Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fundraising Opportunity for Nakayoshi

How would you like to raise money for Nakayoshi and strengthen the communication network of the JA community at the same time?

The Nichi Bei Times is currently offering community organizations (this means us!) the opportunity to earn a little scratch with a new subscriber promotion.

It's pretty simple. Ask your folks, your aunties and uncles, your obaa-chan, the people at your church, in your taiko group, on your basketball team, at your JACL chapter, etc., to sign up for the paper. When they designate Nakayoshi as their donor organization on the subscription form (included below), we get 10 percent of their subscription cost.

Not sure who to hit up first? Start with yourself. For just 50 bucks a year, you can stay connected with what's happening in Japanese America and beyond. Come on--you might have spent 50 bucks last weekend on food and drink alone. Plus you're supporting a good cause; besides the money that goes to Nakayoshi, you'll also be helping to ensure that a deep-rooted Nikkei tradition continues to flourish into the future despite challenges ahead. I won't belabor the point, but I encourage you to check out my recent piece about the situation in the Nichi Bei Times.

If you have trouble downloading/printing the form, hit me up in the comments and I'll figure something out for you. Otherwise, get cracking! The promotion ends on March 19.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bay Area Day of Remembrance 2009

As you may have read in our Monthly Update at the beginning of January, Nakayoshi will be taking part in this year's Bay Area Day of Remembrance event on Sunday, February 22, 2009. Before you read more details on the event below, we'd like to give the following announcement:

The Day of Remembrance committee is giving a call out for volunteers for the event, especially if you have experience in copy editing/writing or graphics and desktop publishing experience. Skilled volunteers are needed to help put together the printed program for the event itself. If you or anyone else you know would be interested in helping directly with producing the program, contact us immediately at

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Day of Remembrance (DoR), DoR is an annual observance of the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Executive Order 9066 authorized the relocation and internment of 120,000 Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast during WWII. Every year, several observances are held throughout the Japanese American community in memorial of the generations before us who experienced and endured the internment, and to reflect on the historical impact the internment has had on not only the Japanese American community, but the rest of the nation as well. The Day of Remembrance is also often an opportunity for the community to celebrate the success of the campaign for Redress as well as examine the lessons of internment and parallels that exist between the internment experience and the experiences and civil rights issues facing Muslim and Arab American communities in post-9/11 America.

This year marks the 30th year the Day of Remembrance has been observed in the Bay Area. The 2009 Bay Area Day of Remembrance, with the theme of "Carrying the Light for Justice," takes place in San Francisco on Sunday, February 22, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sundance Kabuki Theater, 1881 Post St. (between Fillmore and Webster), with a reception at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St.

This year's program will include a keynote speech by US Congressman Mike Honda, a poetry reading by SF Poet Laureate Janice Mirikitani, a short film, presentation of the Clifford Uyeda Peace and Humanitarian Award, as well as a candle lighting ceremony and an interfaith procession. The event is sponsored by the Bay Area DOR Consortium (of which Nakayoshi is a participating organization) and funded in part by the San Francisco Japantown Foundation. A free reception at the JCCCNC will follow the program and procession.

Nakayoshi will also be selling tickets as well as volunteering at the event itself. Tickets are available through us for $12 in advance or $15 at the door. We may have complimentary tickets available for the first few Nakayoshi members who request them, so let us know if you're going! If you'd like to purchase tickets or help out, let us know by e-mailing us at

For more information on the 2009 Bay Area Day of Remembrance, check out, or call 415-921-5007.

We hope you can join us on February 22nd to pay our respects to the sacrifices of those before us and to the ongoing struggles of others.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Couldn't say it any better than Jay Smooth, watching this video blog put a giant smile on my face. Definitely check him out if you haven't already, you're missin out!

A fellow Nakayoshi member came across this clip on Hyphen's Blog, and I couldn't help but share.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope Paves the Way

Hours away from the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I can hardly fall asleep as the excitement and historical significance of the day keeps me from closing my eyes.

My television has been set on CNN for the past few hours and I can't help but feel the overwhelming sense of hope and excitement that I see portrayed on the screen from those who are there in D.C., waiting in the cold, to experience one of the biggest milestones in American history.

Today will mean so many different things to so many different people, and as the world watches as President Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice John G Roberts, we will bear wittness to a new era of leadership and hope.

As a man who represents change, a man who represents the passion and spirit of grassroots activism and a new era of appreciation for philanthropy, I hope that we will continue to see this positive shift in the way the nation views public service and hears his message in urging the nation to strengthen our communities.

My heart is overcome with emotion and it is just a beautiful and amazing day to be an American.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Happy 2009! It's that time of year to make resolutions for the new year, and you're not the only one who's been making a list of goals to accomplish!

