CNN: Is There Something Missing Here?


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Soap box time.

Not that I have the time.

But I am upset.

CNN.  When will you TRULY report facts to us citizens as a nation?

Here is your website right now.  The morning of October 22, 2013.  Please look at it.

Where is your factual coverage of the Obamacare fiasco?  Please tell us Americans as a nation who is signing UP for Obamacare…and who is NOT… and how MANY… and tell us Americans what the deductibles are for the most basic “affordable” insurance plans.  I heard it was TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  That’s just for starters.  Oh.  By the way…  my military buddy (with a wife and baby) just got his pay docked for another $200 for an increase in health insurance premiums…and this is after his pay was CUT during the Sequester.  Report on that, please.

Where is your factual coverage of the Benghazi coverup?  Have you forgotten about it?  While I feel terrible about the teacher that was slain and reported on your webpage above, what about the unpursued murders of FOUR other Americans?  Actually, I feel there are three distinct venues of coverup here that you fail to report on: (1) the failure to protect our four Benghazi friends who are now dead; (2) a concerted, planned release of information to blame the attack on a then recently released anti-Muslim MOVIE, and (3) the White House’s blatant refusal to inform the American public where their President was during the terrorist attack.  (Whew.  A bit long-winded here.  Sorry.  Getting upset does that to me.)  Let’s remember to report on the intimidation of the officials and whistleblowers who know of the Benghazi facts under Hillary, OK?

Where is your coverage on the IRS targeting of conservative or pro-Israel groups prior to Obama’s re-election?  Odd, isn’t it?  Why aren’t you raising a stink about why it occurred, who ordered it, whether there was any White House involvement or coverup and whether there was an initial effort to hide who knew about the targeting and when?  And to have the big IRS lady boss plead the FIFTH?  My gawd.  Why, CNN?

And… please don’t forget the IRS mailed $4.2 billion in child-credit checks to “undocumented immigrants” during the same period!

Where is your coverage of (you-dropped-it-off-the-radar screen) President Obama “exercising” Executive Privilege to protect Holder and the “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-running fiasco?  Are you afraid of harming President Obama or his supporters?  Please remember you made a BIG thing out of the unfortunate death of a kid “who could have been (his) son” – but don’t seem to care about the Federal agent who was killed by one of those Fast and Furious guns?  Wow.

Lastly…

Where is your story on Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security being “out of funds”…  but NEVER welfare?  I feel that is important.  Just how can these issues NOT receive proper coverage, CNN?  They are IMMENSELY important to MANY Americans.  Please report on this… objectively.  But I’m sure you don’t hear me.

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dog oba2

But succinctly, Obamacare has been funded.  Big businesses and those with influence have been exempted from it.  America’s debt ceiling has been raised again.  (Please remember, welfare never runs out of money but Medicare and Social Security does.)  And most of all, the actions of EVERYONE in Washington has served to decrease our faith in our elected leaders.  We all suffered to some extent…but did they stop paying themselves?  And consider that even if they put themselves under Obamacare, it is superficial; they will always pass laws to exempt themselves eventually.  Their insurance plan is the greatest…and we pay for it with the (now increased) national debt.

That sucks.

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My purpose was but to express my views on the state of affairs affecting our great country… and the growing divide fueled by one-sided media.    I am one of those but luckily turn to our blogs for facts or viewpoints.  Are we heading into an internet-based civil war?  As certainly as America has a gadzillion more issues unmentioned here, there are those whose views are surely very unlike mine…

Please express your views, too, and kindly.

But perhaps, one “growing” unifying view is…  our elected officials are not well liked.

🙂

Thanks for reading.

My Portal To The Heavens


What a wonderful, wonderful story and memory from childhood…

The Chatter Blog

In front of the old house the tree used to stand.  Now, it was just the remains.  But the remains still stood.

It was just an old tree stump.  Oddly placed in front of the house.  But when I added my imagination it became a portal to the heavens.  

Upon it, I climbed, and stood.

I looked left.  I looked right.  To my left was the lane leading to the main road a quarter of a mile away.  It seemed like a very long road at the time.   To my right was a field that led to “the water”.   But I couldn’t see the water.  I could only see a pathway through the fields.

I stood upon my portal and I sang.   Loudly.   “When the saints come marching in”.

I looked to my right.   I belted out “oh when the saints come marching in”.

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Dear Mama – A Farewell Letter


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Uncle Suetaro (L) and my dad (R). Taken from the Hiroshima house with Mt. Suzugamine in background. Circa 1929

During my visit to my father’s childhood home in Hiroshima last summer, I was entrusted with hundreds of vintage family photos and mementos.  I brought them back here stateside, promising my Hiroshima family I would “restore” them.

Well, after a good start, I developed a painful case “tennis elbow” from using the mouse so much during the retouching process.  Sadly, it came to a screeching halt sometime in November last year.

But one very, very special item was entrusted with me – my Uncle Suetaro’s war diary.

