redefining wanderlust

a life blog by Bekka

Posts for LIFE UPDATE Category

MARCH LIFE UPDATE + NEW PLAYLIST : CACTUS BLOOM

March was an insanely busy month. The digital marketing company I work with took on 3 new clients. I went to a natural products expo and volunteered at the LA Marathon while sick. Dan and I took amazing engagement photos in Long Beach, and we also managed to go on an adventure out to see the super blooms in Anza Borrego State Park. Also, in the last few weeks, I’ve started something new in my life, that I’m just not ready to fully share about – but it’s time-consuming and fun.

My new mantra is I am an abundance of energy and good health. It’s the only way I can look at my to-do list and not spiral out. Yet, the underlying stress of the month definitely manifested itself yesterday as in the middle of a dental filling I started to have a panic attack. I do have a fair level of dental anxiety, but I’ve never had a panic attack. So while my mouth is wide open, the dentist is doing his thing, and I’m listening to Hindustani music to drown out the drilling; I felt my jaw tremble, body start to shake, and I just went into “mind over matter” mode. Fortunately, I was able to get through the attack but not without a few tears.

Why am I sharing my dental panic attack? Basically, as a reminder that as much as one might think they are a machine we’re actually human. Stress will manifest in the most inconvenient ways, so maybe I should have done a yoga flow that morning knowing the anxiety I already have about the dentist. I’ve become more and more aware of my stress levels. Every unicorn hair on my head is a reminder of how my body reacts to stress. With the awareness, I’ve also learned tricks to help manage it. Like even though it was a stress inducing month, I also managed to balance it out with enough fun that I feel I’m not feeling completely burned out. I think I’m finally getting a grasp on how to manage work and play (said in the voice of Sarah from the Labyrinth).

So, I had a surge of creativity this last week that helped me build out my new playlist ‘cactus bloom’. I also gave Blanket Fort Adventures a little makeover with a new aesthetic on the blog, youtube, and twitter. I have felt a shift within and I want what I’m doing now to reflect that too. April is going to be equally non-stop. Dan and I are headed back to the Coachella record store, my client “50 objects / stories of the Japanese American Incarceration” will finally launch, and the wedding will only be 7 months away ( so I need to send out save the dates, start a wedding website, look into this and that).

I am an abundance of energy and good health!!

                                                                 

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MY CHILDHOOD ACT OF FEMINIST REBELLION

I’ve always been an observant person, and when I was a kid I figured out that being one of the boys allotted girls some sort of power. I wouldn’t consider myself a tomboy as a child, but I wasn’t afraid to climb fences or get hurt. I never wanted to cry or show fear. I never wanted to be perceived as meek or girly. Yet, I was proud to be a girl. I knew girls could do anything just as well as boys. We were just as smart, brave, strong, clever; all the positive attributes given to great leaders or successful people.

So when I was eleven-years-old and was being taunted by a boy at summer camp about being a girl, I slapped him in the face to shut him up.

It probably wasn’t the best conflict resolution but his expression of shock is still imprinted in my mind.

All the pre-teen kids were hanging out on the playground waiting to be picked up by the camp van. Boys and girls from the ages of 11 to 14 waiting to head out on a fun excursion. This one boy relentlessly taunted me, saying “woman or girl” over and over again. I tried to express to him how rude and ridiculous he was being. I tried to fight back with words and tell him being a girl isn’t an insult. I was proud to grow up to be a woman and infuriated that he thought being a woman was something less than he.

I can’t even recall when exactly I slapped him or what I said afterward, but I imagine my pre-pubescent-self wanted to literally slap the stupid out of him. After I shocked him with my might, I said something to the equivalent of “just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I am anything less than you, and me being a girl or woman is not an insult. So stop taunting me like it is.”

Later when the vans picked us up. The pre-teen councilors were informed of what went down on the playground. The councilors were both women, feminist, and lesbians. I know they were feminist because of the patches and buttons on their bags, and I didn’t find out about the lesbian part until 6 years later, but that is a different story. I remember watching their faces as they were informed I had slapped this boy. I could see this conflict within them, knowing they needed to reprimand me for my act of violence but also understanding the world this idealistic girl was going to grow up into, and this may be the only male she ever gets to slap for his stupidity.

I was told don’t do that again.

