Little Tokyo Home (Manzanar 5)

Day 5

Downtown Los Angeles, Much warmer


Now looking back, everything seemed surreal…

I still had to pack in the morning and our volunteering work seemed short, yet I’m elastic to enjoy a more relaxing vacation with my family. Each day was dusty, I had slightly chapped lips from the cold, sometimes the wind burned our face, and that allergic reaction I had yesterday? It stayed there for a while. It was not a place for the faint of heart.

Down the new US 395, adjacent to the old route and Manzanar we went. The sky was spotless, at times, too warm.

Hours later and one rest stop in Canyon County, we arrived at Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, the ethnically Japanese American district. Migration to the city halted with the 1924 exclusion act and during WWII, it was known as Bronzeville. Now, it’s a place with a theater, a museum, a temple, and tons of restaurants.

We walked around the Japanese Village Plaza (that’s the one with the red Little Tokyo Watchtower) and ate at Mr. Ramen’s, which had a good deal on ramen combos. With a final meeting, we departed, fought the LA traffic (it was manageable), and arrived on campus after sunset.

The wind was harsh and dry. The night, cold…

Somehow, we’d have to make a living between these two rather breathtaking mountains. I’m in awe. I’m losing my voice like they lost theirs. Perhaps our words sound like broken English. If Manzanar had taught us anything, even if shikata ga nai, we can live with gaman (perseverance) and social awareness.

Their spirit runs free now. Now, our heart carries a bit of Manzanar.

Hopefully, the flowers will bloom again and more of history will be preserved and uncovered when we visit again.

It was art, beauty

meticulous, set, serene

peace and harmony.

For the Ponds

-My haiku

May there be a new be a home for the original Manzanar firetruck.


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