• Ken Shem

I would like the younger generations to know the Japanese language.

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

It was my pleasure to meet Ms. Orio, who came to the U.S. from Kagoshima 60 years ago and now lives in San Mateo. Here is a summary of our discussion, translated from Japanese.

While I have not followed many typical Japanese traditions, many people are practicing Japanese tea ceremony, flower arranging, etc., and I hope people who practice these traditional things will continue practicing them. I personally would like younger generations to know the Japanese language. I try to speak Japanese to my grandchildren.

While I have lived in the US for 59 years, I still feel that I am “100%” Japanese. I volunteer at the San Mateo Japanese-American Community Center ( as a volunteer coordinator. I check-in and out Japanese books and videos, and answer phones. I love reading in Japanese and I read my Bible in Japanese every day. What I value the most about being Japanese is “courtesy” (礼儀). I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren the Japanese tradition of being polite and not causing any inconvenience to anyone.

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