The Hafu It

VJLS-JH x Hafu It Ep. 3 - Being Japanese Canadian

May 19, 2021 Kiyoko + Sakura Season 1 Episode 22
The Hafu It
VJLS-JH x Hafu It Ep. 3 - Being Japanese Canadian
Chapters
The Hafu It
VJLS-JH x Hafu It Ep. 3 - Being Japanese Canadian
May 19, 2021 Season 1 Episode 22
Kiyoko + Sakura

*This weeks episode contains mature content including mention of Japanese Canaidan Incarceration, and dispossession. Please proceed with caution*

Welcome to Episode 3 of our collab with VJLS-JH! Being 3rd and 4th generations, it's difficult to link our Canadian identities with our Japanese heritage. Misinformation, intergenerational shame, and a laissez-faire attitude goes a long way in contributing to the imposter syndrome we all feel! 

This week, we're talking about what being Japanese Canadian meant to us growing up, versus what it means to us now. Tune in to hear us discuss traditions that were passed on to us, and ones that we adopted on our own as well as how they tie us to our community.

Make sure you don't miss out on our series/Season 1 FINALE next Wednesday at 10am PDT! 

Show Notes Transcript

*This weeks episode contains mature content including mention of Japanese Canaidan Incarceration, and dispossession. Please proceed with caution*

Welcome to Episode 3 of our collab with VJLS-JH! Being 3rd and 4th generations, it's difficult to link our Canadian identities with our Japanese heritage. Misinformation, intergenerational shame, and a laissez-faire attitude goes a long way in contributing to the imposter syndrome we all feel! 

This week, we're talking about what being Japanese Canadian meant to us growing up, versus what it means to us now. Tune in to hear us discuss traditions that were passed on to us, and ones that we adopted on our own as well as how they tie us to our community.

Make sure you don't miss out on our series/Season 1 FINALE next Wednesday at 10am PDT! 

Sakura:

[inaudible] all right. Welcome back. Welcome back to episode three,

Kiyoko:

Episode three of our very special collab or second last episode of season one. Um, we are here filming , uh, you know , I'm sure you've been able to guess by now we're filming all of these in one day. So we are still in , uh , the tatami room at Vancouver Japanese Language School. That's Japanese hall, so beautiful. We got so lucky with the weather today. Um, and we're looking forward to recording this third episode for sure . And before we begin, we do just want to acknowledge again that this , uh, this whole series, all four episodes , uh , and our regular podcast recordings , uh, to begin with , uh, are being recorded on , uh , unceded traditional Coast Salish, including the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. Thank you very much. We are your hosts. I am Kiyoko.

Sakura:

I'm Sakura.

Kiyoko:

So episode three, I'm touching a little bit on , um, being Japanese Canadian now. So we've kind of gone through the history of our families in a lot of depth , um, what we knew at first about where we came from, and then going into like a lot of depth about that. Uh, and now we're going to go into what it means to us now to be Japanese Canadian. Yeah,

Sakura:

Totally. Yeah. So , um,

Kiyoko:

We've kind of, I guess, I mean, w w here we go, words I've already kind of touched upon in some of the earlier episodes of this , uh , series kind of some history for me on, on what being Japanese Canadian kind of has meant , um, to me personally, but I'm in a little bit more detail being Japanese has always been a super important factor in my identity. My dad always really, really pushed it on me , um, which I'm really thankful for. It kind of sounds ridiculous to phrase it that way. And someone just like forced a part of your identity, you know? Um, but that's, that's the way that it was. And , um, I've always known that I've always been aware of that. I didn't , um, really get the full effect of what it means to be Japanese or Japanese Canadian , um, because I am mixed and once again, the imposter syndrome comes on in, and I never really thought of myself really, as a Japanese at all, kind of went with the assimilation routes . Right . Um, but I am really thankful to be in my mid twenties and to be where I am right now, even like in this moment right now, my , uh , my great grandmother graduated from Vancouver, Japanese language school in 1940. Sabbat is 60, 70, 80 something years ago, 80, 81 years ago. Um, and this is the first time that I've stepped foot in this building. And it is similar to the feeling that I get when I went to Japan , uh, or that I got when I went to Japan. Um , very feeling all of the ancestors flooring , the halls, the feeling, the history. Yeah. I'm wondering the same halls. And what's really lovely about this building is that a lot of it is , um , part of the original foundation. Um, we are in the newer part, we are in the new school . So , uh , obviously a lot of it is newer, but they did , um, make sure that this part of the building represents a lot of the heritage of it, both in the structure and design. Uh, so it's, yeah, it's really cool to be here. Definitely.