Although born an American citizen in Seattle with the rest of his siblings, he was writing this war diary as a sergeant in the Japanese Imperial Army.

The last entry was a farewell letter to his Mother.

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The photo above had been secreted away behind another photo that was in Uncle Suetaro’s album.  He meticulously kept the album up to the time of war.  His oldest brother, my Uncle Yutaka, had conscientiously sent him family photos they had taken in Chicago and Los Angeles before imprisonment.  Suetaro complimented the photos with his beautiful Japanese calligraphy, written in a silver, whitish ink.

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The photo of Uncle Suetaro and my dad shown at the beginning was so very tiny – but there was something Uncle Suetaro loved about it to keep it.  I wish I knew what it was.

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Actual size

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Uncle Suetaro was killed as a sergeant major of the Japanese Imperial Army on Leyte apparently near a town called “Villaba”.  Below is an actual page from a “war diary”, an official report written and published by the US Army.  Villaba is located on the western shore of Leyte but not far from Ormoc Bay, which was a killing field for Japanese ships by US aircraft.

Page 109
Source: US Army 81st Infantry Division Headquarters / Report of Operations

His remains were never recovered.  In the family grave are his tiny pieces of his fingernails and a lock of hair.  It was custom at that time to leave parts of your earthly body with your family as returning was unlikely.

Not much to bury… but it was better than not returning at all.

In a spiritualistic way, he had never left.

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This is his farewell letter to his Mother (my Grandmother).

It is clear it was very hurriedly written.

With the help of my cousin Kiyoshi in Hiroshima and my dad, we’ve typed up Uncle Suetaro’s farewell letter – complete with old Japanese characters and translated as best possible into English.  When reading this, please remember these are the words as written as a soldier going off to fight the Americans – but he was once a young American boy born in Seattle, WA.

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Cover. His name is at the bottom.
金本 末太郎
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ママ様
Dear Mama,
御無沙汰致しました。
I am sorry for not writing for a while.
お元気ですか。 自分も相変わらず元気旺盛御奉公致しております故、何卒ご放念く
ださい。
How are you? As usual, I am full of life fulfilling my duty to my country so please feel at ease.
(元気で国のために力を尽くしてるので心配しないでください)
愈(いよいよ)自分も日本男子としてこの世に生を受け、初陣に臨むことを喜んでいます.
More and more, as I realize I was born into this world as a Japanese male, I am overjoyed to be going into my first combat.
勿論(もちろん)生還を期してはいません(生きて帰ることは思ってはいません)。
Of course, I do not expect to come back alive.
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併せ(しかしながら)自分に何事があっても決して驚かないように、また決して力を
落とさないよう平素より力強く暮らしてください。
And for you, Mother, whatever happens, do not be taken by surprise and please fight back with even more energy than you normally would.
24年の長いあいだスネかじりにて非常にご心配をかけ誠にすいませんでした。
I deeply apologize for these 24 years of worry and concern I have caused you.
お赦し下さい(おゆるし下さい)。
Please forgive me.
今の時局は日本が起つか亡びるかの境です。
At this time, Japan is at the boundary of either winning or perishing.
どうしてもやり抜かねばいけないのです。
We must persevere.
兄さん達を救い出すことも夢見てます。
I still dream that we can free our older brothers (from forced imprisonment).
自分のことは決して心配せずお体をくれぐれも気をつけて無理をしないよう長生きを
してください。
Please do not worry about me but instead, please take it easy on yourself and live a long life.

(Note: Green indicates an edit inserted for clarification purposes.)

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何事あっても荒槇、小林の方に相談して下さい。
If something comes up, please discuss it with the Kobayashis or Aramakis.
金本家は絶対に倒してはいけないのです。
No matter what, do not allow the Kanemoto name be extinguished.
伴の兄さんもお召の日が必ずあることと思います。
Mikizou-san will also be drafted.
(荒槇幹造さんも必ず徴兵されることと思う)
歳はとっていても軍隊に入れば初年兵です。一年生です。
Although he is much older in age, he will be treated like any other draftee. As a young recruit.
絶対服従を旨とするようよく言って下さい。
Implore upon him to obey every command without question.
近所の皆さん、河野,倉本、白井、武田、永井、正覚寺、梶田、山城、山根、杉本、
辻、河野…、橋本,西本、松本繁人、小林、中本、新宅、武蔵、水入、土井、堀田、住岡、見崎、長尾、加藤、三好、内藤、島本、(Writing continues next page from here) 宮本先生、谷口先生、慶雲寺などの人によろしくよろしくお伝えください。
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ではこれにて失礼します。
With that, I will say farewell.
何時までも何時までもお達者のほどお祈り致しております。
I pray for all eternity for your good health and prosperity.
南無阿弥陀仏の御6文字と共に行きます。
I go blessed with the six realms of Namu Amida Butsu.
サヨウナラ
Sayonara
昭和19年5月3日
May 3, 1944
末太郎より   ママ様へ
From Suetaro To Mama-san

His farewell send-off is pictured below.  Masako-san believes Suetaro wrote the letter around this time.  It was at gatherings such as this when a Japanese soldier was given a “good luck” battle flag – the ones that many WWII combat veterans “removed from the battlefield” as souvenirs.  There are many cases now where their sons and daughters – or grandchildren – are making efforts to return such flags to the Japanese families.

