Regina Japanese Cultural Club
80TH ANNIVERSARY LUNCHEON; SHARING OF FAMILY STORIES.
2022 marks the 80th Anniversary of the Japanese Canadian internment. We would like to make this a special occasion for the seniors and are planning a luncheon at a very nice venue — the exact opposite of what eating conditions were like during the internment. A place with easy access for seniors, a great meal prepared and served to the seniors as highly honoured guests with the focus on survivors. We will be proposing two luncheons to honour our seniors and survivors.
1st Luncheon: 80th Anniversary of Internment Luncheon, to be held January 5, 2022
There are two different venues that we are looking at: The Hotel Saskatchewan and the Conexus Art Centre. Both are very nice places with easy access for seniors. The Conexus Art Centre room has a beautiful view and would be our first choice but the Theatre lobby is only rented out one month in advance.
This luncheon will bring together the seniors of the Regina Japanese Culture Club (RJCC) and will honour our internment survivors. The survivors will be asked if they would tell a story about a family experience during the internment, or have their story read.
To make this extra special, each ‘survivor’ will be given a gift. The gift will be something that the survivors would need or enjoy, such as a one-year subscription to a magazine or a basket filled with either gourmet snack items or care products.
There is a total of twenty-one seniors in our club, of which there are seven survivors. Two of our survivors are from out of province. As members of our club, we plan to include the two who live out of the province by sending both of them a Restaurant gift certificate, and a one-year subscription to a magazine of their choice. Each survivor will also be asked to share a family internment story that can be read at the luncheon. Since both of the out of province members grew up in Regina and their parents were active members of the club, everyone will be interested in hearing their story.
The luncheon will be a catered meal and as an added treat, we will be ordering Japanese melon buns or individually wrapped treats from a bakery in Calgary and having it couriered to Regina. There are no Japanese bakeries in Regina and only a couple fusion / authentic Japanese restaurants so this will be a treat for all.
This event is intended to directly benefit the survivor’s mental health and well-being as getting out and active can be a big issue, especially in the winter on the prairies. We will be providing an easily accessible social event specifically catered to our survivors, with the take-home reading materials and snacks to provide extended happiness and mental stimulation. All the seniors will benefit from this event.
In terms of accessibility, two of the seniors will need an aid to help them come out to the venue. We will be paying for lunch for their aid so that all seniors will be able to attend. Taxies, rides, or limousines will be provided back and forth to the venue, for those seniors that require a ride.
Many of our RJCC seniors are elderly and getting quite frail, so we would like to have the event as soon as possible for their long overdue recognition. We will pick the earliest date possible to qualify for this fund. For those seniors who are perhaps feeling too frail to attend the event (one of the survivors is 99 turning 100 in April 2022) we plan to have a restaurant deliver him a meal or a bento box. I personally will read his family story at the luncheon if he cannot make it or is not feeling strong enough to do it himself.
Michael Kobayashi (president) and I (Joanne Nakamura Rollins) will be at this event to carry it out and make sure that all the seniors are taken care of.
2nd Luncheon: Senior’s Sharing of Family Stories: Late January or early February
A second luncheon is planned for late January or early February. This event will be slightly smaller than our first event, and will focus on all of our seniors, including the survivors.
We will ask all seniors (as opposed to just the survivors) to share a family story with us. All our seniors have faced many hardships during and after the war, and have many stories to share. In the past many seniors have not been willing to speak at a larger RJCC event — because of our small format event, we hope this will help make seniors as comfortable as possible to share stories with their community.
We will also be ordering snacks from a Japanese store, and will make up small bags of individually wrapped goodies for all the seniors to take home. Taxi rides will also be provided for those who need.
We are looking forward to planning this event for our seniors and survivors. If full funding is not awarded, then we will likely hold only one luncheon, as we will still do our best to honor our survivors. We are a very small club and would not be able to afford this without funding.