Sakura:

Yeah. I think for me, my Japanese identity , um , I grew up in a predominantly white communities , um, that was not super inclusive to , um, people of colour. So , um, I was always told by people in the community that I was like different, that I was like weird. So, because I had no connection to the Caucasian side of my ancestry, all I had was the Japanese side of my ancestry. And it was something that I resonated with so much because it was something that made me so different. There were not a lot of other Japanese people in my communities , so it was something so like special and like unique to me. Um, and then also growing up in a community where there isn't a lot of like other cultures. It just really made me investigate into my culture and really want to learn as much of my culture as possible and do as many activities within , um, my culture as possible. Um, I've mentioned in other episodes that I did cut out day for a really long time and Tyco drumming. Um, so just being involved with things like that , um, I think , um, I've always had the imposter syndrome like Kyoko , but , um, I still always resonated with the fact that I was Japanese and I do obviously acknowledge that I'm mixed race, but I'm definitely like Japanese mixed race. Yeah .

Kiyoko:

You had to identify on more so on like the , the job site . Yeah. Which I think a lot of mixed race, Japanese

Sakura:

People, obviously who live in Canada yeah, yeah. Are way more connected to their Japanese heritage than the Caucasian heritage. Yeah .

Kiyoko:

Yeah. I think it's good that you're bringing up , um, just our mixed ancestry again. Um, just because I think that being mixed itself is a good representation of what it is to be Japanese Canadian today. Um , there's so much, I mean, obviously with like the history of our people there's was like such a push towards assimilation , uh, after the war that it only made sense that there were so many, like if you've seen , um, Jeff Chiba Stearns his documentary, one big happy family, he goes into like a lot of details on the history of our people after the war and , um, how it was encouraged by the elders to marry and , uh, procreate with Caucasians , um, cause

Sakura:

What better to assimilate than by

Kiyoko:

Assimilate, but also for survival. Right. Just to make sure that our genes are being passed on because funny enough, like one in X amount of generations show more Japanese , um, lineage than , uh, than the Caucasian. So it's interesting. So you'll have, like, I don't know , say you have like five siblings, one of you will just look straight up Japanese , um, just cause that's how the gene pool works. So , uh, yeah, for survival so that it never really dies. So our mixed lineage though , um , a struggle as it is in regards to like the identity crisis that people in our community face, if they're half oof . Um, it's really just like an awesome representation. One of the many awesome representations of resilience in our community , uh, for lasting as long as we have, despite a lot of , uh, hurdles along the way, a lot of hurdles. Yeah. Hurdles. Um, yeah. Yeah. I think ,

Sakura:

I think another aspect of that too, when , um, and I don't know , like generalize , but for , um, a lot of Caucasians when they are Canadian and they've been here now, several generations, I've noticed a lot of Caucasians lose their ancestry. You'll ask like a white person. Oh, like, what's like your background or they're like white. And you're like, no, but like, where are your ancestors from? I don't know, somewhere in Europe. It's like, how do you not know what you are? Like, I'm always so shocked. And then they don't care. Like it's like ,

Kiyoko:

Okay , totally.

Sakura:

So I think seeing , um, Caucasians be so not interested in their culture made it so that I couldn't find any sort of connection with the white side of my family, because I never really met other like French people who were like, yeah, we're French and this is French culture. And this is how we do things in France. And this is, you know yeah . Um , or other Scottish people. Um, whereas when you meet like other Japanese Canadians, we all have such , um, so many things in common and so many traditions that we all do. And so it's just so much, it just feels more of a community than what I've ever, ever felt with the Caucasian.

Kiyoko:

Totally. And I think that that's somewhat of a difference too, even between being someone who is Japanese and is like, was raised in Japan because when I went to Japan , um, and met my family, they actually thanked me for coming down. Um, because they said that otherwise they would never have heard any of the stories that our elder was telling us right. During that dinner. Um, because I was so interested in, so , uh, I had so many questions,

Sakura:

Kira was sharing stories that they had never shared before.

