Friday, September 9, 2011
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-
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
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Written at 7/29/2011 6:35PM
Friday, July 29, 2011
Written at 7/22/2011 5:48PM
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
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.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Written at 7/12/2011 10:25PM
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)
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
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)
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.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
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.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
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.
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 Nikkei.org), 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.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
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
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.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
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
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
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