Silly Grins

Friday, September 16, 2011

Years of Sorrow, Years of Shame: Revisionists' History?

Part IV of V

Almost there.

"Where?" Someone might ask.

Well, to a place that took a while to get to, sometimes driven more by a sense often blamed for feline peril than for anything else.

It won't hurt to just check it out. Really?

Curiosity...that little flame that can burn so bright, a cold moon slicing through the velvet darkness, beams brighter than the blazing sun, chasing away sleep as it torments thoughts, letting neither the dreamer nor the notion get a full night's rest.


Honesty. Had I not pursued this ugliness of a notion, had I been intimidated by bigotry and blame, just buried it and gone on, part of my mind would not have found the restful peace that it has only been able to reach, but first I had to be willing to make the journey.

Dear Will, 

Thank you for your letter, and for reminding me of the book, ".Years of Sorrow, Years of Shame" I had forgotten all about it!

For the last 4 years or so I've been suffering from elevated BP over the revisionist history, and the need to describe the Japanese Canadian as it really was, and it's all there in Barry Broadfoot's book! In the words of the people who lived it, both from the Japanese and the hakujin! I'm only on the first chapter, but I'm delighted, because some Nisei in their late 70s and in their 80s have been feeling an urgent, despairing need to have an accurate rending of our history, but it's all in this book! This book was written 25 years ago, before redress, when the N*JC hadn't felt so empowered by the success of the Redress .(They remind me of the pigs in "Animal Farm), and so it probably didn't get the attention it deserved. (Plus the fact that the author is not a JC.. I'm totally fascinated by it--thank you again for reminding me !



I have just retrieved my copy of Years of Sorrow, Years of Shame. I intend on rereading it within the next few days. I will be paying special attention to the fist chapter.

Oh yeah, the book was returned after I lent it to a person you may say is like one of the pigs in Animal Farm, a Redress type. Thank God the majority of people are a bit more forgiving, especially for things I haven't done.


So, this was the conversation that we were having. I was impressed by a number of things. Most of all, I was delighted simply to be able to communicate with someone  who had been there. As she says, "It's all in the book."

In a week or so, the last bit of our correspondence will be posted and kept up for as long as this blog lives. Years of Sorrow, Years of Shame I-V is all prologue anyway.  Part of the journey down the rabbit hole.

Yeah, there is a purpose to all of this and there are deeper themes relevant to what's going on these days. One theme, strain of thought or whatever people want to call it... one theme in particular will be mentioned at the end of the next post in this particular series because it is somehow relevant to what can be called a 'noble pursuit' for people who believe in such notions.

And that restful peace? Yeah, that too.



  1. I am a believer in "noble pursuits". Was a time when such aspirations would be considered the symbol of adulthood. Now it's some ideal that few consider. It's a "what does this do and how does it benefit me" world now....for most.

  2. Chris: Your existence as understood through what you've put up on your blog demonstrates your I see it. Adulthood, now that's a thought. For most of us (whoever the hell we imagine 'we' are), 'dolt-hood' is perhaps more appropriate. All the screaming, pouting, and those fits thrown when we don't get our way...sure makes the 'noble pursuits' sound a hell of a lot more attractive and fulfilling.

  3. to add, I am a believer of honesty. More and more with each passing day. Honesty also gets more painful, contradictory. Funny thing, what is going on on these pages. I am back, after a short traveling hiatus.

  4. Bigg: Wise words...and that pain...yeah. Hear you. Funny thing, these pages. Glad to have you back.

    Honesty/truthfulness is a hard one...timing seems to be that what makes these things so painful?


  5. timing? As a very personal remark... I used to live in a very artificial world for a long stretch of time. At the time I tried to keep my integrity, think I did a good job in that, but still, honesty did not always seem a priority. Now, it is completely the other way around. Mostly through an encounter, life-changing is such a cliche word that I won't use it (but you know what I mean), which made me see things in so many different ways. And I am kind of in the middle of rewiring my thinking, my habits, the way I interact with others because of this. The honesty I am facing now, is of a (emotionally, at least) very painful nature. But I find now that there is no way working around it.

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  7. Bigg: Timing...shortly after reading your comment, an envelope was opened that contained nothing except for a newspaper clipping (as happens from time to time). The first line of the article was the following quote from one who is arguably well past the 'middle' of it all:

    "There is no perfect moment. You just do it and learn from it.”

    As for an unsolicited response with regard to pain...I can hear The Fool's* heavily accented voice, "Pain?! Life is full of pain...we all go through pain...there is no getting around that. Now 'suffering', that is different. 'Suffering' is the bullshit we put ourselves through when we think that we shouldn't be feeling that is suffering."

    The Fool had tried to be a Buddhist, but eventually went on to do something else. He'd probably have gotten a kick out of the title of that book "Buddhism Is Not What You Think."

    The Fool talked a lot about going into the pain, embracing it - a notion my mind does not readily want to explore. Maybe not time for that, not just yet...

    *Perhaps 'The Fool' should be replaced with 'Another Fool' not to confuse the two. The Fool referred to here would say "├śl" as opposed to "Beir".