Kiyoko:

Yeah. Because no one had ever asked. Yeah. Yeah. It's so beautiful. Yeah. He was like telling me , um, in our earlier correspondences, before I even like met him in person that he was glad that there was finally a family member, even though , um, they were far away who was finally like interested in the Sugimoto stories and like who we know interested in knowing who we are and about our ancestors. Um, because no one had really thought to ask those questions before totally in their family, in Japan. And , um, I don't know, maybe that's like a unique to my family where like, maybe just like my Japanese family wasn't as interested in like their history. But , um, I think like being children and grandchildren, great grandchildren of immigrants , um, should lead you to be inquisitive and curious about who the people were, who yeah . Brought your family here too

Sakura:

Here . If you were born in Japan, you don't question where you came from.

Kiyoko:

Yeah. Totally hear you. Yeah. You don't question where you came from. If you were born and raised in Japan, obviously

Sakura:

For us, it's like we're Japanese, but we weren't born in Japan. So our stories of where we came from.

Kiyoko:

Yes, yes . Our story doesn't start here in Canada. Just the like lineage or the Canadian lineage starts in Canada. Totally . But yeah. To want to go back further than that in order to pay proper respect yes . To that culture and be able to , um, celebrate it with pride, I think , um, comes from being comfortable enough to ask those questions. Um, yeah. I'm really thankful that we're mixed and Japanese Canadian. Um, even though, you know, it's really struggling, but , um, for, for me right now being Japanese Canadian is tied hand in hand with , um , my mixed heritage. Yeah . And I am like more and more proud of all of the things about me that , um, are Japanese. We actually just talking before we hit record on this episode, I , um, we, we did like a mixed hair episode of our podcast a couple of weeks ago, I guess, by the time that this gets released, it'll be like more than a month ago. But , um, we put one out, you should go on , listen to it. And we were talking about how, like, people always say how wild my hair is and untamed and stuff like that when it was because I didn't really like grow up with my Asian family . So no one really like taught me how to take care of Asian hair. I was always using like Caucasian products with sulfates and stuff in it, but I bought like the Tsubaki line T S U B A K I , um , I like have, I've never used a hair product that has made my hair look the way that it is today. For those of you watching on YouTube, the way that my hair is right now, this is all like non , um, like no hairdryer, no nothing. It was air dried. After I use the soup hockey stuff, like shampoo and conditioner. I put a little bit of oil on when it was dry before I went to bed last night. And then I put this , um, this wax that Sakura gave to me, it was just another Japanese brand , um, a little bit this morning before I came in just to help like keep the , the natural wave to my hair. And I've never seen my hair look as healthy or as shiny and pretty as it does right now. Um, but anyway, yeah, all of that, like learning stuff like that is , um, being Japanese Canadian to me, that's what it means to me. Hell yeah. Uh, is, is , uh , paying respect to the culture that my ancestors , uh , uh,

Sakura:

Totally, I think for me, even over top of my LGBTQ plus identity, my Japanese identity is always like the form , the forefront, like that is my identity as a person is as a Japanese woman. Um, so yeah, it's a , it's interesting. Yeah. Yeah.

Kiyoko:

It's really cool. We , um, our culture, we we've talked a lot about , um, the, the loss of information over generations of our families because , uh, things are difficult to , to listen to, but kind of along the same lines , uh, with regards to like being Japanese Canadian, knowing what that means , um, being able to pay your respects to the culture itself comes with , um, how that culture is passed down to you. So you've heard a little bit about like where our families come from and a little bit about what we've learned from them. Um, but not as much about the culture itself and how it was passed down to us. So totally. Um, for me, like I never learned the language, but my great grandparents , my Obaasan, my son always spoke Japanese to each other. Right . Or not always, but like when they were trying to have a conversation, wanted to be sneaky about it, they would talk Japanese to each other. Um, so that was kind of really funny for me. That was just something that I always associated with just having grandparents total in general. Um, we also always called support like instant ramen Sapporo because that was the brand that we always got was [inaudible] support, all instant noodles were supported . And I didn't realize like that, that, that wasn't, it was just the brand name even until probably too recently. Honestly, I will continue to do that because that's just what my great grandparents passed down to me. Yeah .

Sakura:

Yeah. Um, yeah, it's like, it's hard, we've talked about it in other episodes, but I didn't have like a lot of time with my grandparents. Uh , one of my grandparents was already passed away before I was even born. So I only really had my grandma and did not have her in my life , um, to the point that we could really really hand down , um, traditions and I could learn traditions from her. Um, so a lot of , um , my identity as a Japanese person is stuff that I've had to like discover for myself.

Kiyoko:

Yeah, yeah, totally. Um, I'm definitely lucky to have received even like a little bit of influence from , uh, the elders in my family. Um, there were a lot of things obviously that , um, were missing from my childhood besides the language, like , um, a lot of the food wasn't really passed on to me until later in life. I mean, to be fair , I was like a really picky eater, really picky eater. Um , my poor families had to put up with that for a really long time. Um, I think the only parts of our culture, or, sorry, I just scratch it . Um , what I'm trying to say is , uh, I wish that more of it had been passed onto us when we were growing up because I'm dealing with being mixed race and being half food kind of leads , um , to early questions of where that places you within the community. Right. Totally. Um, not really having a term for who you are, not that labels are everything obviously, but as people who , um, are already dealing with feelings of not enough of anything , uh, that we are it's , uh, it's hard . It feels amazing to have a label for that return , at least for me. So my first introduction to , um , terms for , um , mixed Japanese people, even though this represents just like mixed Pacific Islander was the term Hapa, which I know , um, holds a lot of historical stigma around it. And , uh , our communities are trying to wean away from it to kind of hand it back to the Pacific Islanders , um, because it was their term to begin with. Um, but I first heard that term from , uh , a documentary that we've already mentioned , uh , by Jeff Chivas dress called one big happy family. And my dad forwarded it to me. I remember in an email when it was first released and he was like, you should watch this because it's blah, blah, blah. And I remember, I don't think I really like watched it at the time. I like watched like a little bit of it. And , um, what really struck out for me from that one was , uh , just the term Hapa and it felt so weird to finally have a term for what you, for what I am, even though I still, like, at that point was in a certain like amount of denial as to like what that was. I was like, Oh, well that still doesn't really like apply to me because I'm quarter Japanese. I'm not necessarily half. Right. Um, so it still didn't like feel all the way there. And then I don't think it was until , um, I started actually doing research for my documentary that , um, I started to come across a lot of the stigma around the term half or sorry, Hapa and some other terms or , uh, that could be used for it, like half. Oof . So , um, so we use the term Hafu uh, with this podcast and in our creative realms. So as to , um, yeah , try and help the different communities take back their terms , uh , with full respect, even though , um, we , we like being able to, to have terms for us. Um, yeah, I, I don't know. It , it was nice. It was kind of like , uh , finding the missing piece to a puzzle totally . That you've been trying to solve for like way too long, you know, you've been staring at something for like way too long and , uh, you just,

Sakura:

Yeah, totally. Yeah. Um, I first heard the term cause that's like what my parents called us. So I knew that term from the get-go , um , when I was really little, I would always miss, like, I wouldn't hear it properly. And I thought they were saying , um, HAFA , um , right. And I was like, okay, that kind of like makes sense. Cause we're like , um, half. So that kind of makes sense. Um, and then like in my , um, later single digits found out that it was Hapa , um, did not know that it was a Pacific Islander term until I was probably in high school when they did look into it. I did see that , um, it's use in Pacific Islander , um, communities , um, historically was negative. Um , which obviously most original terms for mixed race people are incredibly negative because

Kiyoko:

They're derogatory. They're usually very derogatory, even like , um , Hafu has a history of being used to call people like mutts and stuff like that. Yeah. Like in Japan. So there's a lot of like stigma around that term now, so , but it's hard to just straight up stop using it because it helped inform me better about my identity.

Sakura:

It's the term that our community use . Yeah. Um, like my dad used it when he was a child , um , a Hapa ,

Kiyoko:

Oh, sorry. I'm onto Hafu, but yes. Yeah.

Sakura:

Um , yeah. Um, and like I've gone to Japanese festivals, we're older Hafus have been like, Hey, are you Hapa? So it's definitely like an older generational term. Um, so yeah, like you were saying, the younger generations who are a little bit more , um , aware of where terms come from and who terms belong to them, what cultures they belong to. I am seeing a lot of people revert to , um , have Fu which is strictly Japanese. It's no other culture is strictly Japanese where in Canada Hapa meant any person of mixed Asian heritage. Yeah ,

Kiyoko:

For sure. Yeah. Um, yeah. And then I , I met a little bit of like a warning from Papa Hapa about it. Um, when I say Hapa no, well, he just like warned me because when he made one big hop a family that was like a lot of uproar over the use of the term Hapa because I was going to call my documentary, finding hapaness. Um, and he was like, just be aware, it's like, I have no problem with it, but here is , um, what to perhaps expect from that. Yeah.

Sakura:

We've even had someone from Japan reach out to us and be like, are you Pacific Islander, why are you using that term?

Kiyoko:

Yeah. And there's yeah. And we were like, well, technically Japan is a Pacific Island. Right. But , um , completely understanding like why , um, the term is not necessarily meant for us to use. It's just hard to not have something where we , where we, that we belong to .

Sakura:

It's been a part of our culture for so long now.

Kiyoko:

Totally. Yeah. It's just hard to not do it, but then using half foo and half OU has its own , um, derogatory history for it. But at least it's our term. Yeah. So we can, it's like specifically Japanese, so at least , um, it's, it's our turn to , uh, to use, to use and to change the meaning of

Sakura:

[inaudible] exactly. Over the years. Yeah, totally.

Kiyoko:

Yeah . Um, so we, I saw like a post on the, the Japanese Canadians Facebook group, like months ago and it was , um, somebody posted something that literally just said, okay, give me your that's so Japanese Canadian. And I thought it was so funny. And there were like hundreds of , uh, people from our community, like commenting things on it. So I thought that we , it might be fun for us to do yeah . Some stuff like that.

Sakura:

Yeah. Tell us your Japanese Canadian, without saying your Japanese TA tell us your Japanese Canadian.

Kiyoko:

So saying your Japanese Canadian, I've already said one of them in this episode where , um, you know, your Japanese Canadian, when you call all instant ramen support Sapporo. Yeah. You know, you're in, you know, you're Japanese Canadian when you call Japanese rice crackers, Sinbei instead of just rice crackers, which again is an episode that we've done previously. Um, and , um , then I had, you know, your Japanese Canadian when , um, your OBA son told you that you had to eat every single grain of rice in your bowl or else it was bad luck only to find out later that it wasn't really bad luck, but she just wanted you to not waste any of the rice, someone else to tell me if someone else's OBA son used to say that my oldest son used to tell my dad that all the time. Yeah . And then my dad like told all of his friends growing up, like, Oh, ancient, Japanese secret. And then I passed it on and he passed it onto me. And then I pass it on to my friends. And I remember we like consulted her about it. Um, like maybe five or six years ago. And she was like, Oh, Robert, cause that's my dad's name. Oh, Robert. Like, I only told you that cause you weren't eating your rice and I didn't want it to go to waste because you know, wartime time mentality. Right. Like you don't waste. Not want not, but like we like laughed. Cause we were like, Oh my God, like, do you understand how many of our friends we've told them?

Sakura:

How, how much we've spread this now across Canada.

Kiyoko:

Thanks. It's like this like Japanese wives tale, like you have to eat every single grain of rice is respect for your food. But it totally like in our defence, that totally sounds like something, our community would come up with a hundred percent. But yeah, something inherited after the war is the waste . Not one , not mentality. Totally. Did you have any ,

Sakura:

Um, probably like, you know, your Japanese Canadian, when you have a really, really hard time throwing away things that you could possibly have a use for on a later date, it literally drives my stepmom crazy. Cause we're from like our ancestors are from war times . So would never just throw away something you would hold on to everything and glue together a hundred percent duct tape it back together. And that was passed onto my grandparents was passed onto my dad. It was passed on to me. I have such a hard time getting rid of things that could potentially have a use. It's so difficult. Yeah.

Kiyoko:

Um, I also had, you know, your Japanese Canadian when you eat even just a single soba noodle for new years , Gorge for good luck and prosperity. That was like one of the only like actual traditions that was like actually Japanese that my grandmother, then my Obaasan.