That was it. That was my only punishment. Don’t do that again. I wasn’t barred from that day’s activity. A letter was not sent home to my parents. I did tell my Mom and Dad what happened and all they said was, don’t do that again. That boy’s parents never called my parents. I was never severely reprimanded for standing up for being a girl, for being a woman and that stuck with me. Because what the adults’ actions told me was that my anger was well placed, but let’s not resort to physical violence. I’m thankful for the councilors and to my parents, they shaped the woman I am today. I grew up knowing my voice had value in the collective conversation that is society. I grew up knowing that I am equal to a man. Sometimes society doesn’t necessarily reflect that, obviously. But it doesn’t make the truth any less valid. As its International Women’s Day, this act of feminist rebellion surfaced to the top from my memory bank.

I remember that boys name and what he looks like, and his face of shock is burned into my memory. I slapped him hard. The sting on my hand from making contact with his cheek. The cut he got on his cheek from my nail. As an adult, I realize this way of insulting a female was likely something he heard on TV or maybe at home. And I don’t condone violence, but I can’t help but be a little proud of my younger self and I hope that boy treats women with more respect now. I know he never messed with me again.

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Micro February Recap + New Playlist : Decade Dance

A micro February recap + New Playlist:

I’ve been burdened with deep thoughts ranging from “why have I limited myself as a writer” to “how do I incorporate more glitter into my makeup routine and wear lipstick on a daily basis.” Last month, Dan and I celebrated another rotation around the sun. We allowed ourselves to indulge in various alcoholic beverages and delicious, expensive dinners to celebrate. Our birthday month ending with one final friendship fueled bash at Clifton’s in Downtown LA.

The following day, surprisingly with little to no hangovers,  we explored Downtown LA on foot. We love walking around a city and getting a feel for its character when we travel, so why not do it in our backyard. It was an adventurous month filled with art, music, and lots of freelance work. My management of the freelance work caused a hiccup in my personal content production, and I feel backlogged with stories I want to share, video footage that needs to be edited. A never ending wave of ideas and inspiration that I am just writing down and saving for later because I’ve yet to find the time for execution. Yet, I feel a little disheartened and resentful to my idea bubbles. They just keep coming, and I haven’t figured out the time to actually work on them. This past weekend I saw a very astute doodle/ illustration about having ideas that elicited a bit of shame within my bones.

I am the girl in pink. What is worse is that I have a tendency to share my ideas before actual execution, which then make me feel like it isn’t the ideas yelling at me to finish them it is the world asking where that idea went. I’ve decided I’m going to stop sharing ideas out loud. Although I had this one idea, no, I shouldn’t say it. But it was an idea around ideas. Anyways, the real point of this post is to share February’s playlist before I’m too far into March. So without further ado … Decade Dance Playlist

 

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Practice Everyday

I’m currently watching Abstract on Netflix and the first episode featuring illustrator Christoph Niemann just reminded to check in on the blog. He commented on how musicians practice their instruments daily, so artists should do the same thing and create their art every day. I don’t know what I am exactly, my label is malleable, but I like to consider myself an artist. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with that title, but I have the heart of an artist – so let’s run with it. Anyways, this week I’ve been writing a little post every day and it’s been really fun for me. When Niemann made the comment to practice something every day it reminded me of the beauty of daily practice. Like, in January I did a yoga flow every day for two weeks and really felt the wondrous effect of this daily ritual. I eventually fell out of practice, and am once again getting back on track. But like my yoga flow and now this daily blog writing, I can only try my best.

Tonight I had plans to see the Crocodiles, but then decided against it after I found out my friend wasn’t going to be playing in the band after all. My incentive to stay up late and go out on a “school” night was specifically to support an awesome creative human. After my incentive was taken away, the reality of my responsibilities seeped in. Yet, what makes me glowing with love and smiles this evening is that my fiance’ was completely supportive of my desire to stay in. He’s currently at the show and I’m in my pajamas. I’m exactly where I want to be and his supportiveness makes it all that more special.

Well, I guess I should get ready for bed as it’s almost midnight. But I have to say doing something daily or practicing every day really helps to create a resilience in one’s ability and work – so I’m going to try to stick with it.

Good night!

 

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Caught In a Wave of Inspiration

“We Plan, God Laughs” – Yiddish Proverb

Dan is currently making popcorn and we are going to spend the evening together, so I’ll make this short. I have all these inspired ideas this week for Valentine’s Day and tonight as I go to execute one of them in an attempt to upload it tomorrow morning, I realize I won’t be able to film until tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, my light set up just won’t illuminate my scene the way I imagined. So I have to shelf those plans until the sun rises and instead surrender to a romantic evening with Dan. Aww shucks! 

So what is this wave of inspiration? I have three ideas for videos this week… 

  1. A stop motion animation of a few of the cards Dan and I have given each other over the years. We are suckers for romantic stationary.
  2.  A few recipes using Moon Juices’s Sex Dust powder, “a lusty edible formula to ignite and excite sexy energy in and out of the bedroom.”
  3. A Q&A video with Dan and I – now I don’t even know if I have an audience interested enough in my relationship or love life to ask questions, but if you’re curious ask by Wednesday!

Even though I have mounting work demands and a rewrite of chapter one of my young adult novel on my plate, I feel I’m caught in a wave of inspiration I must ride. Until tomorrow, I hope you’re having a lovely Galentines or Palentines!

confidence

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Thank You For Reading Blanket Fort Adventures! I just sent out my first newsletter.

I sent out my first newsletter today thanking my awesome supportive readers. Now, based on analytics I have more people reading the blog than those actually subscribed to my newsletter, so to encourage more sign up’s here is a taste of what this first newsletter included. It took me 4 hours to write the newsletter because I had no idea what I was doing, but you have to start somewhere.

BLANKET FORT ADVENTURES VERY FIRST NEWSLETTER

Today, I want to share the video that finally motivated my butt to write this newsletter, Mel Robbins on “Why Motivation is Garbage” and the reason why I continue to work on and build Blanket Fort Adventures.

My creative mission statement is very personal, and I haven’t really shared it with anyone except my sister. One day when feeling burned out and discouraged about Blogging and YouTube, I grabbed a piece of pink construction paper and wrote out my truth. I’ve shared musings and ideas around it, but never just in its entirety. So here it is:

SEE WHAT I SEE… BE NOT ALONE

  1. Connect > For the outsider/insider to experience more of what life has to offer.
  2. Celebrate > All the cool things that make life worth living.
  3. Create > Exercise creative muscles in writing, photography, editing.
  4. Document > When I’m 80 this will be cool to have.
  5. Wanderlust > It’s all about how you travel through life…

INJECT MORE LOVE, LIGHT, & HUMOR INTO THE WORLD

I return to this mission statement when I get caught up in the comparison game. It brings me back to center when I’m vulnerable and filled with self-doubt. A pink reminder of my personal creative purpose independent of any validation.

My mission to inject the world with more light and fun comes from having been stuck in a colorless and gray existence. But let me be clear, I AM NOT A LIFE COACH! I’m just a self-improvement junkie and I imagine my addiction will make an appearance. Like, this video “Why Motivation is Garbage,” it’s surprisingly very motivating.

At the end of the day, I’m just a creative mixed chick from Southern California with a propensity for depression trying to figure out her place in the world one choice at a time. In the words of my favorite existential philosopher Albert Camus,

” Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

__________

The newsletter included a few more fun bits, that I’ve chosen not to share here because that’s the whole point of signing up for a newsletter – exclusivity.

I apologize for not posting at all last week, but I had to take a little break due to work and physical exhaustion. But I have a ton of creative ideas I will be executing this week in the spirit of Valentines Day. Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday & I will see you tomorrow!

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Vlogmas Burn Out

It’s day 15 of Vlogmas and I’m feeling some burnout. This has been a busy holiday season. One weekend, I was even uploading videos while driving to different holiday gatherings. But, I feel like I have no idea how to make my day to day interesting – am I too self-aware? Perhaps. I’m looking forward to 2017 when I’ll be posting regularly on my channel, but it’s not my day-to-day. This year, I really committed to YouTube in a new way, I attempted to create series and a regular upload schedule. I improved in my editing and hit 100 subscribers!

Last year, I learned a lot about myself while doing Vlogmas. This year, I’m not coming across very many revelations. I’m sort of bopping along making videos, trying to create better stories. Test out different editing techniques. No real direction. Well, not until next year. After Vlogmas will be my time to really stretch my wings and see what I can bring to the platform.

It’s a question I struggle with a lot, what’s YOUR take away? Yes, YOU! The reader, viewer, follower – what do you take away from seeing what I’m thinking, writing, posting, sharing. Let’s just say, I feel like I finally know who I am on the internet, now I just have to make sure you’re happy with the relationship. Although, like even in romantic relationships, please DO NOT make me responsible for your happiness.

Anyways, if you wanted to know how my December has been going – here you go!

