new guys who were added to the unit. They were told to dig a trench. When the Nazi soldiers began shelling, one of the new guys got hit. The guy was screaming and he tried to tie up his leg but the bandages kept falling off. In the morning, the guy was dead. Hearing the story made me very sad. Mr. Nihei said that they did not even know his name. It was sad but Mr. Nihei talked about going hunting when he was living in Wyoming and teaching Max how to shoot. In the end it was a good talking to a man from an intense time in history.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video Making

Making a personal video in 3 days only was very stressful. It was so rushed because we only got one chance to record voices and take pictures. The most difficult thing was thinking of the script and then editing it. It took more than 7 hours a day and we were all focused on the computers. It got tiring and boring just sitting down on my seat and eyes on the computer. When I was finished, it felt great because it was finally over and I just made my first ever own video! After completing the video, we all shared our videos with each other. Everybody did a great job on their video, but we aren't finished just yet because now, we have to put them together.


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Time We Have Three Days To Create a Flim

Written at 7/20/2011 8:25PM

The day was bright and shine, it was 3 days of handwork that us ninterns have to go through to bring out ourselves to our video. I truly wanted to express myself in a digital story telling and Lina manage to help us do so. She guided us step by step on the process of creating a perfect documentary of ourselves. On the first day we saw examples of Lina Hoshino's work and the people she taught. Then we got some time to create our scripts and voice over for day two.Day three went really quick with editing work and finally we proudly got to show our videos to our co workers and supervisors. The day went great even thought we took longer than we thought.I learned about myself and try to uncover what I done with my friends in Japantown during the past. I cant wait to show my video at Aug. 14 at the theater of New People.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

An artistic vision

Making a movie was a great experience. We gathered pictures, we made voice over, and we used transitions. It was difficult because it took so much time to edit the films but in the end it was worth the time. We learned how to persevere. Creating a film was a great experience because it allowed me to create a story about my life. It allowed me to express myself.

Ken Matsueda (NJAHS Intern)

Making Our Movie

This week was an important week.  Had to wake up earlier and get to work earlier.  We were doing a project with a woman name Lina Hoshino.  She is a professional Japanese American that specializes in documentary movie.  She was teaching us how to make our own digital story movie.  Its short but takes a lot of work.  Voice recording, pictures, organizing, syncronizing, and producing was all part of it.  With this me and my co-workers were learning a new skill.  It felt like school all over again, because doing a rough draft, like an essay, then having Lina check it over, like what a teacher does at school.  In the end, we had fun, learned new skills, and produced a movie in about 5 days.  Hopefully something like this shows up again.


Friday, July 15, 2011

The importance of our tours

We did our first official tour of Japan Town yesterday. I thought it went really well. In attendance we had the NCI Nor Cal group, Rachel's father, and Barbara (a high school teacher from Florida). It went really well, it was interactive, educational, and everyone made a great point about how redevelopment and social injustices still need justice. Redevelopment caused the Japan Town community to change drastically. Social injustices such as the Korematsu case, internment, and even the Peruvian Japanese's loss of homeland, life, and family need to come to justice. Our tour is to show that we need to learn from the past in order to make a better today. We need to fix our mistakes AND prevent injustices from happening again. This tour is important, people coming to Japan Town or anyone for that matter need to know this. So it is important that we show everyone so they will know that it isn't just about my rights or your rights, it involves everyone to work together because we need to live together or die alone.

Japantown tour

Japantown, home of the Spam Musubi, fortune cookie, and ramen restaurants. Recently, me and the interns at the National Japanese American Historical Society gave a tour to some of the Nikkei Community Internship interns. It started out shaky because there were a lot of cars so it was hard to hear what people said. It turned out o.k though because we said what was important and engaged the audience. Some of the people went into Benkyodo and bought some Manju. I was able to convey the message of knowing the law so that you can prevent injustices from happening. So in the end, the tour was a success.

-Ken Matsueda (Intern at NJAHS)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Time We Discover The Hidden Meanings of Chinatown's Alleyways and The Rise of I-Hotel

Written at 7/12/2011 10:25PM

Woo, today I'm extremely activated, due to the tour I will get at Chinatown. So I got up and stuff, ran out from my apt. door all the way to the Intersection of Market and Sutter St. (and yes, I actually ran 45 mins. and didn't ride the bus to save fares). Ken sat at some fancy cafe chairs waiting for Rachael and I didn't notice the whole time. Since I was searching for Rachael's car driving to pick us up any moment. Ken saw my orange backpack and wondered "Hey, isn't that Luis?" and came to greet me. We both met up and eventually met Rachael that came from a muni/bart stop, then I was like "ehhhh" since I thought she was picking us up with her car. So we went to get Cha Siu Bao (Cantonese barbecue pork buns, but I didn't get any), Ken and Rachael liked it. We arrived at the meeting spot of the tour too early, so Rachael got a coffee from a built-in coffee chain from a hotel. When that was finished, we met up with the rest of the group include the tour guide of Chinatown Alleyways, Wendy Chen. She had us introduced ourselves and started the tour from the center of Chinatown's Portsmouth Square to the alleyways and ended at the Cameron House.Wendy knew her tour facts
really well so we had a great experience learning about the alleyways. I learned so much interesting facts like how Chinese people got creative with numbers like 4+4=8, the number 4 meant to die but if you add then together it turns to 8,which means luck and prosperity. The fortune cookie I tired was so good that I hope I can find this alley way again. We ended the tour with lunch at San Sun Restaurant and a visit to the International Hotel. The building was surprising remodeled to suit low-incoming housing needs and an exhibit was provided for us to see the artworks of a Filipino American artist. We got a mini tour from the nice guy at the front desk and eventually went back to NJAHS headquarters. The good food we had made Eric and Ken sleepy but I truly enjoyed this tour and I planned to use some of Wendy's skills as a tour guide on Thursday. Well, good night.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