:

passed o n t o us. It was like a non-negotiable for my family. You have to, s he w ent l ike this like 90 year old woman, b ut like call us up at midnight our time and be like, did you have your soba noodle? Oh my G od. She had like, I think one day my dad and I said that we didn't have soba noodles and she gave us her blessing to use a spaghetti noodle

Sakura:

Instead. Oh my God. Cause the,

Kiyoko:

The point is that it's like a long, it's supposed to be like a long noodle. Right. So it represents that you're going to have a long and prosperous like yeah . Year and life. We love health-wise to spaghetti noodles, spaghetti noodles, you know, same deal, ah , buckwheat versus, Oh, I can noodle completely different. Gorgeous. Um, yeah. So , so those are some of the traditions that we've like inherited , um, a little bit , uh, obviously it's not a lot, but it is what it is. Representation perhaps on , uh, the , the generations that were part of our families. Um, what are some traditions that you've kind of , uh, adopted like on your own?

Sakura:

Um, probably like , um, drinking, like traditional matcha. Yeah. Um, I don't like necessarily do like full tea ceremony, but the like , um, uh, the preparation yeah . Of the matcha and the drinking of the matcha is like very spiritual to me. Um, things like , um, forest baths, if you don't know what a forest bath is, it's a very Japanese thing where you , um, if you can, you're barefoot and you walk through a forest just to kind of , um, reconnect with the nature. Um, in our day and age, you want to make sure that you don't have any like electronic devices with you or anything like that. You're just, you're your raw self and you just reconnect with nature. Um, that's something that I always did. And then I had , um, uh, a Hafu friend of mine who was half Japanese, half Colombian be like, that is so Japanese. And I was like, what do you mean? And she's like, you should look up for us baths. And I did, and it is an actual Japanese thing. And I was like, Oh, okay. What can we say? It's genetic blackberries .

Kiyoko:

Yeah . That's how genetics work. Right.

Sakura:

Um, there's probably like lots that I'm just blanking on right now. Totally. But it's so funny. You like, you'll do something that you think is so specific to yourself and then you'll just happen upon it in Japanese culture. And you're like, Oh, like, that's why I do that. Like, there is intergenerational transmissions and memories and totally , uh , it's so funny. You should always just like reaffirms like my Japanese identity. Yeah,

Kiyoko:

Yeah. Something to that. Um , soccer and I did for the first time ever , uh , in 2020 was we celebrated Oban, Bano , Dory . We made ourselves some paper lanterns and we painted like , uh, our family symbols on it, some messages to her ancestors. Uh, and we, we put a candle on it , uh , or sorry in it. And we , uh, we lit it up and uh , left it outside for our ancestors someplace to go home to which I'd , I'd actually never heard of Oban. Um, but again, like great source of information, Japanese Facebook group, the Japanese Canadians Facebook group. I was like, Oh, that's something that I for sure want to do, especially , um, because I knew that my great-grandmother probably wouldn't last very much longer and my great-grandfather had passed away and technically he's my ancestor. And I just came back from Japan and I thought that like I connected in some ways with my ancestors. So I thought that it was a perfect time to, to call them home. Right. Little bit of a visit. Um, I also have like an altar set up at home and my oboe son , uh , shrine. Yeah. Um, so my grandparents were Buddhist , but my, my , uh, Obaasan , uh , adopted some Christian, Chris , some aspects of Christianity , um, like not severely, but she , um, she like had angels surrounding her. So her, she actually had an angel, a teeny tiny one that said August on it, she was born in August. Um, and she made it a tradition. She told me to give each of the women in our family , uh , an angel on their 16th birthday or something like that. So she gave me one and I have a couple of her angels up on my alter to represent her. I have a mini Buddha to represent my , uh, Obassan. And I have some photos of them. Uh, and I occasionally put rice out for them, which I think is super Japanese, but I just kind of like thought about it on my own. Um, but lots of Japanese families have like their, their alters at home for their ancestors to pay some respects.

Sakura:

Oh , hell yeah. I definitely do. Yeah. There's always a little bowl of rice.

Kiyoko:

Yeah. Well you never know when they're going to be hungry.