Featured photo by Ariel Marte

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October Life Update

October was a crazy month and I didn’t post on my blog nearly as much as I’d want too. If you’re curious as to why it was so crazy, I made a whole life update video! In addition to sharing about the crazy schedule I was living in October, I also did my first YouTube tag. YAY! A YouTube tag is when other YouTubers tag people to create a specific kind of video centered about a challenge or maybe a survey. I’ve done tag videos in the past, but I was never specifically called out to do the tag. It felt special to actually thank a specific person for tagging me.  In November I will be creating a lot more content for Blanket Fort Adventures, so if you have any ideas please share in the comments!

love and light signature

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Coachella Vlogs 7 Months Later

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m on a mission to tie up all the loose ends of my stories and footage. I want to go into 2017 completely fresh and with a blank canvas. So here are my Coachella Vlogs – 7 months later.

For the last 2 years, Dan and I have worked at the Coachella Record Store together. At this point, I’ve been to 4 different Coachellas, one as a festival attendee and three as a working member of the lower level staff. Both experiences are great, but being staff is definitely a different experience with its perks and disadvantages. Obviously, you don’t get to see every act from beginning to end, as your shift might land in the middle of their set. I’m still upset about missing Ghost of Sabertooth Tiger last year because of a freak inventory glitch that was fixed by the time I returned to the record store.

Since I’m really into vlogging now, I thought it would be great to vlog Coachella but weekend 1 I had no strategy for filming. The wind was terrible, destroying any possible audio and I couldn’t just talk to the camera. I stumbled through capturing clips of the day when I could and creating some sort of story structure. The result is a fumbling mess of footage, that even while editing I had a difficult time seeing the creative vision.

However, weekend 2 was a different story. I had created an outline of how I wanted to tell my Coachella story. I no longer wanted to break it up by day, but  break it up by activity. I had more of an idea of the shots I wanted to get and how long to linger on an artist or food item. Then while I edited the footage together I realized it would feel completely unnatural if I didn’t have some sort of voice over describing the scenes. After creating video one, I knew what I wanted to do different in video two. I did my voiceover in one take, I know I flub some words and maybe didn’t fully enunciate – but in all honestly I wanted to finish the story. That’s the thing about working on something 7 months later, it loses its steam. My brain thought it was interesting and wanted to share it, but my heart is thinking about Desert Trip this weekend and strategizing how to film the vlog.

So, what did you learn Dorothy? 

I learned that when you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail. Creativity is very spontaneous, but it also flourishes within some sort of structure. Occasionally, there are moments of total creative bliss where things are unplanned and result in a cohesive beautiful piece – but more likely than not, one has to have an idea of what they are doing and can see the final picture. Weekend 2 is a clear result of having an idea of what I wanted to create. Weekend 1 is a total rough draft. Both videos are this clear distinction of progress and growth that can be used for a metaphor for life. I know I see everything as a metaphor for life.

So why don’t you go back and fix Weekend 1? 

One, I just don’t want to spend the time on it.  I don’t want to get lost in the correction and perfection of one video at the expense of new stories. And second, in life, you don’t get to go back into your awkward phase and change it. You have to live through the awkward. I can’t go back to my High School self and tell her that you can get blow dries at the hair salon for $20 bucks on picture day, or that you could pull style inspiration from the sixties and feel way more confident in clothes. Nope, I have to look back and see my poofy hair plus sweatshirt and dixies phase for what it is – uncomfortable and awkward.

Final Summation

I’m so happy these videos are complete. I’m so happy to cross off Coachella vlogs on my list of videos to upload. I’m so happy to see myself moving forward and learning more about storytelling with each video. I’m excited that I’m finding my voice in the void. I’m happy that people are finding me and sticking with me despite my awkward phase. My final summation is that weekend 2 learned from weekend 1 and I strive to always have that awareness throughout my life.

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A Reflection on Japanese American Incarceration : Tule Lake Pilgrimage

The real talk aspect of this blog is about to get REALLY REAL – this is not a happy fun post, but a post that must be written. Thank you in advanced for reading this post, my reflection on Japanese American incarceration. 

On Tuesday, I woke up from a 4 day trip up to Tule Lake, the site of one of the ten Japanese Concentration Camps, and wondered “how do I do life?”

