Surviving? Thriving?

Surviving Thriving

Last Fall, in my first semester of graduate school, I wrote in a reflection assignment for class about how I planned to manage it all. “It all” meaning a full-time job, what feels like more-than-part-time school, and providing some semblance of an adequate life for myself (involving a number of s-words: sustenance, shelter, sleep, social life?). I said a few nice things about maintaining a regular schedule and blogging as a creative outlet. My professor commented, “What a great idea!”

Continue Reading

Day of Remembrance, 2014

Who am I? You know who I am. Or you think you do. I’m your florist. I’m your grocer. I’m your porter. I’m your waiter. I’m the owner of the dry-goods store on the corner of Elm. I’m the shoeshine boy. I’m the judo teacher. I’m the Buddhist priest. I’m the Shinto priest. I’m the Right Reverend Yoshimoto. So prease to meet you. I’m the general manager of Mitsubishi. I’m the dishwasher at the Golden Pagoda…I’m the peach picker. I’m the pear picker. I’m the lettuce packer. I’m the oyster planter. I’m the cannery worker. I’m the chicken sexer. And I know a healthy young rooster when I see one!…I’m the one you call Jap. I’m the one you call Nip. I’m the one you call Slits. I’m the one you call Slopes. I’m the one you call Yellowbelly. I’m the one you call Gook. I’m the one you don’t see at all–we all look alike. I’m the one you see everywhere–we’re taking over the neighborhood…I’m your worst fear…And I’ve been living here, quietly beside you, for years, just waiting for Tojo to flash me the high sign…

There. That’s it. I’ve said it. Now can I go?

Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor Was Divine

On February 19, 1942 Executive Order 9066 was signed, which led to the unjust incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including my great grandfather, a strawberry farmer in California’s central valley.

Continue Reading