One of the treasures found during our journey to the family home in Hiroshima this month.  Uncle Suetaro is going to war and his death.
Uncle Suetaro (center) is pictured just before going off to war and his death.  You will notice my grandmother is missing from the photo; that is because she suffered her first stroke knowing her last son was going to his death.

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Bertrand Russell wrote, “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”

He is correct.

On a much smaller scale, though, Grandmother Kono was all who was left in that house when war’s end came.  Her precious son Suetaro – who she kept from returning to America for the purpose of keeping the Kanemoto name going – was dead.  She was now alone.  I wonder how she felt.

A mother’s anguished solitude.

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Grandma and four youngest children at the corner of King and Maynard in Seattle, circa 1926. From clockwise right-front: Suetaro, dad, Mieko, Grandmother Kono and Shizue.

(For other related stories:

A Mother’s Anguished Solitude, Part I

A Mother’s Anguished Solitude, Part II

Were Japanese Soldier’s Frightened?

The Temple of Whollyness: A Sacred Place… Burning Man 2013


Curt’s blog was particularly apropos today… I hope those that see a parallel in their life of today finds solace in this wonderfully written story.

Wandering through Time and Place

We were sitting in camp when the first police car went by on Sixth Street. We hardly looked up.  With six law enforcement agencies patrolling Burning Man, police cars are a common sight. But then a second and a third car followed– and they just kept coming. I stopped counting at 40. Something big was coming down.

They drove out to the Playa and surrounded the Temple while blasting their sirens. Rumors were rampant. Was it a major drug bust? Was a riot about to erupt?

The police got out of their cars, formed two solid lines leading up to the entrance, and took off their hats. A woman, escorted by another person carrying a plaque, slowly made her way between the lines and into the temple. Her husband had recently passed away. He had been a BLM law enforcement officer who had spent several years helping patrol Burning Man.

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Eighty Years Later…


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Eighty years or so after he posed for a photo, my Grandfather Hisakichi is in an American book.

Standing “Marine-esque” in his Seattle barbershop.

Incredible to me.

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I had come to know Rob Ketcherside from flickr.  We had helped each other out looking at some old photos he had of Seattle – where all my aunts and uncles were born (except one).  He had some fascinating tidbits on some of my Grandmother’s photos.

Well, it turned out he was an author.  He had been doing a ton of research into “lost Seattle” – skylines and communities now long gone.  With his fascination for “what was” (me, too!), those sights are now basking in sunlight once again through this mesmerizing book.

It was boosting to me when he asked if he could use one of the family’s vintage photos in his book; specifically, the photo of my grandfather’s barbershop.  It is on loan to me from my cousin Masako (yes, the Masako after whom my blog is named) who luckily kept these family treasures all these years.  It is more wonderful in that the home in which the photos were in survived the atomic blast – as did my family.

I hope Rob (and his publisher) don’t mind a couple of pages of his book are shown herein…and I’ll be picking up a few more copies to take back to Hiroshima in a few weeks.

In the description below, Rob also mentions Masahiro Furuya and his business.  As it turns out, both my dad’s oldest brother Yutaka and his best friend John Tanaka worked for Furuya…  And yes, that is the same John Tanaka my Aunt Shiz married.  Small world, yes?  Actually, Uncle Yutaka was the matchmaker.

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A close up of his photo caption from above:

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Grandfather is standing at the right-rear of his barbershop.  And the photo is a full pager in Rob’s book!  Cool!  Grandfather should be pleased.  In the original print, you can see the brand names of the hair tonics popular at that time.  The gal in the middle was quite a cutie, too.   I wonder what happened to her.  If she was still there in Seattle when war broke out, it is likely she went to the same prison camp my dad and uncle were incarcerated in.

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On an interesting note, the consensus is the calendar shows January 9, 1930.

In concert with Rob’s massive research effort, gone is my father’s precious Hotel Fujii and my grandfather’s pride and joy barber shop.  It was demolished to make room for “Hing Hay Park” taking its place.

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Front of Barbershop
Grandfather Hisakichi holding Aunt Shiz in front of the barbershop. Circa 1918.
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Dad on right with his youngest brother Suetaro in front of the barbershop (circa 1922).  They are likely standing where the label “Hing Hay Park” is on the map above. As readers know, Uncle Suetaro was killed as a Japanese soldier by the US Army on Leyte on July 15, 1945.  Dad was imprisoned in Minidoka, ID at the time of his death.

Eighty years later.

My gosh.

And like the barbershop and Hotel Fujii, my dad is the last one standing out of seven siblings and two courageous grandparents.

Thanks, Masako-san and Rob.

I kinda wish my grandparents could have seen this.