Self Identity: Part B (High School and College)

Dear World,

                        Today I want to continue my story from the tenth grade through college. Throughout High School, I spent a lot of time reading a lot of books on Japanese Buddhism and Culture. In High School I was around mostly Asians and my High school was a majority Filipino, Chinese and Vietnamese, as well as Hispanics and a smattering of other races. You can see how I got involved in the Asian Community from the people I grew up around. Besides going to school, I spent a lot of time in Little Tokyo at JANM (Japanese American National Museum) and my Temple.

                        After Graduation from High School, in 1992 I had the chance to go to Japan for a Dobo Conference and study tour of the places associated with Shinran Shonin the founder of my Temple. I got the rare chance of staying at the Higashi Honganji Retreat center in Kyoto Japan. One of the members of our branch Temple, West Covina Buddhist Temple unofficially adopted me after we came back from our trip. He was a father figure to me since my real father died of cancer when I was 7 years old. We have been really close for over 18 years.

                        After High school I went on to Pasadena City College, where I took a lot of Film, Art and Asian American Studies classes. During these years I was a member of the Chinese Student Association, The Asian Student Coalition, Fencing Club and my Buddhist Club in which I founded. During these years, I was on the staff of AISAREMA, a group formed to help fundraise for the Amerasia Bookstore, and when the Bookstore closed we merged with the literary group Disorient. I was also President for a while of the APAN chapter of the local JACL chapter.

                        As you can see is that I was immersed in the Japanese American Culture through out my life, and sometimes I feel like I am Japanese American in my heart.  My wife calls me an Egg as in White on the outside and Asian on the inside. Kind of like the inside out Twinkie. So together with all the races that I actually am and from what I grew up in and around, I consider myself as an American MUTT. Here is the break down of what I am, Scottish/Irish, English, Cherokee, Micmac, with my extended family Hawaiian, and unofficially Japanese American. I sometimes think that I may have some Asian blood in me, if you consider that the Native Americans originally came from Asia long, long ago.

                        Six years ago, I married in a Chinese/Vietnamese family. Wait till I have kids and see how confused they will be growing up as Multicultural child in this melting pot called Los Angeles. This concludes my piece on Self Identity. If you are in Little Tokyo, you may see me dancing in the bon Odori at the local O’bon festival or dancing in the Ondo during the Cherry Blossom Festival or Nisei Week.

Yours

In Gassho,

Eikichi

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