The Time We Experiences Pete's Past During The Fall of I-Hotel

Written at 7/11/2011 9:25PM

Today was Monday and we were supposed to be prepared for tomorrow's tour of Chinatown Alleyways. My fellow ninterns and I watched KRON 4 News point of view of Japantown. The lady news reporter went to interview places like Soko Hardware, Benkyodo, JCCCNC, and so on. I gained some knowledge of those locations and I really want to try Benkyodo's manju and mochi. Well, since we will visit the I-Hotel (International Hotel) tomorrow, our group decided to watch The Fall of I-Hotel. The International Hotel was built around 1907 right after the earthquake in 1906, around the existing Manilatown back then. The documentary's way of depicting the story had made me cried a little, linking my emotions to the Filipino and Chinese senior citizens that actually lived at the I-Hotel back then. I understood the way the tenants were trapped to live there due to low cost of rent around $50 per month. But then I can't believe how The Four Season Corporation made no acknowledgement toward the seniors that lived there, instead they used all sorts of ways to evict them. The brutal police that used violence to drag off the senior tenants and their use of baton had scared many protesters that defended against this unjust treatment. Eventually the hotel got demolished and it became a empty lot for many years. Well the good part was that Chinatown Community Development Center brought the air rights to the land and decided to construct a low-cost residential place that contained 105 apartments and 8000 application submissions to apply for made me realize how important low-cost housing for the seniors were. Later our team interview Pete about his times during his stay at the I-Hotel. Pete told his story and eventually he cried a little too, I tried to hold my tears as well, knowing that this horrible event wounded the seniors that lived there and the protesters that struggled for the seniors. Pete mentioned his best friends that taught him where to get the best groceries and life supplies, which made this a unforgettable moment for him. We should learn how to treasure the times we have now and fight for any inhumane activities around our lifetimes. I will personally like to thank Pete for his time sharing his memories with us and your continues support for us. Thank you.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

On July 12th, we had a tour in Chinatown. Our tour guide was also an intern like us. Her name was Wendy Chen and I recognize her before from my Chinese school. Knowing her made it more fun and easy to talk. She toured us through alleyways and the heart of Chinatown, Portsmouth. I learned the histories of buildings, chinese traditions, inventions, and the community of Chinatown. I learned a lot and the tour guide was really smooth and clear. It was good touring experience from going to the tour, and I will use what I learned on my tour tomorrow!



Yesterday July 12, we took a trip to Chinatown San Francisco. It was really interesting. We took walked down the alleyways, in the alleyway you could hear the sounds of Mah Jong being played and I got to taste a fresh fortune cookie being made. What I did not know was that the fortune cookie was originally created by a Japanese American in San Francisco. It was interesting to know that Portsmouth park was like the living room for the Chinese men to hangout. I asked our tour guide why Chinese are coming into the US. She said that it was because of the economic situation in China. All in all it was a very good experience.

Ken Matsueda (intern at National Japanese American Historical Society)

The Chinatown Tour : The Alleys

Waking up at like 10 in the morning, I rushed up and got ready because today is the day for my first Chinatown tour. Even though I lived in Chinatown my whole life, I really never learned the history of my hometown. Early morning, I first meet up with the crew, Ken, Luis, Alvin, Allison, and Rachel. Of course the tour guide was there too. We met up at a place called Portsmouth Park, which was the center and heart of Chinatown. Chinatown is an amazing place to tour and to experience new knowledge. Starting our tour, while Wendy, our tour guide, was crushing knowledge into our minds, I was looking around and realized I only knew so little. Every alley had their part in history, and every place we stopped at is a new experience. Hear a lot of mahjong playing, everybody eating dim sum, and yum cha-ing. Many changes have happened all around Chinatown, but there are still things like the old days, like when all the old people everyday gather together at the heart of Chinatown and play cards. Well anyone should give it a try and look around Chinatown for themselves and experience the joy of the Chinese ways.

- Eric

China Town Tour

Yesterday we went on a tour of China Town. It was really interesting because I did not know there was an official tour. So I got to learn about China Town's famous alleyways and its history. It was interesting to learn about Asian's fight for equal school systems. The history books discuss African Americans' fight and struggles, but I never learned about Asian history in my elementary and middle schools. In high school, I learned a little about World War II and the Japanese, but not as much as Civil War and Civil Rights.

Another interesting fact, which by the way is mentioned in the Japan Town tour is that the fortune cookie is actually a Japanese American invention. The inventor was Makoto Hagiwara, proprietor of the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. So the theory is that when the Japanese were in internment camps, the Chinese adopted the fortune cookie and gave them out as dessert, so they were able to popularize it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

First Tour Much?

Today was supposed to be my first tour.  Felt a little nervous because I wasn't fully prepared, well and I dropped my script too... When the kids arrived, I was like ok "lets just do this" it was already lights camera action!  The first thing we did was introduce ourselves to the kids, teachers, and parents.  We were supposed to be ready to answer questions and be the one to ask questions, and while the whole experience, I figured and hope that I'll be able to do a tour next time with no hesistation.  The whole time while seeing Rachel and Ras doing the talking, I was noticing different things like how the questions were asked and how thoroughly they spoke about the history of Japan Town.  Everything went great, the kids had a great time, I had a great time, learned new things, and hopefully the kids left this field trip with some new knowledge.  

