Obon Grave Washing at Ross Bay Cemetery

DATE:   Sunday, August 15, 2021

TIME:  9:00 AM – 12:00 PM– Washing of Headstones/Graves

LOCATION:   Ross Bay Cemetery, 1495 Fairfield Road, Victoria – Kakehashi Stone area

Ross Bay Cemetery Map showing Japanese Grave clusters and the Kakehashi Stone.

Summer 2021 has been busy for so many of us, with many COVID-19 restrictions being lifted or modified in Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan. Our annual gathering for Obon has been affected again this year but we look forward to your continued support of this event.
The VNCS and The Japanese Friendship Society have joined this year to co-host this Obon event.

  • Buddhist Service & social gathering – The Buddhist service at the Kakehashi Stone as well as the social gathering that usually follows have been cancelled
  • Flowers – Donations of flowers for placement at the Kakehashi Stone and gravesides are appreciated. (These will be placed at the time of cleaning.)
  • Washing of Grave Headstones – We are looking for volunteers to assist with washing the headstones of the 152 graves of pioneers of Japanese descent. This task will take place in the morning as we hope it will be a more temperate time of the day.

For volunteers/participants:

  • Face Masks – Review the BC Restart Plan website for guidelines regarding your personal circumstance/choice about wearing a face-mask. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available at the site.
  • Gloves – Disposable gloves will be available. You are also welcome to bring your own work gloves.
  • Cleaning Equipment – Pails, brushes, and hoses will be provided.
  • Refreshments – Bottled water will be provided. No food will be provided.
  • Seating – Seating will be very limited. (Some benches may be available.)
  • Parking – New sidewalks have been installed along the Memorial Crescent side of the cemetery. Please take note of new signs regarding residential parking.

Please do not attend if you or anyone in your group:

  • has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to this event
  • is under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer to self-isolate
  • has arrived from outside of Canada and is still in the 14-day quarantine period

We look forward to welcoming you on this day – the first time in a year as a community!  If you have any questions, please email us.

2021 Japanese Cultural Fair Survey

It is again time to plan for our annual Japanese Cultural Fair. Last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and community safety restrictions, we could not hold an in-person fair, but instead held an online cultural fair broadcast from the Belfry Theatre.

With the BC Restart Plan well underway we would like to gauge past and potential fair attendee’s interest in the VNCS pursuing an in-person fair or whether we should stay virtual for one more year, or even potentially postpone the fair till the Spring of 2022. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT and we would love to hear from you to help us in our planning!

Please complete our short, anonymous  survey by Sunday, July 25. You can also send your feedback to info@vncs.ca. Arigatou!!!

BC REDRESS – News from the JC Survivors Health & Wellness Fund

Seated – Mary Kimoto; standing – Ellen Kimoto Crowe-Swords and Project Manager Eiko Eby.


Our team has been contacting many survivors, small groups, and community organizations, across the country to get a sense of the needs of our seniors’ populations.  We have learned that there are a number of active survivors involved in wellness activities run by sub-groups of community organizations.  We have also learned there are a large number of frail survivors trying to live safely who are supported  by family and friends for the activities of daily living. Some of these seniors have no supports. This group is largely underserved and there is a need for more community supports and health care services for these frail seniors.

Nikkei Seniors is pleased to announce the release of the Grant Information, with criteria, for the Japanese Canadian Survivors Health & Wellness Fund (JCSHWF). jcwellness.org

There are three categories of eligibility: Organizations, Small Groups, and Underserved Individuals. Organizations may apply for up to two grants. Small groups and the underserved may apply for one grant only.

The maximum awards are up to $10,000 per application for organizations, $3000 for small groups, and $750 for underserved individuals.

Check out jcwellness.org for updated information.


Four (4) General Zoom sessions are scheduled to explain and repeat the Grant Information and answer questions. More meetings will be added as necessary.

The scheduled JCSHWF – General Grant Information Sessions are on Zoom. You must register in advance for the meetings and the registration links are listed below.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Monday, July 5 10am PST



Monday, July 5 5:30pm PST



Sunday, July 11 3pm PST



Saturday, July 17 10am PST


Outreach will continue throughout this period. Please share this information with your loved ones.

For additional Grant Information, visit our website at jcwellness.org

Continue reading BC REDRESS – News from the JC Survivors Health & Wellness Fund

Virtual Hanami Celebration

In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, the VNCS will be holding a virtual event over Zoom:

Sunday, May 30, 2021

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM PDT

Recording of the Virtual Hanami Celebration


If you have anything you’d like to ask our presenters, send your questions to info@vncs.ca prior to or during the presentations. We will do our best to have them answered during the event.


Ikebana Lesson

Michiko Seguev– originally from Tokyo, she started to have a strong interest in Ikebana in her early childhood as she accompanied her mother to her (Mother’s) Ikebana lessons at Ohara School. Later on at her work in an advertising agency, her passion for Ikebana was rekindled when she had a chance to arrange flowers for work.  She resumed studying Ikebana under Sōraku at Sōgetsu School and obtained a teaching certificate. She has been teaching Ikebana since her arrival in Victoria and providing VNCS Ikebana classes for more than 15 years.


Sake Tasting

Shino Yamashiro – Shino is a sake specialist, certified as an International kikisake-shi by SSI (Sake Service Institute in Japan) and a menu developer at “E:ne raw food + sake bar”, where more than 50 selections of sake are served and is the very first “sake bar“ in Victoria. Shino was very much inspired and fell in love with the unique world of sake 4 years ago. Shino found that many local guests love wine and also have a great curiosity towards sake when she introduced them to all the breadth and complexity that sake has to offer. Introducing sake and making it more approachable to people became her passion. She wants to encourage people to enjoy sake “as is” or by pairing with varieties of food, not just Japanese food. Shino hopes that a sake menu becomes more and more popular at restaurants.


Shino will be sampling two types of sake during her presentation:

NigoriHakutsuru Sayuri (300ml, $9.49)

SparklingYoshi No Gawa Awayuki (300ml, 13.99)

Pick up one or both bottles ahead of time and taste along with her from the comfort of your home! Check for local availability using the “Where to buy” button in the BC Liquor Store links provided.


Support the Community

We encourage you to help support our community however you are able, perhaps by ordering take-out from your favourite local restaurants, making a donation to the VNCS, or simply attending as we celebrate Asian heritage and culture this May.