Already up and running for 2009, Nakayoshi has been going full speed ahead, ringing in the new year with old traditions and chillin' out with old and new friends out on the ice...

On January 3rd, Nakayoshi held its first volunteer event with API Legal Outreach, JCYC and the SF JACL Chapter at the Oshogatsu Festival at the JCCCNC in SF Japantown. With a great turnout, Nakayoshi was challenged to put their arts and craft skills to good use as we taught festival participants how to make recycled gift bags out of old calendars! While we weren't making bags, there were tons of other activities to take in at the event: pounding fresh mochi, eating traditional new year's o-zoni soup, and enjoying entertaining kendo demonstrations and musical performances! Overall, the Oshogatsu Festival was a successful volunteer event for Nakayoshi, celebrating the Japanese tradition of bringing in the new year! (more pictures can be found on our Picasa online photo gallery)

This past Saturday, January 17th, we hit the ice at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Rink to chill out and have some fun for our monthly Social Event. Everyone had a blast as some of us glided gracefully upon the ice, while others grasped desperately to the walls, inching by across the rink, yet never giving up. With a few minor injuries, aching ankles and possibly a couple of bruised bottoms, the night ended with a warm meal at Mel's Diner. (more pictures can be found on our Picasa online photo gallery)

With 2 events under our belt, Nakayoshi's New Year's resolution to continue to bring you both social and volunteer opportunities every month has started off to a good start! And as we continue our commitment to both community and philanthopy, we hope that you'll find that our resolutions and goals in 2009 overlap with your own.

As Nakayoshi looks forward to a new year, we hope to see you soon at one of our events in 2009!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reflections on Redress

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the Pacific Citizen, the newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens League, called for submissions on the topic of Redress. This is the article I wrote, which was recently published in the 2009 New Year's Edition of the Pacific Citizen. Hope to hear your thoughts.

Akemashite Omedeto!

It was the summer before sixth grade. I was in Ms. Dion’s class at Daruma-no-Gakko, a four week summer program for Japanese American elementary school students. Every foggy East Bay morning, my grandpa would my brother and I off in the parking lot outside a local church. There, John and I spent our summer morning making crafts, singing folks song, and cooking traditional food.

For the sixth graders at Daruma-no-Gakko, learning about what it meant to be Japanese American meant learning about our history, from our great grandparents who emigrated from places like Fukuoka and Hiroshima, to our grandparents who grew up playing baseball in camp, and our parents who came of age in the tumult of the 1960s.

For me and my classmates, we learned about the passage of Redress as history. In 1988, I was three years old and my brother was even born. For me, the story of Redress is not part of my own memory, but rather part of a collective memory shared by parents and grandparents and the community I grew up in.

Flash forward and I am a graduate student in public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. I am spending my last summer as a student interning with the Children’s Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy organization in Washington, DC.

During my lunch hour, I walk to the Japanese American National Memorial, which happens to be three blocks from my office near the Capitol. I sit near the edge of the fountain; eating my foil-wrapped sandwich and watching small birds splash around in the rushing water. As wandering tourists pass by, I wonder whether they understand the significance of this place.
The presence of such a memorial is itself testament to the perseverance, the gaman, of the Japanese American community.

As we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Redress, it is an opportunity to reflect upon our history, but more importantly our fundamental values. As Japanese Americans, as Asian Americans, and people of color, we have experienced many injustices at the hands of the government. Yet we have also experienced the righting of wrongs and the process of reconciliation. Although a check for twenty-thousand dollars and President Reagan’s signature could not bring back lost years or lost opportunities, Redress is a testament of American values of justice and equality.

Many of the times I spent sitting at the Japanese American memorial, I not only thought about my family’s history, but also my own future. My decision to pursue the study of government, particularly objective analysis, is in itself a testament to my faith in democracy and my hope for social justice. Yet my undergraduate background in Ethnic Studies taught me that the story of Redress for Japanese Americans is more of an exception than a rule.

My sophomore year at Brown University, I took a class in post civil war African American history. By chance, it was the same semester that the school was revisiting its role in the transatlantic slave trade and slavery in the United States. In fact, the oldest building on campus was built by the hands of a slave and some of the members of the Brown family had participated in the slave trade.

For my final paper in the class, I wrote a comparison between the Japanese American and African American experiences and the prospects for redress and reparations. While there are many differences between our histories, they evoked the same gut wrenching feeling of injustice and inequality.

In the class, we discussed the concept of reparations and redress. We talked about the experiences of the Jewish Diaspora after the Holocaust and the healing of South Africa after Apartheid. I learned that Japanese Americans are one of the few groups who have ever received monetary reparations for past injustice. The system is not always fair; actually, it usually is not.