- Eric

The Time We Experiences Irene Hoshizaki's Memories and Sushi Making

Written at 7/7/2011 10:25PM

I want to share our day at NJAHS since I can't sleep right now. Too excited to think about what's going to happen tomorrow. Well, let me explain what happen so you get an idea of what I'm talking about. Today everything went smoothly as I can recall. When I went in to work, I was unexpected of my fellow ninterns setting up recording equipment. Now that I can recall that we're suppose to interview Irene Hoshizaki, Alison
Sunohara's grandmother, Ken and I learned how to set up and function the video recorder and the stand up lights from Max. The interview started right at 11:30AM.So I experience how Ms.Hoshizaki past were like as a Japanese American and how she became who she was today.I found her life very interesting and it gain me experience to prepare for my future. When the interview was over at 12:30PM, we thanked Ms.Hoshizaki for coming over today. As soon as that was over, it's time to put away the equipment and clean up the table so we can learn how to make sushi from Rosalyn. First,Rosalyn taught us how to make nigiri sushi and she also taught us how sushi were an important food from Japan. The three characteristic of Japanese cuisine were taste, presentation and color. After that we made futomaki, rolled up sushi. My roll looked very unpleasant but Rosalyn taught me to slice my roll with perfection. When we as ninterns were done making sushi, we finally get to savor the flavor while Rosalyn was making onigiri, handmade rice ball. Oishii!!! When we're done eating, we were preparing for tomorrow's walking tour since about 20 people from the East Bay about Japantown and the hardship of Japanese American history. The good thing was that Rosalyn got our backs and had us all planned out. Now I felt confident to take on this challenge. Well I hope the day comes by faster. Good night. Oyasumi.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

JACL National Conference

This past weekend, the NCI Interns went to LA to see Little Tokyo and attend the JACL conference. It was very interesting to see the community in LA. Seeing the thriving community of Japanese Americans made me feel like I had a place where I belonged. 

In Little Tokyo it seemed like there was a lot going on. In the area in front of the JACCC, there was a lot of boxes so it seemed like there was some kind of evacuation going on. In the area around, there were restaurants and cafes. When I was looking at colleges, I had been looking into music conservatories. I had thought about applying to the Colbourn School of Music so I was surprised to see the Colbourn Dance Institute located in the same building as the JACCC.

On Thursday, July 7th, we interviewed Irene Hoshizaki, a Japanese American and Alison's grandma. We interviewed her because she experienced the internment camp during World War II. Irene told us her life experience like her challenges and obstacles she faced. The interview was interesting, but it took about a hour.

After the interview, we learned how to make sushi. Ros taught us how to make sushi if you are hungry and just have scrap. First, we get leftover rice and soften them with vinegar. We mush up the rice into a rectangular shape. Then, we put scrap, like fish or vegetables, on top of the rice and wrap it up with seaweed. The sushi was really good, but I didn't eat the wasabi or vegetable because it was too spicy.


Interview with my grandmother

On Thursday we interviewed my grandmother. She was born in San Francisco on Geary Street in Japan Town and was sent to Heart Mountain internment camp during the war. I felt that she was a good person to interview because after the war, she moved to Chicago and finally settled in Los Angeles. So she has a good understanding of the Japanese American communities. One of the interesting points about my grandmother that I learned was that she went to an elementary school that didn't have many Japanese Americans. So when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, her family pulled her out so she wouldn't face any discrimination. But it was unfortunate that she didn't get a full education. In the camps she got a watered down education and graduated; it makes me feel so fortunate to have gotten a full education growing up. I got to take music classes, economics, and anatomy and physiology. While in college, I have compared myself to others and I felt like I didn't get a very good education. I didn't have a robotics club or a biotechnology club, but in perspective I feel like I've gotten an education that makes my grandmother proud of me. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Time We Present NJAHS To Mo Magic And The Crowd

Written at 7/6/2011 1:46 PM

Yesterday was by far the best time I had of my life! I can't believe we essentially presented ourselves to the crowd as National Japanese American Historical Society ninterns(our way of calling our selves interns). I can even recall how our group of interns worked so hard to develop a presentation outline in only two days!We may have forgotten to include some important details or share more of our work experiences working in NJAHS, but we still managed to conquer our fears and overcome our stage jitters quickly and smoothly.

Well, the day was July 5, right after Independence Day. Before my fellow ninterns Alvin, Eric and I were sweeping the floors of the Peace Plaza and near the stage at the Peace Pagoda, there was a lot of trash and we were in throws of rewriting our script but we managed to clean up the trash while Ken and Alison rephrased the script. By the time we finished sweeping, it was time to set up the sound systems and equipment. We were completely done and well set up. It was time to begin, so we started with Ken and Alison as the main hosts of our presentation. We introduced ourselves and I was surprised how I got to be favored by the crowd of kids with my loud exciting voice. Then Ken started to talk about the history of Japan Town and ask d the kids what the word nihon-machi means. The kids came up with different answers like hello friend, how are you, little friend, etc. and Ken managed to correct them by replying with the answer, which is Japan Town. Alison even taught the crowd what does issei, nisei, and sansei mean and introduced Dr. Wesley Ueunten, the Sanshin player and Francis Wong the Jazz musician. They played around 4 songs and the 4th song, the kids started dancing with us. Finally ,we presented Dr.Iwabuchi who showed us how to perform the fishermen's dance, Yosakoi. The crowd learned amazingly fast and so did our steps ,which made Yosakoi possible. So we ended with happy and joyful kids showing what they learn today. I can't wait for this to happen again! Thank you for everyone who made this event possible.

- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)

Mo Magic presentation

Yesterday, July 5th, we had our J Town cultural presentation. There were students from all over San Francisco that came to the event. It was a presentation to teach kids about the injustices and adversity that the Japanese Americans had to face while living in America. 

During the performance we had some trouble. The sound system cut out, the professor who was supposed to teach the dance did not show up, and the students were getting antsy. Our supervisor Roz told Alison that she would have to lead the dance by herself. Luckily, one of the interns found the dance teacher and he was able to teach. 

I had to open the performance. I asked them what J Town meant and they answered "Japantown!". The students were well behaved. I talked a lot about Japanese American history but even with all the information, every time I asked a question, the students would raise their hands and answer. When we had the dance, the young kids and the high school students got up and danced.

It was a great experience. I was very happy that everything worked out. Everyone worked together and we came out with a good presentation. I did not expect to talk so I was surprised when Roz told me I had to open the presentation. Afterwards I was exhasuted but I feel like I gained a whole lot of experience leading a production.

Ken Matsueda
On Tuesday, July 5th, there was the Yosakoi Concert at Peace Plaza. It was my first major event since I started my internship at NJAHS. We had a script planned out and rehearsed before the show. I worked with the interns and special guest Francis Wong, Weslie Ueunten, and Yasushi Iwabuchi. Before setting up, we had to set the stage and clean up. The Peace Plaza was such a mess. Luis, also an intern for NJAHS, cleaned up with me. After we were done, the trash smelled like cigarettes. It was worth cleaning because the plaza looked so nice after. When everything was set up and rehearsal was finish, it was time for the concert. But lunch first!

The audience gathered around the stage and sat patiently for the show to begin. We started off with an introduction of the interns and I. I made my introduction short and quick because I was nervous of public speaking and I never talked in front of an audience before. Then Ken and Alison took the stage. They talked about the history of Japan and also taught the audience some Japanese words. The crowd seemed a little tired, but when the guest performers played their music, everybody started dancing. The audience got up on their feet and danced to the music. They even got up on stage and danced in front of everybody. Everybody was so hyper, so we concluded the concert with a dance. We taught the audience the Yosakoi dance and it ended with fun and excitement. The concert went well overall, but it was tough being on stage and practicing. I learned some history about Japan, and learned some Japanese words too. It was educational and fun!

- Alvin Tan , intern

Mo Magic Event

Yesterday was our concert with Mo Magic. We had Francis Wong and Wesley Ueunten do a jazz performance. Francis played the sax and Wesley did an awesome job singing and playing the sanshin (an Okinawan string instrument instrument). So it was great mixing the two styles, it really gave the idea that we can work well together even if we come from different backgrounds. It was a true intermixing of cultures.

We also had Dr. Yasushi Iwabuchi a researcher at UC Berkley teach everyone yosakoi- yosakoi is a Japanese dance. It was totally awesome and the kids really got into it. It was tons of fun and we video taped it so I'll post a link to YouTube when it gets put up. The interns and I will be editing the footage today and tomorrow, but our goal is to get it up before Friday. So check for updates you guys!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Muslim Community Center

Wow what a day. BART was delayed. Hundreds of people were packed onto the platforms. I almost got hit by a rushing car while driving home with my mom. All in one day.

The day started out tough. I usually get up at 7:20am to go to work. Today, I had to be at Daly City Bart station at 9am. I live in Berkeley so I had to get up at around 6:20.

At CAIR( Council on American-Islamic Relations) we met with the Director and the interns. I never really have been close with a Muslim so it was interesting to get to know them. A lot of them were first or second generation students. They worked at the non - profit organization CAIR which provided assistance to people with civil liberty problems. There was a center that provided a support system to help muslims in the community. In the community center there were two rooms for praying, a school for all students including non-muslims, and even a restaraunt. They said that during the weekends, hundreds of people come to hangout.

All in all it was a very nice experience. I felt it was cool to see a community that is very close knit. It is sad that news only portrays the chaos and terrorist attacks. The Muslim American community has a lot to offer people.

CAIR field trip

Today we went to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Santa Clara, CA. It was super interesting hearing everyone's stories about prejudice, growing up, and other topics. I didn't make the connection, but after watching the documentary Caught In Between, I realized history can and does repeat itself. Think about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers- they are so alike. But, we have to learn from our past, we cannot have history repeat itself because that would be a failure on this country's part. So I am glad there is a council to represent those who need representation.

The day was filled with plenty of activities, first we had a discussion. I really enjoyed hearing everyone's stories. After that we had lunch. It was halal friendly, so it was cool getting to experience that. Halal is the Islamic rule of eating similar to the Jewish rule of eating called kosher. So the animal being eaten needs to have been raised a certain way, slaughtered a certain way, and no hoofed animals like pigs.

After that, we went across the street and visited their community center. There was a weekend school for kids, a gym, and even a mosque. I really enjoyed the visit. It was so cool having the privilege to go in. Plus, now I can say that I have been in a mosque!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Manju Monday!

Hi this is Alison with another update on my manju quest. This morning I went to Benkyodo Co. with fellow NCI intern Alison! Can you believe it, there are two NCI interns with the same name! It was so cute, while eating our delicious manju, a man comes up to us and says "UC Irvine? You guys must be so smart! If only I could take a part of your both of your intelligence, I'd be so smart!" It was really cute and funny.

