Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sakura Matsuri: Lantern Lighting Ceremony in Washington D.C.

This last April 10th saw the annual Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony in Washington DC's Cherry Blossom Festival. This ceremony marks the 60 year old gift from Japan which is over 350 years old and sits by the Tidal Basin and is only lit once a year.
Lighting the Stone Lantern was Ms. Miyuko Niwa (seen here in the beautiful kimono) who is the 2016 Japan Princess, chosen by the local Japanese community in the D.C. area. She lit the lantern with the help of a member of the National Park Service. 
Current Japanese Ambassador Kinichiro Sasae delivered these words before a large crowd that included Cherry Blossom Princesses selected by Japanese American Communities: "One day this lantern of friendship will have spent as much time in this country as in Japan and some future Japanese Ambassador will be standing here talking about the ancient friendship between Japan and the United States."
We evidently didn't know this Stone Lantern was there or we would have stopped by on our trip to Washington D.C. last year but happy to see this here. We at American Mishima would like to give Ambassador Sasae and the Government of Japan a big ども ありがとう and wish for our two nations continued friendship for generations to come!

Kumamoto Disaster Relief: JMSDF Hyuga in Action

On April 19th following the Kumamoto Quakes, Japan's JMSDF deployed it's "Helicopter Destroyer" Hyuga (DDH-181) to assist in disaster relief operations. The following photos show a USMC V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey landing on the Hyuga's deck to deliver additional supplies. 
USMC V-22 on approach.
 "Call your ball!"
Seen here: Hyuga's crew offloads relief from the USMC V-22 on Hyuga's deck. Other JMSDF ships including the much larger "Helicopter Destroyer" Izumo (DD-183) are being deployed along with U.S. Navy ships to help in relief efforts. We at American Mishima support these efforts to help the people of Kumamoto. Ganbatte Kudasai!

Kumamoto Quake: Aso Jinja Destruction

Seen here is the Romon (Gate) of the Aso Shrine in all its magnificent splendor as it looked prior to the Kumamoto Earthquakes. As you may have heard, the Aso Shrine which is one of the oldest Shinto Shrines in Japan suffered extensive damage leaving most of the complex in complete ruin. Shrines have been rebuilt before but this will be a long undertaking. The following photo shows how the Romon looks now. 
Terrible is it not?
Here's the Haiden ( Hall of Worship) before.
Here it is again after the Kumamoto Quakes. 

According to sources, both the Romon and Haiden collapsed at the same time around 1:23am Saturday April 16th. We at American Mishima are both saddened by the loss of life and the destruction of such cultural treasures. While the Shrines, Temples, and Castles can be rebuilt, the lives lost can not be recovered. We will continue to pray for the people of Japan.

Monday, April 18, 2016

U.S. Marines to the Rescue in Kumamoto

Seen here in this photo by Cpl. Jessica Collins USMC are V-22 Ospreys of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265,  31st Marine Expeditionary Unit preparing to lift off from their base at Futenma Air Station to assist the Japan's SDF in Earthquake Relief efforts. Much like the efforts of Operation Tomodachi in the days following the Tohoku Disaster on 3/11, American Military Units throughout Japan are lending a helping hand to the people stricken by the earthquakes that have hit the area in and around Kumamoto Prefecture.
As of late, some 42 people are reported dead from the two powerful earthquakes and some 110,000 people have been forced to evacuate. With American help, the SDF will be able to reach villages and other areas inaccessible by roads due to earthquake damage. We at American Mishima will continue to pray for the People affected by this disaster and hope relief comes to them soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Farewell Kako Sensei

On this day of April 15th, 2016, our beloved Reverend Keishin Kako returns home to Japan. Over the last four years he has been instrumental in transitioning the Los Angeles Koyasan Betsuin in Little Tokyo through a series of changes at the iconic Buddhist Temple. But with his Visa expired, it was time to return to Japan thus completing his four year mission here in Los Angeles. He will be returning to his home at the Hosenji Temple in Hyogo Japan where his family has run for generations. We do not know if we will ever make to Japan but if we do we will most certainly visit him and hope he will visit here again as he has promised. He has been the friend to many, and a teacher of both Shingon Buddhism and Japanese Culture. Kako Sensei is also a master of Japanese Calligraphy who hand prints every one of his cards.
It was just a month ago that we took this photo with Kako Sensei at a Koyasan Temple Luncheon held in his honor at the Universal Hilton. He has been quite an inspiration who helped inspire some of our Buddhist archetypes in our American Mishima novels. We will certainly miss his benevolence, friendship, and his unique Buddha-like nature. We wish him success. Never to say Sayonara, but to our dear friend who we will one day see again, Mata ne'! So long, farewell, Arigatou,' & Ganbatte kudasai! Until we meet again!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Shinzen Kekkon Shiki - Our Shinto Wedding

As we have previously written here, yours truly Louis Edward Rosas (American Mishima Author) was married to Tina Rosas in a traditional Japanese Shinto Wedding at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America in Granite Falls Washington State this past March 26th.The ceremony was officiated by the resident Guji(Shinto Priest) the Rev. Koiichi Barrish and his wife Mrs. Chika Barrish. Photo's by resident Shrine Photographer Joe Melberg and Kimono Rental & Kimono Dressing by our friend Kiyomi of KOTOBUKI Kimono of Seattle. We could not have asked for a more beautiful ceremony. Everything was as if divined by nature. Tina and I hope to live many long years in happiness together.We hope you wish us the same.

GAGAKU in Shinto Wedding

As some of our readers may already know, you're truly was married on March 26th in a Shinto Wedding at the Grand Tsubaki Shrine of America in Granite Falls Washington State. One question people have asked us was if there was any music played in the opening of the ceremony. For those not familiar, GAGAKU - the Imperial Court Music of Japan (most typically heard at New Years) was played for the opening moments which made for a most mystically auspicious beginning to this wonderful new chapter of our lives. While we do not have the exact track on hand for you to sample, this video from 2014 is pretty close.
Please Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

JMSDF Makes Port Of Call at Subic Bay

As tensions continues to grow over territorial disputes in the South China Seas, three JMSDF vessels including the diesel-electric attack Oyashio Class Submarine Oyashio (SS-590), and destroyers JDS Arike (DD-109) & JDS Setogiri (DD-156) make their first Port of Call to the Philippines in over 15 years. This visit to the former U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay is just 200 KM from a Chinese held shoal they claim is their sovereign territory which they have been militarizing with artificial islands whose boundaries overlap territorial waters of several nations. It should be noted that one third of the world's oil is transported through the sea lanes in the South China Seas and for the PRC to claim nearly the entire sea as their own has created some serious problems for the region. Ten years ago, the Chinese Navy was just another regional power. Now out of nowhere, they are claiming nearly an entire sea as their own sovereign territory (which they are threatening to fight over) right in the middle of international sea lanes which presents a big problem for global commerce. As it stands, the Philippines do not have the military resources to argue with the Chinese Navy on the high seas. Japan has agreed to help upgrade the Philippines with upgraded military hardware but ultimately it will be up to the JMSDF and the United States Navy to keep the peace. Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, & Brunei also have found themselves in Beijing's cross hairs in this South China Seas dispute with China drawing ire from all around. We all know this is bad for business and the Chinese economy thrives on business as does it's neighbors. As we have stated before, we hope that cooler heads and peace prevails. But of course, we know this is not the end this ongoing saga so we shall say for now: To be Continued.....