The pilgrimage to Tule Lake was a Christmas present from my mother. Her mother, my Bachan, was incarcerated at Tule Lake and my mom and aunt had attended the pilgrimage a few years ago. She had asked me a little before Christmas of 2015, if I wanted my fiancé and I’s Christmas present to be the Tule Lake pilgrimage and we both gave a resounding yes. On Tuesday when I woke up in my own bed, in my own home, I had this moment of confusion about how to go through my day. The pilgrimage is an intensive workshop of history and community, from the time we boarded the bus at 10:00am on Friday, July 1st.  Upon returning home, I forgot my routine and was filled with reflective thoughts. My eyes new with a changed perspective on life as a whole. If this is what I was experiencing after 4 days, I can only wrap my mind around how the innocent Japanese Americans felt when released, the same way I can wrap my mind around the concept of infinity. It’s feeble and lacking, false by all measure.

Everything was taken from them in an instant, and then 4 years later in a flash they are let back into the world with nothing.  Except for a country that betrayed them and a society manipulated to reject them.

We were surrounded by people who understood the history of Japanese American incarceration during WWII, from the moment we stepped on our respective buses. But maybe not the atrocities that took place at Tule Lake, nor the divide Tule Lake caused with in the Japanese community. And this is what we would learn over the next two days.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

In Japanese culture, you don’t make waves. You don’t speak out against authority, and you respect the establishment to the utmost degree.  So when the American government presented the Japanese American people with a distasteful and deceiving “loyalty agreement”, after already being incarcerated for over a year, those who rebelled against it were sent to Tule Lake. In turn they were seen as “disloyal” to America within the Japanese American community. When in reality, these “disloyals” were really men and women who believed in their civil rights or were infuriated with the country who just incarcerated them when innocent. Basically, flipping them the bird. I come from a lineage of the latter, and I don’t blame my Great Grandfather for his decision to mark No, No.

Tule Lake around 1943 was turned into a segregation camp, sending all those who refused to sign the “loyalty agreement” from the other Japanese American concentration camps to Tule Lake. What I found interesting and heart breaking, was that after the war when the Japanese American community began to rebuild, those who were incarcerated in Tule Lake never shared that information. They didn’t want to be judged by their community and seen as troublemakers or disloyal, so this fraction of the community couldn’t even bond or connect with fellow Japanese Americans about their experience, because they were shamed into silence.

Many of the people who were incarcerated at the Japanese Concentration Camps never talked about their experience there. And everyone on the pilgrimage seemed to be desperate for pieces of the puzzle in order to create a full picture of the Tule Lake experience. The adults who were incarcerated have already passed on, and now we scrape at the memories of those who were teens or children at camp to collect their stories and perspective on the time. Our elders have died with their stories locked behind the doors of trauma, and their children search their own memories for what stories might have slipped.

As I write this I’m conflicted with what I can share and what is left behind closed doors. It is not easy for people to share their trauma and pain, and it is not right for me to exploit those stories for my own readers without their permission. All I can do is paint a picture. Imagine you are told you can only take what you can carry, heirlooms and family pets are left behind. You are trying to figure out what you can sell off for the best price, because you don’t know when you’ll return home, and your customer knows the desperate situation you’re in and does not have a compassionate heart. The plans you had for the future were stolen from you. The family dynamic is dissolved, and you end up living in a barrack with 10 other families. Your bed is merely a cot with a mattress cover you stuff with straw. The holes in the walls bring in dirt and dust from the outside. You’re never clean. You’re never comfortable. You don’t have a home. You’re innocent. You were born in America and have pledge the allegiance during school, “with liberty and justice for all.” But you have yellow skin, almond eyes, and black hair; apparently that excluded you. So you had to board a train to destination unknown and live in a prison for an undetermined amount of time.

On Saturday, the pilgrimage collected in front of the jail that is currently undergoing a restoration at Tule Lake, and held a memorial service for all those who had died and lived through the Japanese Concentration Camp. The pilgrimage hosted a Christian and Buddhist service and the attendees were able to lay down flowers and cranes for our family and fallen. It was a moving service. Later in the day my fiancé and I took a bus tour of the camp, which was massive, and my heart broke for the lack of preservation. An airport runway now runs through Block 25 where my Bachan lived at Tule Lake. The Tule Lake cemetery was turned into a landfill. All but 10 bodies which were unidentified have been returned to the families. And as I sat on the bus with our guide vaguely pointing out where certain buildings of the camp would have been, I looked out onto a neighborhood and a grassy field confused as to what was where, and then just in awe of the size of this camp that held up to 18,000 people. It’s the closest thing to walking a mile in my Bachan’s shoes I could ever get.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

A few of the ‘super seniors’, those who were teens while at Tule Lake shared their stories.  One explained the process of building the jail (can you imagine building a jail to house your own people?) and then the abuse that took place to those who were put behind bars, inside the fence they were already trapped behind. These people further incarcerated, not because of legitimate crimes, but because they were brave enough to talk back and express their freedom of speech or were labeled a “troublemaker”. Another ‘super senior’ shared his story of refusing to answer the loyalty agreement and in turn was sent to a department of justice camp. In the middle of the night he was thrown on his knees in front of a firing squad verbally abused until the guard wanted to let him and his fellow rebels go.