So today I ate a green manju with chunks of azuki (red beans). The mochi was so smooth and fresh and I gotta say I love azuki beans, especially when it isn't 100% smooth. So this was a nice treat.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The hidden internment

Today was an interesting day. Its Friday, so I was pretty tired from the past week. This is my first time working so I am trying to make the best impression I can. I usually try to talk to people before we begin work. It helps people to relax and release some tension. For some reason though, today was just a tough day. Me and Alison talked a little about what we were gonna do this weekend, Pete came by and tried to talk to us but me and Alison were just glued to our seats trying to watch the movie, a man came by saying he knew my dad. I wanted to get to know him more to get to know my dad a little more but I was just dead.

Work was pretty laid back today. Our boss realized that we needed to get caught up history for our interviews the following week so she gave us a list of movies to watch. There were ten movies so me and Alison hussled to get through them. One was a short movie about businesses that had survived after the internment camp. Another was about Japanese Peruvians who were kicked out of their homes due to racial tension. Another movie we watched talked about how some people had health issues after camp because of all the dust. It was all very intense and it angered me that they are taken so lightly in history books.

It was upsetting to see people treated so badly. I feel the films have made me angry. I am still trying to process them.

Benkyodo Co.- one of the original businesses in J-Town

Ken and I took a tour of Japan Town this week. One spot that really touched our hearts (and our tummies) was Benkyodo Co.. Benkyodo Co is located in Buchanan Mall between Sutter and Post St., which is across th

e street f

rom the Peace Plaza. Ken and I found out that Benkyodo Co. originally opened in 1906 (photo found on Discover, but was closed during the war. It's great to see that it still is around today

and continues to offer high quality goods. Beknyodo Co. is part shop and part diner. There's a small counter for customers to order burgers and sandwiches. If you turn around, you'll find delicious snacks and treats. There is sembei (rice crackers) and manju. Manju is an absolute treat for me and for many Japanese Americans. Manju

is made up of sweet sticky rice and can be filled with sweet bean paste called an. There are also baked manju varieties, which are more bread-like.

This morning I went with fellow NCI intern, Rachel. We tried a variety of freshly made manju. I tried two baked varieties and she bought three softer kinds. Benkyodo Co.'s manju is so soft and delishius that I will make it my goal to try every type of manju offered before my internship ends. So keep checking this blog for updates on my manju quest.


New NJAHS intern

Hi everyone,
My name is Alison and I am the second NJAHS intern through the Nikkei Community Internship program. I will be interning at NJAHS for eight weeks. I am really excited to work here in J-Town.

Here's a little about me:
I live in Torrance, CA and go to school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I am studying Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration.

I'll do my best to keep this blog updated as I go through my internship. So make sure to check this blog often!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ken's first blog

So I am a intern at National Japanese American Historical Society. Yesterday was my first day. It was pretty intense but very interesting. Me and my fellow intern learned a little about Japanese American culture. I think there is a lot to learn and I look foward to being here.

NCI interns

Hi everyone!

NJAHS has two new interns. They've started working with us yesterday. Get ready for tons of blog posts!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Transcription for the Interview of Hatsuye Nakamura

I have just finished the transcription work for the Interview of Hatsuye Nakamura. Miss Nakamura is a former internee from the Tule Lake Internment Camp during the WWII. During her interview, she talked about her experience in the camp as a newlywed bride clinging onto her husband as they adjusted to their abhorrent predicament during the Japanese American internment period. Time and time again, she mentioned how fortunate her family was during the trauma and how resourceful they were to their environment. She stressed on the proudness of the Japanese race. She said that because Japanese Americans are a race of accepting, yet proud people, her family was able to make it through the Japanese American internment.
Hatsuye Nakamura was also very appreciative of her husband's talents as a civic mind, a well-established pharmacist and an elite member of the Japanese American Citizens League. She especially cried during the interview when she had to talk about her children's correlation to the internment camp experience in Tule lake. One memorable quote would be "I don't do these things for sympathy!" as she sobbed. It enphasized how proud she is that she's gone through such a historically significant experience with a gamely mindset and able to share it with us today in order to instill the importance of social justice in our society.
Though Japanese American were not able to seek a huge amount of monatery retribution for the mistreatment they received in the internment camps during the WWII, they did receive aids from the government to educate the current generations about their war stories of a demoralized government during their time.
I personally learned a lot from transcribing for Hatsuye Nakamura. I learned that "Desperate times call for desperate measures." is one of many excuses the U.S. government used frequently to cover up the hideous nature of its legislative actions in the past. I have deep sympathy for Miss Nakamura and anyone else who's had internment camp experience in the past. From this point on, we should vehemently voice our opinions about any subject that contributes to social injustice and rectify the problems as effectively and efficiently as we can as Americans with good will.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Okinawan Diaspora

On Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 2-4 p.m., NJAHS hosted a book signing event for Ronald Nakasone's book Okinawan Diaspora. Nakasone first wanted to learn more about the Okinawan culture in honor of his mother. He released this book two years after the hundred year commemoration of when the Okinawans first immigrated to Hawaii in 1900. Although it is unsure where exactly the Okinawans came from, many believe they came from many countries and mixed together. They are a very spiritual civilization who have many native myths and songs. Although the Okinawans are a small culture they are still alive due to the fact that they are always threatened. Their culture and traditions are successfully perpetuated from generation to generation.
After Nakasone's discussion of his personal experiences as a Japanese American and his book Okinawan Diaspora, Rosalyn Tonai helped facilitate a Q&A session with the audience. Most were from the Bay Area and a few had ties to Hawaii. People continued to trickle in after the event started. At most, there was thirty people sitting in NJAHS listening to Nakasone speak. Wesley Uenten, a San Francisco State University professor also shared some traditional Okinawan music as well on his musical instrument, the sanshin.
Overall, my experience of helping out with this book signing event for Nakasone's book Okinawan Diaspora was an enjoyable one. More people than I expected showed up which was nice. Perhaps since the Cherry Blossom Festival was going on too, more people walking by happened to just stumble on into the gallery. Nakasone was upbeat and enthusiastic, throwing in some jokes here and there. The atmosphere was very laid back. The lovely event ended with the audience singing along with Wesley as he played. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Booksigning with Rev. Ronald Nakasone, author of Okinawan Diaspora.

On Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 2 pm to 4 pm, there's a book signing event with Reverend Ronald Nakasone - Author of Okinawan Diaspora. The word Diaspora, according to my Asian American studies class Professor, Dr. Wesley Ueunten, means the spreading of the people. In other words, the dispersion of a group migrating from their home country. In this case, the book Okinawan Diaspora is about the Okinawans' diasporic experiences in the continental US, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba, Paraguay, New Caledonia, and the islands of Micronesia. The book stresses on the geopolitical issues from an East Asian point of view.
Reverend Ronald Nakasone started off by talking about a lot of his own firsthand diasporic experiences of being a Japanese American. Hostess Rosalyn Tonai helped orchestrate a Q & A session afterwards. Rev. Ronald Nakasone then took a few questions from a crowd of audience. He also introduced to the audience a music CD he sells in relation to his book. Dr. Wesley Ueunten played a couple of famous Okinawan songs for the audience using his signiture musical instrument called sanshin. The crowd was singing along with Dr. Ueunten's songs. Finally, Rev. Ronald Nakasone did a autograph signing session of copies of his book. This concluded the book release gathering for the book Okinawan Diaspora.
I had a good time attending the book signing event, especially because it was during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Though the event was solemn, the atmosphere was lively. I learned from the candid speech delivered by Rev. Ronald Nakasone from his firsthand experience. I also enjoyed the music delivered by Professor Ueunten immensely. Overall, introspectively, I felt that I shouldn't take granted for the good experiences I've had as a US citizen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Treasures Revealed Workshop

On Saturday, March 5, 2011 the San Francisco JACL had a workshop called "Treasures Revealed". The workshop was about preserving artifacts and treasures so that they can be passed onto future generations. The presenter talked about how many artifacts and treasures from WWII have been passed down, but because they were not properly preserved they have become worn out usually due to negligence. Many WWII items from Japanese interns are presented in museums and exhibits, but they often appear worn out due to their lack of proper preservation.
The workshop began with some slides and then an introduction of everyone who attended. Many Japanese Americans have had parents or grandparents that saved artifacts/treasures whether or not they have monetary value. Unfortunately, many descendants of the Issei and Nisei may have found their grandparents or parents treasures and threw them out believing they were trash. Often times artifacts were discovered in bad shape because of lack of care. These objects represent previous generations and the stories they posses are what makes them treasures. So it is important to properly store these items and probably label them so that future generations will not simply throw them out.
The Japanese interned had to make do with what they had and became resourceful carefully not wasting anything. Objects like these tell stories about camp life and are physical evidence of those times. Seemingly insignificant things from previous generations could store valuable tales of heritage for descendants to find. But the important thing for saving objects is to consider what has a story that the next generations should know. The point of the workshop is not to hoard valuables, but to leave a legacy behind for future generations to discover. The presenter gives valuable tips for preserving treasures like leaving them protected in plastic bags and unexposed to the elements: sunlight, moisture, heat, etc. Keeping them covered will help prevent fading or becoming worn out. Label objects and maybe right down a description so that descendants will know why your old stuff is valuable and it will teach them a bit of history as well.
The workshop had a good turn out, there were about 10 or more attendees and people got to hear some stories about their treasures. Everyone got to learn a little about how objects are valuable because of their stories not monetary value. Everyone seemed to have a good time, no one was uncomfortable and shared their thoughts/stories. All attendees got to learn about preserving their treasures and leaving something behind for the futures. Overall it was a nice workshop and should done again in the future.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kiyoshi Fujiwara's Story

The person I transcribed was Kiyoshi Fujiwara. Fujiwara talked about his life before the war, during the war, and after. He was born in Sacramento and his mother died when he was five years old. He moved to Hiroshima, Japan during that time because his father thought it would be ideal for him to do so, even though, according to Fujiwara, his father could take care of him and his three sisters. Fujiwara completed both elementary and high school in Japan. When he was seventeen he decided he wanted to go back to America. He mostly wanted to return to avoid being drafted into the service and wanted to see his father again since. Back in America, Fujiwara did one semester of continuation high school before the war. Fujiwara learned about Pearl Harbor at a friend's place when coming home from church on Sunday. His father thought he should go back to Japan during this and one of the conditions to do so was to renounce your citizenship. Fujiwara did this, but in spite of doing so ended up at the interment camp, Tule Lake. He was there for four years and held several different jobs. One of his first jobs was a dishwasher and someone then told there was an opening position at a slaughterhouse. So, he went and worked there until the whole crew and including himself got fired for unknown reasons. He then worked at a maintenance shop where he worked on and monitored all the water coming in from the camp. While he was there Fujiwara learned English from hanging around with Nisei Japanese kids. He was one of the lasts groups to leave the camp.

Out of the camp Fujiwara went and first worked in Chicago, where his cousin was, for two years at a factory. He then worked in the fields picking tomatoes and later took a test for a government federal job. He had a clerical job for six months until he decided it wasn't for him and quit, but then took another test for the Air force and got a job as a mechanic. During this time he was battling to get his citizenship back, since you have to be a citizen to work for the government. He ended up paying three hundred dollars to regain his citizenship. He ended up quitting his job at the Air force and went to work at a steel factory where he spent the rest of his career. He met his wife through the same church and got married in 1952. Fujiwara and his wife have two kids who have, along with their grandchildren, accompanied them on several pilgrimages to the camp. Fujiwara has gone to four pilgrimages to the camp.

Transcribing Fujiwara’s story was a very enlightening experience. I have learned about the political situation of Japan from a citizen’s perspective and being stuck in two worlds. I also have a better understanding of what happened at the internment camps.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Students Share Their Experience at NJAHS: Mary's Story

Mary Matsuda Gruenwald was only 16 years old on the day the Pearl Harbor was struck. She remembers coming home from church with her brother that morning, and being filled with surprise when she found her father had arrived home from work early. The household was still and silent, she and her brother had no idea what was going on. "My brother turned on the raidio, and there was the news. The reporter was blasting it off, saying that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and that just changed everything in my life. I knew it would change but I had not a clue of how much that change would be."

Living in the rural town of Vashon Island, Washington, Mary's family stood out in the mostly white community. She describes the horror of facing school the following Monday, having to walk through the hallways feeling as if everyone was looking at her with pure hatred. It is only later in life that she recounts, it wasn't hatred at all, but fear.

In her interview, Mary describes how she was feeling at that time, saying:

I wish I had blonde hair and blue eyes and light skin. But I couldn't change the way I looked. I never was much of a talker, but I withdrew more and more and spoke less and less and the teachers were very kind, they didn't call on me unless I raised my hand, and I never raised my hand. After school I came right home, and didn't participate in any extracurricular activities. I just felt... like I was ashamed of who I was. But there was nothing I could do to change that. And then as we all know, February 19, 1942 president Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066.

It was a priveledge to hear part of Mary's story today. Although she expresses remorse about answering 'Yes, yes', over 'no, no', she eventually comes to the conclusion that in the end, there was no right or wrong answer. Instead she emphasizes the importance of dialogue and sharing one's story. We can all benefit from people like Mary, and the courage she demonstrated during a grave time of uncertainty.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nuchi du Takara lecture and tour

Dr. Wesley Ueunten, gave us a very informative and interesting tour of the Nuchi du Takara exhibit for which he was a curator.   
The exhibit flows covers the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. It starts from the time before the battle, to the life of the Okinawan people during the battle, to the period after the Battle of Okinawa, to today.   The time before the war identified by Okinawans by To (referring to the Tang Dynasty of China,Chinese World), to Yamato Yu (Japanese World ) during World War II,America Yu (America World) after the war, to today's Yamato Yu (Japanese World). The period before Okinawa was a strategic point in the Pacific to control the seas around Asia and the Pacific Rim.  The battle was to gain control of this strategic point between the United States and Japan.

Okinawa was originally a matriarchal society. Women were the center in Okinawan society. The women did not think hierarchically.  
Till the 1980's Okinawan music and culture were discouraged in the overall Japanese society. It was the delinquents that resisted and kept the music and culture alive. In the exhibit there is a replica of a sign children at school had to wear as a humiliation punishment if they spoke in the native Okinawan language. Along side of the wooden signs is a ready made shanshin (3 stringed Okinawan traditional instrument). 
Dr. Ueunten went over the sad mass suicides that occurred during the war.  There is a drawing of the horrific memory of what happened.  
An art piece of a replica of a cave dwelling in Okinawa shows how some survivors lived to escape the destruction of war.  
Metal bowls and vessels, and a glass vase are shown in an installation. The pieces are made from remnants of war planes and other debris.   The pieces show how the Okinawans are trying to move past the battle and war.   There is a child's kimono made out of a U.S. army blanket, and a paper mache doll. 
There is a sweet picture of an American soldier carrying a young Japanese child.  The picture shows the humanitarian heart of some of the American soldiers. 
A facebook project is being initiated inviting children to take pictures of themselves with a message of peace to be included in a digital mural that will be sent to Haebaru Town Museum in Okinawa.    
This is an important exhibit that tells a story that needs to be heard.  
Dr.Wesley Ueunten was an excellent guide.

Symposium: Lessons from the Battle of Okinawa

On January 29, 2011, Nuichi du Tukara: Lessons from the Battle of Okinawa Symposium took place at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. This event was divided into two parts: informal and formal.

The first segment of the event began at 12pm. At the informal "talk story" session, San Francisco State University students, NJAHS staff members, and Doctor Wesley Ueunten walked to the Union Bank Hospitality Room in the Miyako Mall and watched a very touching film. This film captured the stories of many innocent lives during the Battle of Okinawa. The Battle of Okinawa struck the world on April 1, 1945 and lasted until June. Viewers observed several children falling out of their ships and getting attacked by sharks. As the audience drank their refreshments and watched the scenes, they saw Okinawa turning into an ocean of fire with air raids. One man who was interviewed in the film shared his experience during the battle. He mentioned that he crushed his mother's skull while looking in her eyes. He remembered seeing droplets of tears rolling down on her face. Rough times during Battle of Okinawa showed that survival was tough and many family members were affected. As a touching stone for remembrance, many monuments have been dedicated to the thousands of victims. The Kozabu and Kobata monuments were set in memory for school children who died and thousands of names were engraved on the cornerstones. What's outrageous was that bombs were strapped onto the backs of boys. There was also another monument for the Korean victims. Most of their names could not be confirmed so they used Japanese American names instead. At Maeda Heights, bodies were seen shot to the ground and piled next to each other with bugs. Similar to Maeda Heights, the film reported that three female soldiers at Kliwo Milaga were wounded and four were dead. At this location, American soldiers kept shouting "Come out" in the caves and started shooting. One of the girls was dangerously harmed and her body scattered all over the place. In addition, a soldier stuffed a towel into an infant's mouth and killed him. As Aka Island appeared on the screen, we observed that many individuals consumed food such as yam. However, local people complained and they had the imperial soldiers search their clothes. They found twelve men with rice in their pockets and shot them all at sunset. This battle was marked with countless shootings and bombings in the air.

