Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mia Naoko's First 100 Days

American Mishima is proud to share this video we produced of our daughter's first 100 days of life.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

百日祝い 100 Days Celebration

Earlier on American Mishima, we reported last November of 2011 how Tina and I were blessed to bring little Mia Naoko Rosas into this world. As such as our love for  all things Japanese, we had chosen to raise our daughter in our adoptive traditions of Shinto and the Buddhist Temple. Being that we ourseleves are not Nihon-jin or live in Japan, we are quite aware of the cultural challenges that are in store for us but for now we would not concern ourselves with such issues and instead focus on our child’s well being and spiritual foundation so that she may have a life of happiness and success. For this we would plan for two important life cycle ceremonies covering both Shinto and Buddhism.

In Japan there are lesser known rituals that take place within the first seven days after birth. Of course, we were not aware of them largely because we did not grow up with them. But not to worry. Our first mission was to take our little girl to the only Shinto Shrine available to us for the Hatsumiyamairi or known as the O-Miya mairi.お宮参りwhich is done for girls on the baby’s 32nd day of life. We accomplished last December at the Grand Tsubaki Shrine of North America in Granite Falls Washington. (See Hatsumiyamairi - Babys First Shrine Visit).

In accordance with Buddhist tradition we gathered both immediate family and a small group of close friends to join us for what is known as the is O-Kuizomeお食い初め(Hyakunichi iwai百日祝い), 100 Days Blessing. It is performed on the 100th day after baby birth for its happiness and prosperity. This was done on February 14th, 2012 at the Los Angeles Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo with retired Bishop Emertus Taisen Miyata before family and friends. Given the Temple’s aging congregation and declining attendance, Hyakunichi Iwai had not been performed for some time. For this we were fortunate to have retired Miyata Sensei presiding over the blessing of a new life and perhaps new hope for the temple which itself is about to celebrate it's 100 year anniversary of it's founding in Los Angeles.

Now twenty years ago back when I was a Neo-Pagan, the idea of doing a non-Catholic ceremony with my father was out of the question. But that was then and this is now. For this child we did the honorable thing to do and asked my father to attend which we were happy to have both my parents and my dear aunt Irma in attendance. As with the earlier Hatsumiyamairi, Mia was blessed in a Japanese way thus completing the first two important life cycle ceremonies before Shichi-Go-San. All of these ritual ceremonies are for receiving baby's appreciation to nature, and expectation of its peace, happiness and prosperity.
As parents, we do this out of love and not out of obligation or blind adherence to traditions we may not fully grasp. We are well aware of what potential problems we will face particularly when Mia is of school age dealing with Judeo-Christians who may question or attempt invalidate our motives as parents. Life is full of challenges. If there is one thing our spirituality may have in common with our critics is the knowledge that a spiritual framework to build a good moral code and appreciation for the divine in nature is better than sending a child through life aboard a rudderless ship to their own devices. There, perhaps we may agree upon.

While this might be for everyone regardless of ancestry, we do this so our child has a solid if not unique spiritual foundation and a successful life she may one day have with the knowledge that her parents love her very much.
The Rosas Clan
In Gassho

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Never Forget - Never Again

Imagine one day you wake up and here that your government has declared you a security risk. You suddenly are no longer a citizen, that you no longer have the right to attend school, own a business, own money, or your home. Worse, you have to abandon everything you own and report to an assembly point to board a train to some far off concentration camp and all because of your ancestry? Sounds like Nazi Germany right? Well this wasn't the Third Reich. This happened right here in the City of Angels some 70 years ago this week in the United States of America.

December 7th, 1941 may have been declared a "Day of Infamy," but today marks marks the 70th anniversary of President Roosevelt signing of Executive Order 9066 - The forced relocation of all people of Japanese Ancestry from the West Coast and Hawaii. A shameful chapter in our history and one that should never be repeated.

Never Forget - Never Again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ljungberg Leaves Shimizu S-Pulse

Former Swedish national, Arsenal, & Seattle Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has left the J-League's Shimizu S-Pulse after only six months to return to europe. Ljungberg and Shimizu president Yasuhito Takeuchi mutally agreed to end his contract citing differences in vision. ほんと? Ljungberg scored some 46 goals for Arsenal and another two for Westham United before signing in 2009 to the MLS's newest team the Seattle Sounders FC. There he would go onto to score another two goals before being traded in 2010 to a brief stint with the Chicago Fire where he would score another two goals before leaving the MLS for Celtic where he didn't score at all. Ljungberg has had a history of injuries to his hamstring which has plaugued his more recent career. In Seattle he was regarded as prickly amoung his team mates which contributed to his trade for Columbian Striker Fredy Montero. In 2011, Freddie Ljungberg appeared in only eight J-League games and three cup matches with Shimizu S-Pulse without scoring. Nowhere on the net has the language barrier been cited as the issue just differences in vision. Ljungberg has stated his utmost respect for Japan and his team mates but it takes more than respect to be on top in the J-League. Shimizu finished 10th out of 18 teams during his tenure there. Shimizu S-Pulse has put out a statement moving forward with players that share the same vision. We are not sure if that was a swipe at Ljungberg or not but after not getting their 60 Million Yen per year's worth on an 18 month contract we can't blame them. Personally, Shimizu is being awfully polite - very Japanese. While Freddie may not have felt this was the right project for him all we can say is さよなら Swede!

Friday, February 10, 2012

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day

Featured in this photo by Takeshi Ogawa Oshiro, are a group of modern day Ainu アイヌ - the indigenous people of Hokkaido, Kuril Islands, and much of Russian held Sakhalin. We chose to feature this photo that was originally posted on Facebook because historically the Ainu do not get much press or respect in Japan yet their place in Northern Japan's history is undeniable.

For one good depiction of the Ainu on film American Mishima reccomends the 2005 Toei Film  北の零年-Year One in the North starring Sayuri Yoshinaga & Ken Watanabe (See official movie poster). 北の零年(Kita no zeronen) is the story of a Samurai Clan from the south that is exiled to Ezo (Present Day Hokkaido) at the end of the Samurai Era in the late Nineteenth Century to make due in a rugged hostile land where nothing will grow and the winters are harsh.

Year One in the North is an outstanding film full of many moving performances and one of Ken Watanabe's most difficult roles to watch. This film is available in the US with English subtitles. I won't give away the film or the role of the Ainu but I will simply leave you with this film trailer without subtitles so you can get the jist of this deeply emotional historical drama.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 Hoshimatsuri

Here's a few images from the Los Angeles Koyasan Temple's 2012 Hoshimatsuri Star Festival taken today in Little Tokyo.

Similar to the Goma Fire Ritual, the Heart Sutra is recited while good fortune abounds to your Star Sign.

A pair of famous faces from Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" resident actors Yoshi Ando & Akira Kaneda are in attendance.
Every Hoshimatsuri invites each years reigning Nisei Week Queen who kindly offers you the traditional Hoshimatsuri soy beans to eat as many as the years you are old or to throw at the Oni while chanting Oni no Soto to drive misfortune away.

2012 is going to be a year of fortune!