What were the questions he refused to answer that led to this kind of psychological torture.

Question #27 asked:

“Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered?”

-Question #28 asked:

“Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power, or organization?”

This same gentlemen had tried to enlist after Pearl Harbor to defend his country, America, but was denied and told he was an enemy alien. Now, he was asked to draft himself again after a year of imprisonment! And how can you forswear allegiance to a country you were never aligned with in the first place? Disgusting.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

Both Friday and Saturday night I listened to those who were incarcerated tell their story, and I was moved. I listened to their memories like they were water and I had been thirsty in a desert. Sunday morning, the 450 attendees were divided into smaller groups to reflect on their experience and ask questions to try piece together the past. In the afternoon I watched a talk by Nancy Ukai, Dr. Satsuki Ina, and Dr. Junko Kobayashi on Camp Artifacts: Giving Voice and Bearing Witness. There were 6 other amazing talks going on concurrently, but I had met Nancy in our morning discussion group and was intrigued by the story objects can invoke. Nancy was an integral part in stopping the sale of 450 concentration camp artifacts at a Rago art auction. I wasn’t aware of this when it occurred, but it was announced in the New York Times and quickly there after the Japanese American community did a “hell no!” and a petition circulated effectively stopping the auction. Nancy shared the stories behind three different pieces from the collection that would have been sold, and their connection to Tule Lake. The piece that was most moving was the propaganda photo that was taken to shed a positive light on the Japanese American incarceration of an adorable Japanese boy in a cereal box flower crown. Nancy was able to track down the boy, now a 70 year old man, who shared he did not even remember the photo nor the fabricated fairy tale attached to the photo – that the class was putting on a cheerful Labor Day performance. She opened the discussion with this powerful poem that I think should be kept in mind when viewing any of the photos from that time.

Because my mouth

Is wide with laughter

And my throat

Is deep with song,

You do not think

I suffer after

I have held my pain

So long?

Because my mouth

Is wide with laughter,

You do not hear

My inner cry?

Because my feet

Are gay with dancing,

You do not know

I die?

“Minstrel Man”, Langston Hughes

tule lake pilgrimage

The pilgrimage ended on July 4th, my Bachan’s birthday, and we boarded our buses back to our respective airports or pick up points and said good bye to this moving experience. While headed back to the Sacramento Airport, we shared out thoughts on the pilgrimage and as I shared my feelings I broke into tears. The night before I had sobbed thinking of my Bachan, missing her. On the bus, my tears were for her pain and the anger she held inside. I commented about how my dirty and draining days in the sun at Coachella for two weeks inspires a deep desire for comfort. After the festival I immediately book a shiatsu appointment, manicure, give myself a face mask, and sink into my comfortable bed like a heavenly cloud. This is only after a few days of the elements, and my Bachan experienced the same sun and dirt relentlessly for 4 years. No comfortable bed. No spa like shower. No privacy.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

Airport runway now runs between where my Bachan barrack would have been.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

The foundation of the 73rd block latrine.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage

An example of what the camp barracks looked like on view at the Tule Lake museum

What I haven’t talked about are the riots, the Marshall Law, the guard abuse, the deaths, the torture, the renouncing of citizenship under collusion, and the endless examples of total civil rights violation. I hope my sharing of the pilgrimage inspires you to search out that information independently. I also hop e my story inspired people to educate themselves and stand up against the fear induced hatred toward any community of innocent people. The people who experienced this are still alive, this is not ancient history, THIS is living history. We must hold onto our stories and history in order to keep it from ever happening again. Refuse to become complacent.

When I think of my Bachan and what she endured, I am humbled. My troubles become trivial, and I tell myself I come from good stock. I was born with a strength inside of me to persevere, to move forward and thrive. If my Bachan can live in a concentration camp for 4 years and go on to see me born, love me, and make me feel like I am supremely special – then I will not disrespect her belief in me by not believing in myself.

Thank you for reading my story and following my journey to #knowbachan

Bachan - June Ritsu Murakami

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