After the film, several Okinawa survivors joined the students and shared their stories. Frank Higashi, a translator in the Military Intelligence Service during the Battle of Okinawa, explained a surprising detail when he saw his brother. During the bloody battle, he discovered that his brother was acquainted with his army's enemy—the Japanese army. He said that he lived in America because his father wanted him to work and financially support his family in Japan. An emotional story began to unfold when Fujiko Dandoy spoke. It was difficult for her to speak about her life during the battle because the memories would invite some heartache. As she sat in her seat, she shared the fact that she lost many friends and families. She mentioned that she would sit in front of her journal and tear up. Like many people, she believed that Japan would be victorious. She grew up hearing "victory is ours" and was stationed in Okinawa in 1951. In the middle of this session, students were given the opportunity to ask them questions. By the end of the first session, students, like me, obtained a better understanding of the Battle of Okinawa.

When the clock struck 3:30 pm, we walked to the Issei Memorial Hall located at Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern Californa. The event began with an incredible collaboration performance from Doctor Wesley Ueunten and Francis Wong. Dr. Wesley Ueunten played a traditional melody with his lovely instrument called Sanshin. Their live performance definitely built a peaceful atmosphere in the auditorium. After his performance, Yuko, the volunteer coordinator at NJAHS, introduced the items on sale. Then, Dr. Wesley came back and performed another great song. The song allowed the audience to tune into the Okinawa culture and become exposed to their music. After his musical presentation, he gave opening remarks about the Battle of Okinawa. He said that the subject of Okinawa is quite heavy. It is sometimes painful to speak about war and destruction. He thanked the guests for coming and supporting the event. Following the opening remarks, the panel discussion began. Dr. Ben Kobashigawa, the moderater, introduced the four panelists: Frank Higashi (MIS veteran), Fujiko Dandoy (survivor), Noriyoshi Arakaki (survivor), and Dr. Mitzi Uehara Carter (candidate in Anthropology). Dr. Ben Kobashigawa gave a brief introduction about himself. He was born in Los Angeles and he is currently teaching Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. He told us about the first speaker, Frank Higashi. He was born in the early 1900s in Southern California as a Kibei Nisei and worked as a Military Intelligence Service translator. The second spokesperson was Fujiko Dandoy. She was only a teenager when the battle took place. As Dr. Ben Kobashigawa stated, she is currently the president of the Sacramento Okinawa Kenjin Kai. She described how the memories of the battle would usually wake her up in the middle of the night. She does not like to speak in front of people, but she felt that this project was vital, that it was her duty to speak up and share her story. She said that she has no regrets in her. It has been several decades since the battle, yet the memories stay very intact with her. After she spoke about her life, Dr. Wesley Ueunten translated for her. She remembered the Lieutenant committing suicide and seeing women being carried in stretchers. In addition, she can still recall her friends’ faces and soldiers asking for water before they died. Others were forced to move to the southern part of Okinawa. As I looked around the room, I noticed one of the ladies tearing up. Mr. Noriyoshi Arakaki is a dance performer and professor. He said that he was only four months old during the battle. Because he was an infant, it was tough for him to remember the battle. However, he would usually hear stories from his siblings. Tragically, ten people in his family died. His story about his sister was sad because she was killed by an airplane. But he got a good laugh when he shared with the audience that he was dirty when he was a baby because he did not take baths very often. A couple of seconds later, he stepped away from talking about his family and discussed the structure of the government. There was the high commissioner, U.S. military government, civilian government, etc. At the time, he worked as a motorcycle police officer in Okinawa. The United States usually stored poisonous gas as weapons. His duty was to escort trucks to carry them to the seaport and take it somewhere. He said that Americans wore gas masks, but he did not wear one. Before coming to the United States, he was stationed near Village of King. He made a surprising statement when he shared the fact that middle school girls were raped by American militarists. After the battle, the population decreased. Many people, including himself, attended traditional plays which encouraged them to live and move on. Like Mr. Noriyoshi Arakaki, Dr. Mitzi Uehara Carter grew up with war stories. She witnessed dodging bombs and bullets. In addition, she saw scattered bodies which left scars for many generations. She would say that her mother’s stories were not in chorological order since they would bounce around. She also learned that her mother changed her own name.

After these panelists spoke, the audience was given the chance to raise questions and obtain answers. Around 5pm, Melody Takata, Dr. Wesley Ueunten, and Francis Wong played a couple of their last pieces. The mixture of the taiko, sanshin, and saxophone sounded amazing together! Just like how these instruments came together, this event built unity and community. After the event, students helped rearrange the auditorium and carry things outside.

Overall, I was blessed that I got the opportunity to participate in this event. The Battle of Okinawa is often excluded in our history texts, but this event exposed me to the traumas that occurred. In many ways, I can understand that it is not easy to speak about the battle since my own family lived through the Vietnam War. It was nice to hear the survivors talk about their experiences though. The point of the presentation was to explore the historical trauma that shapes the identity of Okinawas in the community. This event was very emotional, but I learned so much in these two sessions. I would like to thank the panelists and all of the supporters for coming!

By Lang Le