Sessions 4 & 5

For those of you assigned to blog for Session 4, were you surprised to learn CBOs like JANM and LTSC were comprised of one staff worker during the beginning? What are some qualities a person and/or community must have to build a successful organization?  Is there something you are passionate about that you’d like to see in this community?

Also, since you’re writing for Session 5, write up 2-3 questions relating to your final project theme. Ex: “When you think of Little Tokyo what do you see?” (theme: Little Tokyo Past, Present, and Future)

For those of you who were not assigned, please respond to them (it does not have to be all of them, just the ones you find interesting) Feel free to post your own questions as well.


3 Responses

  1. Hello Everyone~

    First, I just want to say that I have really enjoyed getting to know you all a little better as we progress through more sessions of Project: Community. I think as we work together toward our Final Projects, the idea of “community” has grown infinitely amongst ourselves.

    I am going to admit that I do not remember the entirety of Session 4, but I will try my best to answer the provided questions. While I do think it’s somewhat hard to believe that big-time CBO’s such as JANM and LTSC started out with only one staff member, I think it’s testament to just how far we’ve come as a community. Every organization has its beginning, whether it’s started by ten people or just one individual. Even though I don’t have first-hand perspective on this, I’m sure for that one staff member who started JANM or LTSC, or any other organization for that matter, he/she must be very proud and overwhelmed by the growth and interest that has formed around such CBO’s. I know for me–one who considers herself an active member of the JA community–it is very inspiring and heartwarming to see such interest in the preservation and progression of our community and the results of that.

    Something I would personally like to see in the community is more interaction between the generations. I know that with my own grandpa, he has so many stories of his childhood in Japan and his assimilation process in Los Angeles that he loves to share with our family. I’m sure that there are plenty of older generation individuals who would like to share their stories with the younger generation–only, there isn’t always a time and place for that. As the succeeding generation, I think we should really make a point of listening to the stories before they are lost forever. I know that there is a website sponsored through JANM called “Discover Nikkei,” which was created for a similar purpose. It’s an online forum in which people can post stories and pictures for others to view. I’ve visited the website several times, and it’s neat to read some of the stories people have posted. I really encourage you all to check it out:

    You can follow the link entitled “Stories” and browse the website. There’s some really interesting material!

    For the Final Project, my group has been assigned the theme: Little Tokyo: Past, Present, and Future. Here are a few questions you can consider:

    1. Looking at Little Tokyo now, you probably have a sense of your favorite eateries, shops, and comforts. Say in ten years from now, what do you hope to still see [i.e. Curry House and Kinokuniya in Weller Court, Rafu Bussan, etc.] and/or what else would you like to see [movie theater, rec center, etc.]?

    2. In our sessions, we have already gone over our “ideal Little Tokyos.” However, for each individual, it is most likely different. If you had to choose one place within Little Tokyo that to you, personally, represents the whole community, what place would you choose? [For instance, for me, if I had to choose one place that characterizes Little Tokyo for me, I would probably choose Rafu Bussan.]

    3. What is your first memory of Little Tokyo? Would you want something similar for your children in the future? Why?

  2. When I think of Little Tokyo and the community based organizations that are based there, the words that come to mind are camaraderie, family, and community spirit. In today’s ever growing and ever changing society, organizations that have their roots in Little Tokyo such as LTSC and JANM are synonymous with these words…or so I thought. It was during Session 4 when we learned that the Little Tokyo Service Center and the Japanese American National Museum were each started by only one staff worker, when realization set in. Ok, maybe not at that exact moment, but after a few days and even a couple weeks of thinking about it off and on, that realization of how two prominent community based institutions were each started by only one staff worker hit me as simply amazing.
    While typing this blog I have realized that the main quality a person and/or community must have to build a successful organization is heart. Organizations tainted with materialism, political aspirations or self promotion will never lead to a long term and successful organization. Instead one must have the heart and passion to persevere against all odds until their goals of the organization are met. So going back to my words of camaraderie, family, and community spirit, these were probably goals that the founders wanted their organizations to achieve. However it was not these goals or ideals that made the Little Tokyo Service Center and the Japanese American National Museum the successful institutions they are today. In reality, it was the heart of the volunteers and countless others who gave up their time and effort again and again to work towards building what their heart told them was important, the family and community spirit that is in Little Tokyo.

    The thing that I am most passionate about in the Little Tokyo community is being able to understand the history of Little Tokyo and its connection to the Japanese Americans. I want to learn more about the Japanese American’s history in this community so that I can pass it down to future generations. I spent my preschool and kindergarten years going to school in Little Tokyo at the Nishi Hongwanji and later returned to Nishi during my elementary school years to attend summer cultural awareness classes at Saishin Dojo. Having so many great memories and experiences in Little Tokyo as a young child, I wish that the future generations would have the same opportunities that I did, to experience the Japanese culture while also understanding the struggles that our past generations went through.

    My final project theme is “Civil Rights”

    1) What are some ways that we can ensure that Japanese Americans or any race in general is not discriminated against?

    2) What are the most effective ways to voice your opposition towards a law or act? (ex. Rallies, protests, petitions)

  3. Community based organizations are organizations that are very important to our community. It was very interesting to me that organizations such as LTSC and JANM were started by only one person. Looking at how these organizations flourished that one person must have a lot of passion for the organization they were starting. They thought it was very important to have places like the Little Tokyo Service Center and the Japanese American National Museum to inform the future generations such as us. Qualities that a community must have is a sense of togetherness. We want for the future generations to be able to know about their culture. The people within the community also have to want it. They are the ones that really keep the community based organizations running. They volunteer their time and put in the extra effort to keep these organizations running.

    In Little Tokyo we all have our sentimental places it could be a restaurant, Fugetsudo, or just some place that you used to go when you were little. After the retreat i got a sense that the San Francisco Japantown is as community based as our Little Tokyo and so something that I am passionate about is to create a stronger communication between the two Japantowns and so we can help the SF Japantown and they could help us.

    My groups theme is JA events and people.
    1. Which events have shaped the JA community? Who have shaped the JA community?
    2. Is there one key instance that completely changed the face of the JA community.
    3. Which current events do we still participate in?

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