How does the history of Redress inform my life and my work as a young Japanese American? It reminds me every day that there is injustice in this world, but also that there is always hope for change. As we approach the November election, it reminds me of the importance of civic participation, particularly for Asian Americans and communities of color. The story of Redress also reminds me that we must continue to fight for justice, both within and outside of politics. Redress was won not only by high profile leaders who maneuvered the political system in Washington, but also by community activists back home in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

This summer in DC, I interned at the Children’s Defense Fund. It is not an organization that advocates particularly for Japanese Americans or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but for all American children. Under the leadership of Marian Wright-Edelman, it positions itself between vulnerable children and the federal government, serving as a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. As a Japanese American, standing on the shoulders of the many activists before me, I am inspired to be part of this effort, tackling the same racial inequality that our community has experienced as well.Wherever we find ourselves as young Japanese Americans, whether it be in the Japanese American community or outside of it, inside of government or outside, I hope that we can continue to work toward the same values that are fundamental to our history. We hold a powerful legacy, one of dignity and perseverance; a legacy that testifies to the paramount importance of justice, equality, and freedom. I hope we can honor the work of those who came before us in our work today and tomorrow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spotlight #8 - Alicia Kagawa

name: alicia
love list: sprout bunny, marathon running, rock climbing, green tea lattes, Jonathan safran foer and his novels, Jason Mraz and his music, community service, peanut butter mochi and The Office.
hate list: Creed from The Office, that sound of silverware scratching plates, fur and the people who wear them.
profession: Programs Associate at the JCCCNC

If I told you I wasn’t a spaz, you would say “Do you like to swim in large rivers located in east Africa? Cause you’re in de-nial!” (get it, “the nile”). Ohh that joke never gets old. I think the simplest way for me to describe myself is to offer some designations others have branded me with over the years. The few I have selected are: cultural-less child, California roll and hippie.

Ali the Cultural-less child= My parents (who have been involved in the Japanese American community since I’ve known ‘em) could not figure out how to get me interested in learning about my Japanese culture. I was a proactive teen involved in sports, student leadership, Marin County Youth Commission- but shied away when it came to Asian American or Japanese American related programs. Then, after my first attempt to make rice resulted in a broken cooker and small fire, I was finally dubbed the “cultural-less child”. To this day the name and story have stuck, perpetuated by my bully of a boss, Paul Osaki.

Ali the California Roll= Moved to Hawaii for college and suffered a major identity crisis. Walking to class was like going through the mirror fun house at the county fair- everywhere I looked I saw reflections of myself in different sizes. Outwardly I looked like the majority, but inwardly I felt like a cultural minority. But it was in Hawaii where I met a diverse group of friends and learned more about my own culture. They (and even my hakujin friends) would call me things like “banana” and “twinkie” (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) but eventually I graduated to the name “California roll” (a JA girl with cali roots).

Ali the Hippie= Im not really a “hippie” in the conventional sense, but I guess in contrast to my brother’s standards of living I could be. Kenso has been calling me “hippie” ever since visiting me in Hawaii during my college years (that’s when he met my shaggy-haired bf corey, rode public transit the first time, learned I had turned vegetarian and found that I preferred kayaking over shopping). “You and I lead very different lives,” my brother sighed discontentedly after realizing I didn’t have cable. After growing up in a home where gifts = love (= me being a spoiled brat) it is refreshing for me to now realize that the things that matter most in my life aren’t things at all, but people and life experiences.

Now that I’m a little older, a bit wiser, and a lot poorer I know more clearly what kind of person I want to be, and that person is: a nakayoshi young professional! (that was intended as a joke but i do truly enjoy being in the group). Thanks for skiming, see you at the bar crawl!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nakayoshi Monthly Update - January 2009

Akemashite Omedetou! (Happy New Year!)

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you have a lot to look forward to in 2009 - Nakayoshi certainly has a lot in the works for the upcoming year! Since our first Meet & Greet BBQ event in June until now, we really appreciate everyone who has come to our events, signed up on our Facebook group/e-mail list, and have helped contribute to build Nakayoshi up to what we are today. We are incredibly excited to announce that the NCWNP District of the JACL has generously provided Nakayoshi with a greatly expanded budget in 2009 for increasing our outreach efforts and putting on even more great events for our members. Besides our monthly social events and community volunteering opportunities, we'll also be putting together some career development and networking-focused events in the coming year. We'll continue to do our best in 2009 to provide you with opportunities to get involved, connect with the community as well as meet people and have fun at the same time!

This month we'll be kicking off 2009 by volunteering at the New Years festivities in Japantown. We're also going ice skating in downtown San Francisco later this month for our January social event. Be sure to mark your calendars in February for the Day of Remembrance community-wide event in memorial of the Japanese American internment during WWII, as well as our upcoming weekend ski/snowboard trip!

