It's Officially Official! In November I'm trading 🌴➡️🌲 and will be working for the @oregonnikkei Endowment as their Education Manager! As a #shinnikkei who grew up in the #southbay I always felt disconnected from the greater #japaneseamerican community. #Torrance always felt more like a #japantown than #littletokyo . Anime wasn't a brought to me by Tom from #toonami but was just... Cartoons. My bullies in elementary school were #yonsei kids who made fun of my #fob accent. I was a Japanese kid in a Japanese town. My identity as an "American" was solidified only after reading #farewelltomanzanar . The stories of these second generation Japanese American kids straddling the line between two nations at war, two cultures at odds, chronoicaling our communities collective past in two tongues. That was me.
It took 27 years for the hyphen that glues my Japanese-American to stick. Thanks to mentors, friends, elders and community that taught me about the exclusion, forced removal and unjust incarceration of our people, I was able to find a true calling in life. A real chance to live out the maxim - If we don't learn from the mistakes of the past we are doomed to repeat it. To live a life serving a community that laid the groundwork for new immigrants like my family to come and make a happy life in #southerncalifornia
To be able to serve the Nikkei community now in an educational capacity, to go from #JACL to #NPS to starting a brand new life in historic nihonmachi of #portland feels like I've truly come full ⭕️ Come see me in PDX y'all! And if you're in LA we have all November! Goodbye PSW, Hello PNW♥️
You are only seeing 1/3 of the full sized photo here.
DRAGONS OF THE BLACK ABYSS -
As I stood upon the edge of what seemed like bottomless abyss, early on a cold fall morning. I stared across this enormous chasm as the first rays of early morning light slowly began to illuminate the painted wall across from me, revealing the dragons. I could feel the blood coursing through my veins in anticipation. With each thump of my heart, I patiently waited for the light to reflect this image back into my eyes.
I thought to myself, those dragons were formed by the blood of the earth pumping through its arteries millions of lifetimes before me. In a literal sense, liquid magma forced its way into the cracks of the rocks and then slowly cooled. This is what makes up the lighter colored pinkish veins of rock.
The two of which resemble the dragons along, the painted wall on the right side of the photo. There the dragons would sit for eons, imprisoned in the rock, frozen in time, only to be liberated by chance. -
Slowy the water of the mighty Gunnison River carved a gash through the landscape over the course of millions of years. This cut the over 2,000 foot deep Black Canyon of the Gunnison into the landscape freeing the dragons to the light of day. The forces of nature are truly awe inspiring!
This photo was taken from a red bus tour in late afternoon along Going to the Sun Road. At this point, the road was closed to personal vehicles but open to tour groups and shuttles, so this worked out as a semi-private tour. Here, the sun was filtering through the clouds and smoke/haze in the valley, creating a nice view. This was a tough photo to edit though, since it came out looking so washed out in the raw file. Still not perfect, but much better than it was as closer to what I recall seeing.
#JustToriThoughts If you think about it, every physical thing on this planet (animals, humans, plants, etc) are just material things. We have life spans. Our cars, phones, clothes, and houses have lifespans. Everything in this world dies.
But the ability to use our knowledge to acknowledge our own existence sets us humans apart from everything else on this planet. -
Now we must think about why we were chosen to be gifted with the ability of realizing we exist. A moose goes through life living on instinct. Humans choose everyday to do go against our instincts to do something for others or against them.
Why did we get this gift? This is the question some of us never bother to answer while some of us spend our whole lives trying to figure out
Enough with the Yellowstone pictures, right? Cool. Cool. Just one more after this, k? Hoping @eddiebauer might notice for the #whyihike#contest ;) Which, I might add, has offered a great excuse to consider, why DO I hike? It's kind of a crazy question to answer if you want to avoid the cheesy or cliché (not that I am-- cheesy and cliché is kinda my thing #dadlife 😏). Why do we do anything, uh? A few things I know: I love pouring over maps and planning a trip. I love to feel my tired legs at the end of the day. I love reconciling my imagination with what's around the next corner. I love the opportunity to face my impatience from time to time. Also, I love top ramen, fruit snacks, and jerky.
Spent National Public Lands Day hiking through bear country in Yellowstone with my sister. It was the first time I'd hiked in that type of environment with only one other person. It was such a cool experience though. With only one hiking buddy, your senses are so heightened, you hear everything. Yeah, nature can be a hell of a drug.
In bear areas, the biggest key is to just make a lot of noise. Sing, chant, whatever you like (especially coming around corners or cresting hills). But most important, just enjoy yourself out out there. So that's what we did.
This pic was taken 10mi into the backcountry as we were cooking dinner by our food pole along the shore of Shoshone Lake (the biggest backcountry lake in the continental US). The sun had already crested behind the mountains, and as the moon rose, the sky was lit up this beautiful pink color.
For the curious, the backcountry camping in Yellowstone is set your tent up anywhere at least 100 yards away from your food pole (ideally upwind of it). In the process of searching for a tent spot, I stumbled across a huge pile of bear scat. So, as you would expect, I didn't set up there, I set up somehwere else. Regardless, when everything went dark and it was time to go to sleep, my sister and I heard multiple bear roars in the night's blackness. It was both incredible and surreal (usually bears aren't super vocal). Thankfully, it sounded like they were a little ways away, but I will always remember falling asleep to those sounds echoing across the lake.