June 2012

Asian Hockey Tournament
As the temperature soared into the high 20s this past Victoria Day, over 300 Asian Canadians of all ages took part in the iconic Canadian past time of ice hockey. Now in its 23rd year, the Asian Canadian Hockey Tournament, held on the grounds of York University, fielded 32 men’s teams, four women’s and nine children’s teams. The majority of the teams were named after Asian foods or dishes that were reflective of their ethnic heritage. My son Christopher and his cousins Glennie and Warren Iwasa, were on the Sashimis. Unfortunately, they lost their qualifying playoff game. The sublime Sashimis were no match for the hot and spicy Team Kim Chees.

Food is the great equalizer and the glue that brings generations of Nikkei together at ‘groaning board ‘ family dinners (20 minutes to pass all plates of food around before eating) or on hot summer picnics. Generations ‘break’ onigiri together and ‘talk story’ – imagined or true. Nikkei food takes us back to our distant and misty ancestral Japan; although most Japanese would be shocked to see our version of ‘Japanese food.’ Fine Nikkei cuisine includes spam musubi from Hawai’i; Cumberland chow mein; Chow mein and fried bologna sandwiches and my kids favorite, pan fried shoyu hotdogs cut on an angle so they curl up beautifully then seasoned with shoyu and sugar (substitute maple syrup to give it an O-Canada spin). Put it over a bed of gohan – it cannot get better than that! Runny eggs-over-rice with shoyu is a close second though. In one of those eureka moments, as the JCCC Heritage cookbook committee gathered to edit and test recipes, a member asked, “What’s the difference between Japanese and Japanese Canadian food?” Being one who instinctively seasons his food before tasting it, I flippantly replied, “Just Add Shoyu” – the title of a great cookbook was born.

National Administrator
I am pleased to inform you that Tomoko-Kehler-Yokobori has assumed the position of National Administrator. Tomoko was born in Japan and has lived in Canada for 14 years. She resides in Winnipeg. Her transition to the position is being ably assisted by Terumi Kuwada and Lucy Yamashita who, from time to time, will assist Tomoko where needed. Welcome to our family Tomoko!

Endowment Fund
Chairing the Endowment Fund Committee has been a pleasant experience as it allows me the opportunity to gauge the impressive talent and initiatives that exists in our community. We received a large number of new applicants this spring and the challenge for EF members was how best to use the limited funds effectively. The NEB has accepted the recommendations and applicants will be notified shortly.

Kamloops NAJC AGM
Thanks go out to the members of the Kamloops AGM planning committee led by George Uyeda and Betty Inouye as they prepare for our NAJC annual general meeting on the September 15th weekend. One of highlight of this year’s gathering is a Youth Leadership conference to be run concurrently. It is our hope that a youth conference will become a permanent part of future AGMs. I will share with you more program details as we near the event.

Mika Fukuma
I, along with many readers of the Nikkei Voice, was shocked to learn of the sudden resignation of its Managing Editor, Mika Fukuma, especially coming on the heels of the departure of Yusuke Tanaka. Both have given long service to the publication that was founded by the NAJC but later became an independent newspaper. On behalf of the NAJC and the Nisei readers who make up the largest readership, I wish to thank Mika for creating an inclusive newspaper over the last seven years and for consciously adding more news from Western Canada. Her dedication towards keeping our dispersed community informed was invaluable. Enjoy your rest and here’s hoping that you start making some money.

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