What I know for sure…

FIFA worlds cup
June 2015 FIFA Worlds Cup, Japan vs Ecuador

Valerie Hoshizaki Nordin, NEB Director, Chair of Membership Committee

To quote a movie critic “what do you know for sure?”

‘I know for sure’ I am a part of a large hapa family.

At the time of the evacuation, my father Thomas Yasuo Hoshizaki who was born in 1919 in Pitt Meadows, BC was given papers that directed him to move east of what was then known as Fort William to work at a sawmill. After many adventures traveling across the prairies he landed in Winnipeg where he stayed. Others from British Columba had created a community here. He later joined the Canadian Army and was a part of the S- 20 corps. Luckily, he met and married my mom Stefania Freda Thorkelson of Icelandic heritage. They moved to northwestern Ontario to work and it is there where my five siblings and I grew up.

‘I know for sure’ my life is about family. As I can feel fall in the air and the busy summer comes to an end, my mom at 95 died last November 2014 leaving my five siblings and I as the elders. Over the summer we usually all come back to my brothers’ camp (what a cottage is called in our part of the country) in northwestern Ontario at one time or another. We sometimes overlap but this summer we were all there at the same time. I do not think it was a coincidence. It was more like a need. My mother called it the ‘herding instinct’. Most of the grandchildren and two great grandchildren were also there. We continued with the customary fishing trips and yearly cook-off. ‘I know for sure’ it’s the stories, laughter and competition that sustained us.

‘I know for sure’ culture is reflected in sport. In June 2015, Winnipeg hosted seven of the FIFA Women’s World Cup games at the impressive Blue Bombers’ Investors Group Field. One of the games was Japan against Ecuador. The Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba (JCAM) organized our community to sit together as a cheering section. There were all kinds of flags, signs, kimonos, French Maid outfits and banners in our section. We were led in Japanese by a group of students from Japan and accompanied by drums. It was a fun, exciting evening. At the end of the game the Japanese team, both players and coaches ran over to where we were sitting, looked up at us and bowed deeply in unison with respect and thanks. There was a moment of ‘quiet’ amongst the revelry in our section.

‘I know for sure’ Winnipeg loves Folklorama. Every summer Winnipeg celebrates the city’s cultures. It began over forty years ago. For one week JCAM has fun working hard to showcase our culture at the Japan Pavilion. There is a cultural display that includes Canadian history, books and items for sale and kimono displays. They present a tea ceremony and furoshiki and ikebana demonstrations. A variety of food is available and a child and adult drink area is set up. The highlight of the evening is an entertaining stage show. The show includes martial arts demonstrations, dancing, singing and Taiko drumming. It is a sellout for the whole week. This year we had over 7000 guests, (paying and VIPs) and including volunteers. This is an incredible undertaking and brings our community together to celebrate our culture and fundraise for JCAM.

‘I know for sure’ I love to make Japanese pickles with Lena. Lena Takatsu is a senior at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre. She works hard cooking in the kitchen for everyone. She is very willing to share her recipes as well as helping others fine tune their Japanese cooking. Lena was evacuated with her family as a child in 1942 from Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. They were expecting to work on a farm but didn’t know it would be a sugar beet farm. Last summer we made Denba Zuke out of prairie grown daikon. I presented all my five siblings with a little jar of their own at our summer get together. This year we are making Fukujin Zuke out of a variety of vegetables. It is lots of fun and I am honoured to be the recipient of such wisdom and care.

‘I know for sure’ the NAJC AGM is Sept.25, 26, & 27, 2015 in Victoria, BC.
The NEB will gather with member organizations to support one another as we strengthen our local associations and develop a strong united voice.

Domo arigato gozaimasu

1 Comment

  1. Sheryl HoshizakiSeptember 19, 2015

    I remember my mom and my dad by the sound of their voices. Although my dad passed many years ago and my mom less than a year ago, I remember their voices as if I heard them yesterday. Reading this, brings me back to our blended heritage, taking nothing less but enriching my life growing up in Canada. This I know for sure!

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