2014 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 10th

2014 Obon Matsuri

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone
Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

4th Annual Obon Festival @ Ross Bay Cemetery & Ross Bay Villa
Sunday, August 10th, 2014
12:30pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri
Cost: FREE


Hosted by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Japanese Friendship Society with support from The Old Cemetery Society – we invite you to come and participate with us in honouring those who have gone before.

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori. – from Wikipedia

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

2011 Obon - washing the stone
Tsugio Kurushima and Grace Yuki Mercer wash a stone together at Obon 2011

The following is the scheduled program for Obon 2014 on Sunday, August 10, 2014

12:30 pm
Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone and then cleaning teams will be assembled.
Cleaning of gravestones
Laying flowers and senko (incense)
Preparing the Kakehashi Stone
Donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time.

2:30 pm
Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

3:30 pm
Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
3:50pm – Rina El-Nahas will perform traditional (minyo) folk songs
4:10pm – The Furusato Dancers will perform the Morioka Sansa Odori follwed by Wonderful Canada and finish with Aigato Ondo (with audience participation)
4:30pm – Suikawari (Japanese watermelon game for the kids)
4:55pm – Uminari Taiko will perform the Language of the Workd/Hachijo followed by Oedo and concluding with Korekara
Light refreshments will be provided.

Hope to see you there!

Google Map
Ross Bay Cemetery map – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/brochurerbc.pdf

Click for a larger image
Obon Matsuri Map

Ross Bay Cemetery website – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/cem_rb.htm
Ross Bay Villa website – http://rossbayvilla.org/


Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad – 55th Annual Conference

nikkei-japanese-abroadKaigai Nikkeijin Kyoukai (The Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad)
55th Annual Conference

October 22nd-24th, 2014

Any Nikkei or Japanese living outside of Japan can attend. The entrance fee is ¥10,000.

It’s worth while because of all that you receive. Buffet dinner at Foreign Affairs is exceptional and the lunch put on by the Speaker of the House is also good.

There is usually a tour of the Diet and sightseeing of Tokyo included. You get to meet other Nikkei from around the world to network.

If anyone is interested in attending or if anyone will be in Tokyo Oct. 22 – 24th, they can apply on line.

The information is here:  http://www.jadesas.or.jp/en/taikai/the-55th-convention-of-nikkei-and-japanese-abroad.html

A short history of Uminari Taiko

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A short video history of Uminari Taiko.
(video by Matthew Viveen)

2014 Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembered (69th Anniversary)

Hiroshima Lanterns2014 Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembered
69th Anniversary

Wednesday, August 6th 2014
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Esquimalt Gorge Park
(off Tillicum Road just south of the Gorge Waterway)
Cost: FREE

The annual lantern ceremony, marking the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan.

Lantern making starts at 7:00 pm, with words and songs of peace at 8:00 pm, followed by floating the lanterns on the Gorge.

Bring a blanket and/or chair to sit on, a flashlight and a battery candle if you wish.

Floating lantern supplies will be provided.

** Sponsored by the Victoria Raging Grannies, Victoria Peace Coalition, Canadian Department of Peace Initiative

VNCS News – May 20th 2014

VNCS 20th Anniversary – Still a few tickets left

The VNCS 20th Anniversary Banquet is just a month away.  On the evening of Saturday June 21 we will be having a Banquet and Gala at the Ambrosia Convention and Event Centre, 638 Fisgard Street.  In addition to a delicious 3 entree buffet we are going to have entertainment, games, dancing and karaoke.  It should be a great evening.  At the banquet we are going to be honouring a number of people and businesses who have made significant contributions to the VNCS.  The following individuals will be recognized for their life long contribution to the VNCS – Dick Nakamura, Henry Shimizu, Sus Tabata, Aiko Sutherland, Roy and Marianne Natsuhara, Jack and Elizabeth Watanabe and, posthumously, Midge Ayukawa.  The businesses we will be honouring are Fujiya Japanese Food and Silk Road Tea.

Ticket sales are going really well and we only have around 25 left.  So if you are planning on attending order your tickets soon or you may be out of luck.  The cost for the evening is only $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 6 to 12, children less than 6 are free.  You can reserve tickets by e-mailing Tsugio Kurushima at .  Reserved seating available for groups of 3 or more.   For more information see http://vncs.ca/vncs-20th-anniversary-banquet-june-21st-2014/.  Hope to see you there.

Japanese at Ross Bay

Sunday Ross Bay Cemetery History Tours: Tours start at 2:00 pm. Meet at 1:45 pm in front of Oregano’s, Fairfield Plaza, 1516 Fairfield Rd.  Others start where noted.

Charge: $5 for non-members; $2 for members. No reservations needed. Tours are held regardless of weather. Contact www.oldcem.bc.ca or 250.598.8870.

May 25.  Japanese at Ross Bay. The third tour of Asian Heritage Month will be conducted by Gordon and Ann-Lee Switzer, authors of Gateway to Paradise: Canada’s First Japanese Community, a history of Japanese in Victoria (http://www.tijeanpress.ca/). Ross Bay includes graves of about 150 Japanese and is the location of the impressive Kakehashi Monument dedicated to Japanese pioneers.

Spring Social, A Sorry State

Thank you to those who attended our Spring social last month. We were fortunate to have been able to view the documentary, A Sorry State by Mitch Miyagawa without paying the licensing fee.  This was covered by the National Association of Japanese Canadians until the end of April 2014. We have been asked to submit a short report, so I am collecting comments from those in attendance. Please forward me your thoughts and input of the documentary at your earliest convenience. I will summarize the comments, without names. Also, please send me any pictures you may have taken at the event.  Send to