Sakura:

Yes . Yeah. My whole family is obviously Buddhist, but my dad did not , uh, carry off. He never took us to the Buddhist temple. I only went to the Buddhist temple because that's where our Tyco drumming practice was held . Oh yeah. So at least I got to, like, I was always in the temple, but we were never going to like service. Um, so yeah, that's, that's something that, yeah, I guess I've adopted is, is trying to have more Buddhism in my life. Yeah . Yeah.

Kiyoko:

Perfect. Um, and talking about what being Japanese Canadian means to us now, as compared to when we were growing up , um, little bit more of like a sensitive topic of conversation given the current state of affairs ,

Sakura:

Um , I guess all over the world now, because it's not

Kiyoko:

Any of this is new. It's just that a lot of , um, like racial profiling and stuff has been brought to light more recently,

Sakura:

It's being covered more. Usually when stuff happens to the Asian community, it's not talked about, it's just kind of swept under the rug because

Kiyoko:

We're the same as Caucasian people.

Sakura:

But because , um , so much of like the recent violence is specifically linked towards the pandemic. Now we're starting to get a little bit of acknowledgement for the racism we have to deal with. Yeah . Which for a lot of people, it may seem like this is a new thing. Like it's just happening because of the pandemic, but mama , do your research, just look back, just do your research.

Kiyoko:

It's definitely led both of us. I know to do a lot of like reflection on some of the racial profiling that even we have experienced , um, some things that I have had to like look back on and, and look at like a much darker light things that I didn't really like see as racial profiling at the time, but 100% were, 100%. So that's kind of like an unfortunate downside to being Japanese Canadian today, but it also forces like experiences like that kind of force us to , um, come back to the resilience of our community and use it as a tool to be pro proactive about it, to inform and to , um, support each other. So,

Sakura:

Cause that's what being Japanese means to me now is doing the opposite of what our ancestors did. So instead of being complacent and being quiet and just trying to survive, I don't need to survive. I want to thrive.

Kiyoko:

It's the end of [inaudible] . So if

Sakura:

That means I need to be loud, if that means I need to be, you know, more forceful with things I have to be more in people's faces, which in our community is very not , um , a cultural thing, then that's what we're going to have to do. And maybe that's what the third and the fourth and the fifth generations that's our role in the community is to be the loud outspoken people to stand up against injustice.

Kiyoko:

Yeah, totally hashtag end of she cut the gun. I Oh my God. Um , so that's kind of something , um, that we're hoping you're seeing it the way that we are in that it we're kind of flipping something that is a little bit sad into something very powerful , uh, for us and our identities. Now I'm definitely finding so much strength in our mixed identity , especially now. Um, now that are the Sansei, the Yonsei , uh, and go say , so that's the third, fourth and fifth generations and ongoing , um, are actually coming together to , uh, to restrengthen the communities. So we're really, really finding so much strength, especially recently, again, given , uh , world events within our community , uh, with, with our mixed identities and , um, being, making sure that everyone feels accepted and to the community. And no one feels , um, like an outsider, not enough of anything we are all together and we've all been there and , uh , we're all brothers and sisters. So that's something that being Japanese Canadian means to me now, something that I've experienced personally from the community and working really hard on contributing to , um, finding community in general has been like a huge strength. Um, we've said it a million times during the series, but just , um, talking to anyone who's Japanese Canadian is off like more often than not. Like I actually can't personally recall a negative experience , um, just because you're immediately embraced as like a relative. Right. Um, and it's really, really incredible to see stuff like that because I've never experienced anything like that before. Um, we've got people in our community who are really holding us together and really like uplifting us and have been for, you know, a couple of decades. We've got the , uh, the people over at the NAJC the national association of Japanese Canadians with the current president, Lorraine Kawa , who we'll definitely talk about , uh , in the final episode of the series a little bit in regards to redress. Um , but we've got , uh , Papa. Hoppa my God who we've talked about it also a couple of times in this episode, but I'm just a server knows it's Jeff cheapest strings . Uh, we , we joked one time that he was Papa Hoppa and we realized how absolutely accurate the term was. So help us spread that one around , uh, yeah, really incredible to have people like that around , um, honestly buildings like VJLS, Japanese hall are really amazing , um, for representing the Japanese Canadian community now,

Sakura:

Especially since like what once was Japan town here on the West coast, in Vancouver no longer exists. So there's very few buildings that are from our past, and this is one that is still here.

