Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last Crewman of Enola Gay is Dead

69 years ago no one could have ever imagined the destructive weapon about to be unleashed upon the City of Hiroshima and its doomed inhabitants. But that was war and here we are today. So as Obon season comes to a close, the last surviving crewman of the infamous B-29 Enola Gay (which dropped the bomb over Hiroshima) Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk has passed away of natural causes at the age of 93.

Van Kirk flew many missions in North Africa and Europe against the Nazi's but it was his one mission against Japan that made him synonymous with the deaths of over 140,000 people and ending the war. He was once asked if he would do it again. His complex answer goes as such: "Under the same circumstances -- and the key words are 'the same circumstances' -- yes, I would do it again. We were in a war for five years. We were fighting an enemy that had a reputation for never surrendering, never accepting defeat. It's really hard to talk about morality and war in the same sentence. In a war, there are so many questionable things done. Where was the morality in the bombing of Coventry, or the bombing of Dresden, or the Bataan death march, or the Rape of Nanking, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor? I believe that when you're in a war, a nation must have the courage to do what it must to win the war with a minimum loss of lives." Van Kirk would write about this and many more detailed accounts of his experience in his book "My True Course." His passing marks another close for the Showa Era and that of those Hibakusha still alive.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Obon Memories: Terminal Island

While many people visit Temples and the graves of their ancestors this Obon, let us not forget entire communities that have also passed on. For this we chose to visit the Terminal Island Memorial in San Pedro California with it's iconic stone Tori Gate that stands without color like a faded memory of the lively once thriving Japanese-American Community that was bulldozed by the US Navy after the forced internment of all US Citizens of Japanese Ancestry.  When you arrive there it is hard to believe that this barren strip of wharf was once home to some 3000 Nikkei and their families with houses, trees, and a real Shinto Jinja. All that remains are the ghostly reminders of the people that spoke their own distinct dialect of Japanese and once made this place unique. While it is off the beaten path there are many signs that will show you the way there. It is if the spirits of the place want you to visit and during Obon it is the perfect time to do it. Gassho!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hatsubon: When Obon Gets Personal

Every second weekend in July has the annual Obon festival throughout the many temples in Little Tokyo. This year however became most personal. If you have been reading our blog you'll know that we have had two deaths in our family this year making us a family in mourning also known as "Hatsubon." Traditionally Hatsubon family members attend the Obon service and offer a candle and memorial plaque to the deceased family members. In my case I offered two candles, one for my uncle Enrique Rosas and for my father Luis Rosas. No members of uncle's family were in attendance thus I represented them as well as my own. My mother was too ill to travel from Arizona so her sister Irma Dominguez stood in for her in her place.
Seen here are the two memorial plaques representing our family. Green candle for Enrique Rosas and Red Candle for Luis Rosas.
Additional offerings to our ancestors were also made at the bamboo altar seen below.
An offering of rice and water is made here for the hungry spirits that come at Obon.
Despite our losses, The Rosas Clan will live on.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ichiro Dreams In Color Relaunched!

The first illustrated American Mishima book by Louis Edward Rosas has been re-released with larger type and additional artwork as a revised 2nd Edition.  You'll find it to be larger, easier to read, and easier to understand. Check for Kindle Format availability.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 50 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Second Edition edition (July 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1500354783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1500354787
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.1 inches
To order your copy of the new book click the following link: