The Japanese American community in each city is unique, but the team effort in New York City that is JAJA (Japanese Americans and Japanese in America) is truly special. Julie Azuma provides the space but everyone pitches in bring potlock, set up, and clean up. The collective energy really brings everyone together, and the audience focus is amazing. We had a lively discussion of the life and work of John Okada in a living room setting, and the night was made more special with the presence of John’s niece, Beverly Okada of Long Island (seated next to me on the sofa with the vest).
On Feb. 21, Floyd Cheung and I had a very warm welcome speaking about JOHN OKADA at the University of Connecticut’s Day of Remembrance. Greg Robinson was snowed in and participated via Skype. Thanks to Cathy Schlund-Vials, Jason Oliver Chang, and staff of the UConn Asian and Asian American Studies Institute for having it run so smoothly.
Rounding out the week, a great crowd of more than 120 turned out for the 40th anniversary of the Day of Remembrance at the Japanese American United Church near Chelsea in New York. Thanks to Michael Ishii and Tsuya Yee for having me in to speak about creating the very first Day of Remembrance in Seattle. It provided the opportunity to single out two pivotal figures in the early days of the redress campaign: Mike’s uncle David Ishii, and Tsuya’s grandfather William Hohri. The potluck social afterwards was something else, so many familiar faces and new friends. New York Newsday covered the event and embedded a video that included our remarks inside their report, “Japanese-American internment camps of WWII recalled in NYC.”
A busy week, thanks to all who came to listen.