Kiyoko:

And it's like in shrouded amongst like the downtown East. Right. So it's, it's , uh , considered part of the downtown East side. Cause it is, but it's , um, in a negative light, right? Like we're behind Oppenheimer Park , um , or there is a tent city that was rated last year. Um, and so a lot of like city planning is pushing a lot of like this part of the city to become the outskirts of Vancouver. Um, but , uh, it's awesome to see buildings and structures like VJLS and Japanese hall to just remain standing here, especially because of what it represents historically. Um, got some history here for us. So , um, for those who don't know, Vancouver, Japanese language school and Japanese hall was actually founded in 1906. Um, it was originally like they used to teach many subjects like maths and sciences, as well as English and Japanese. And then in , uh, 1919, they decided that it was time to, to convert it to only a Japanese language school. Um, yeah, I did. Uh, and it was really vital at the time, especially for community organizations, bringing people together. We got a little bit of a glimpse of the hall today that is usually quite busy, but obviously due to COVID, there are a lot of things that are not, are not up and going up and running. Um, in 1941, the school's kind of forced to close for obvious reasons for people to know the timeline. Uh, and then in 1942, once the Japanese Canadians of the area were VACU waited , um, we're air quoting by the way , uh, were evacuated. Um, the Japanese language school was actually occupied by Canadian armed forces. Uh, and then , uh, in 1947, the government sold half of the bigger Japanese language, school property , um, to the , uh, sorry to the army and Navy department store until 1952, which is , uh, around the time that the Japanese Canadian community started to campaign to reclaim the building and they successfully did so in 1953 , um, where they got all parts of the school back. So , uh , if you come down to , uh, Powell street Alexander street, which is where VJLS is in Vancouver , uh, you'll see two different entrances. There's the original building , uh , that just has the header Japanese hall over it. And then there's the newer building. The by to the Y2K as our girl Mika has called it for us. She is the current 2000 , uh, yeah. Coordinator at VJLS. Um, yeah, she called it the Y2K because it says to the year 2000 , uh , above it slowly started building the new building, which is where, which is where we're in Vancouver, Japanese language school in the similar same , same tiling style too , is the original header. So that's really awesome. But yeah, having , um, been through a situation where, you know, the school was taken over by the very powers that were taking our people away and taking a lot of other things away , um, and then being able to reclaim it and turn it back into a successful , uh, language school that teaches children has daycares really, really awesome , uh, children's programs that are offered here right now that are pretty new. Um, and then continuing to restore parts of the building and develop the newer building , um, for future use is really, really incredible, very important, a really strong symbol of the resilience of this community. Um, and then finally we have events, obviously like Hapalooza, Powell street festival, all of the markets, one of which is happening today. Um, Friday, April 16th, gorgeous the Vancouver market. Beautiful. Um, all of those things are kind of what being Japanese Canadian means to us now. That's really awesome. The resilience

Sakura:

Of it, all the resilience of it all.

Kiyoko:

So make sure that you tune in again next week for the final episode of the VJLS x Hafu it, homemade pilgrimage. Um , it will be our final episode of season one, and then we'll be taking a couple months off from the podcast, a little bit of a hiatus , um, but we're really, really honoured to be here and to be filming all of this with all of you, make sure you check the description down below, we'll be carrying , uh, as many of the links from previous episodes onward as well, and as well as some , uh , information on VJLS on , um , Hapalooza, Powell street festival, all of the events like that, so that we can all learn together

Sakura:

Gorgeous. So if you would like to follow our podcast, you can follow us at , um , @hafuit um, on Instagram. Uh, we have lots of stuff that we post on our Instagram. Um, if you want to follow me on Instagram, you can follow me @saku. miki,

Kiyoko:

You want to fall on me. I am on Instagram and Twitter @thisiskiyoko. And , um, if you are listening to our podcast and you want a chance to see our beautiful faces, head on over to our YouTube channel, we are the Hafu It Podcast, and you'll probably recognize our a black and white logo gorgeous as you got on there. Thank you all for tuning in. We will talk to you again next week. [inaudible] .