Here's to the new year! Hope we'll be seeing a lot of you around in the months to come!

In this update (new events in bold):
1/10/09 - Oshogatsu Festival Volunteering
1/17/09 - Nighttime Ice Skating Social
1/25/09 - January Monthly Meeting
1/29-30/09 - Japan Dance Now at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
2/22/09 - San Francisco Day of Remembrance
2/27/09-3/1/09 - Weekend Ski/Snowboarding Trip

Saturday, January 10th, 2009: Oshogatsu Festival Volunteering

Join Nakayoshi as we volunteer with API Legal Outreach, JCYC and the San Francisco JACL at the Oshogatsu Festival at the JCCCNC. This year's festival activities include arts & crafts for children, a children's art contest, traditional mochitsuki (New Year rice pounding), food, cultural performances (including odori, kendo and taiko) and much more! Bring a t-shirt and have it screen printed with the Oshogatsu logo. Volunteers are needed for setup, assistance at crafts tables for children and for cleanup. Setup begins at 9am, the event runs from 11am-3pm, with cleanup after. Please e-mail us at and let us know ASAP if you can help out, even if it's only for an hour or two!

When: Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, volunteer shifts available througho
ut the event
Location: Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), 1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, January 17th, 2009: Nighttime Ice Skating Social

This month's social event will be nighttime ice skating in the city! Meet up with the rest of your Nakayoshi buddies for a fun night on the ice and perhaps more afterward. Please note there has been a change in the venue since we posted the event in last month's update. We will be meeting at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center in downtown San Francisco, across from the Metreon. For more details on the ice rink, click here. RSVP at

When: Saturday, January 17th, 2009
Time: 9:00 - 11:00pm
Location: Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center, 750 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA
Price: $9.25/person (includes admission and skate rentals)

Sunday, January 25th, 2009: January Monthly Meeting

Looking for an easy way to get involved with Nakayoshi and the community? Want to develop your leadership and organizational skills? Check out our monthly meetings, on the last Sundays of every month from 1-4pm at the JACL National Headquarters in San Francisco Japantown. New faces are always welcome!

When: Sunday, January 25th, 2009
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Location: JACL National Headquarters, 1765
Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA

Thursday-Friday, January 29-30, 2009: Japan Dance Now at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

YBCA invites Nakayoshi Young Professionals to see Japan Dance Now – a triple bill of Japan's hottest new dance artists – with a special 2-for- 1 ticket offer on Thurs, Jan 29 and Fri, Jan 30 at 8 pm. (Individual tickets are $30 Regular). The artists in Japan Dance Now —Nibroll, BABY-Q and Sennichimae Blue Sky Dance Club—are inspired by technology, pop culture, visual art and fashion design. Don't miss this rare U.S. appearance of electric experimental dance by Japan's newest generation of dance artists!

To purchase your tickets call 415.978.2787 or stop by the YBCA Box Office at 701 Mission Street and mention the Nakayoshi Young Professionals discount code: 4337.

You may also purchase 2-for-1 tickets online:

1. Go to

2. Log in or register, and enter the promo code 4337 (To receive the discount you must enter the promo code when logging in)

3. Select the Thurs, Jan 29 or Fri, Jan 30 performance of Japan Dance Now from the calendar of events

Upcoming Events in February
Save these dates! More February events and details coming soon!

2/22/09 - San Francisco Day of Remembrance: Join us at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown for the annual program, candlelight service and reception in memorial of all those interned during WWII.

2/27/09-3/1/09 - Weekend Ski/Snowboarding Trip: For those of you who ski or snowboard, Nakayoshi will be heading up to Tahoe and renting a cabin and hitting the slopes on the last weekend of February. Be sure to e-mail us at to reserve a spot for you and your friends!

All events are free and open to anyone unless otherwise noted. Feel free to forward this message along to your friends or anyone interested. Not on the Nakayoshi e-mail list? Click here to subscribe. Have questions? Want to sign up or RSVP for an event? E-mail Nakayoshi at: For additional information and updates, be sure to check the Nakayoshi blog at or find us on Facebook! Nakayoshi is a program sponsored by the Northern California Western Nevada Pacific District of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cherry Blossom Queen Informational Meeting

Learn about the Queen Program and what it means to be a part of something special!

Sunday, January 4, 2009
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Union Bank Hospitality Room, Miyako Mall
San Francisco’s Japantown

· Learn about your Japanese culture & heritage
· Be a leader in the Japanese American community
· Develop your leadership skills
· Travel to Japanese festivals around the world
· Be a part of a 41 year-long tradition

For more information please visit our website:
Hosted by the 2008 Cherry Blossom Court