I recently volunteered at the Azay fundraiser on August 22nd. Despite the pandemic, we were determined to hand out the meals promised. It was very relieving to finally get out of the house and socialize a bit. It’s something positive that we all have the ability to still see people and be appreciative of something we almost always take for granted. It’s given me a new view on both the GVJCI and my communities: I’m thankful that they’re here, I’m grateful that we’re still connected, and I’m glad that we can all smile in some way. We all always never notice how much socializing means to us; for the shy, the outgoing, and everyone in between. The JCI isn’t only a place to learn and to practice our skills, it’s a place to socialize and be human. Same with our communities and all of our friends and family: they’re much more important to us than we think. I know that I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had and will continue to be grateful for all the smiles and projects and fundraisers and festivals to come.
Even if many events can’t be held now or in the immediate future, I’ve attended numerous festivals, Day of Remembrance’s, and fundraisers [and looking forward to more]. I’ve been able to learn about the hardships and the perseverance and the lives of the people before me. The drive to keep going, to keep fighting, to keep providing amidst a deadly pandemic: it’s inspiring. Being able to see what life is like outside of the West, to see that there’s a whole other world, to introduce your own culture to the new world: it intrigues my curiosity. I feel a sense of responsibility to represent my culture, to keep my roots connected to me. Not only have I learned about the past, I can see what we can do to spread the Nikkei experience in the future. And I’m hoping I can continue to contribute to that mission.