I remember the very first time that I saw Japan and touched Japanese soil. It was on a business trip to Beijing, and we had an intermediate stop at Narita airport outside Tokyo. It was my first international trip (not counting Canada) and really being far from home. To be truly accurate, that first touchdown wasn't technically on Japanese soil...I just transferred flights. But I remember looking out the airplane window and thinking, "Wow, this is my ancestral homeland....I am coming home." I remember wondering whether any of our ancestors actually walked on the land I was looking at. I was overcome by the simultaneous feeling of familiarity and foreignness. Maybe it was because I was traveling by myself and I wasn't able to share any of these feelings that it felt so intense. It was something akin to a spiritual experience.

-- Carey Hidaka

Anyway, Diana, I will never ever forget being "hot" in a basketball game between friends in Minidoka's Block 42, I think, during a very dark evening in 1944. Like a lot of ghetto kids these days, I practiced often against the backboard we had in Block 37, also in the evening, because I had it all to myself. I couldn't do too much dribbling because the coal pile spread all over and it made the surface uneven.

I'd practice shooting "hook shots" because some guy in the news made it popular. I became reasonably good (by Block 37's 15 year old standards) close in, even left handed. I didn't do too much intramural sports at school, because I was too busy doing fun stuff with friends. Being "hot" in that game in basketball is best described as "life in slow motion." You pass, you dribble, you shoot, but it's almost entirely without effort. Everything seems to slow down. You don't look for opportunities or your teammates. They're there. The opposition also slows down. It's an entirely comfortable feeling. Even the shouts and talk slows down. I do remember somebody (Itsu Asai, I think, but I don't know if the Asai's were in Minidoka) saying, "Claude's hot."

Simply said, I could do everything I wanted to do on that dirt court. Every shot went in. I dribbled around and through people I couldn't do under normal circumstances. I don't even remember if we won or not.

-- Claude Morita

But what comes to mind is a moment in the hospital, when Ruth was in ICU after her car accident and on a ventilator and attached to so many IVs that the nurses had a difficult time keeping the 3 IV stands from getting tangled.

After receiving a middle of the night phone call from the hospital, Carey and I rushed to the hospital because Ruth had pulled the ventilator tube out. We were in such a hurry that we did not think about how cold the hospital can be during the night. (Sept. in Denver during the day can be very warm but the evenings can get very cool.) Carey was dressed in his shorts and I had jeans but not much on top. After seeing Ruth, who was very agitated and more so, when she saw us, we were told to wait in the waiting room. We were very concerned about Ruth and also, freezing. I knew that we could not afford to catch cold, so I decided to go looking for something hot to drink. During the day, they had volunteers providing hot and cold drinks, but not in the middle of the night. I, finally, located a vending machine in the basement. I purchased 2 hot chocolates in paper cups and proceeded to the elevator.

The contents of the cups were extremely hot and I could hardly hold onto them and wondered how in the world was I going to get those drinks up to the 3rd floor. We needed those drinks and yet, I knew I could not keep a grasp on them much longer. Waiting for the elevator, tired, worried and discouraged, I looked down and in a waste paper basket was a discarded cardboard soft drink carton. I could hardly believe my eyes and good fortune. As I placed the drinks in the carton, my tiredness, worry, and discouragement faded. I knew that even with something as "small" as getting two hot drinks up four floors, the Lord of the universe was watching over me. He was in control. Ruth and we were in His hands. I was encouraged, my steps were lighter, and I was warm, already.

-- Betty Shibayama

Mine usually have to do with nature. I was in Bali sitting on the edge of a cliff looking over a valley. It was a new moon and the sky was filled with stars. Frogs and lizards were singing and thousands of fire flies were flashing on and off throughout the jungle. I felt like nothing else in the world was important.

Another time I was swimming alone (my friend freaked and swam back to shore) at night in a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico. Again, a new moon and the sky was filled with stars that looked close enough to touch. Any motion in the water will cause small microscopic creatures glow. Swimming with snorkeling gear and my hands in front of my face it looked like my hand were on fire with a greenish flame coming from my fingers. Then I stood the water sparkled as if fell from my body. I felt one with god. Or something like that.

-- Arnold Hidaka

One late afternoon, my friend and I were relaxing with a bottle of wine on the patio of an oceanside condo that we were renting. We were talking as we watched sea turtles riding the waves. All of a sudden, we saw a huge splash in the ocean. We watched the general area for a few more minutes and then we saw a whale breach. During the next half hour, two whales continued breaching. It was absolutely breathtaking...I'll never forget it nor how I felt at the time.

For the first time in years, I felt totally stress-free. I felt as if I didn't have a care in the world. I had just left Varian the week before, and I was starting my job at Adobe the following week. The happiness and relief of no longer having to work for a dreadful boss mixed with the excitement of a new beginning made me feel as if I was weightless and floating through the air. Everything that was so important the week before seemed so trivial now. As I watched the whales put on a spectacular show, I was in awe of God's wonders. Colors seemed more brilliant and sounds more distinct. I felt as if I had been given a glimpse of heaven.

-- Bekki Shibayama

I remember driving West on 95 to downtown one day and seeing the snow capped mountains. What a beautiful sight, took my breath away. Made me feel so GOOD!! Reminded me of the mountains back home - Mt Hood and Shasta!!

Not as pretty as Mt Hood.

-- Flora Hidaka

The desert is beautiful in the evening in the wintertime. I can't say the same for the summertime, I'm not here during the very hot time. I walk in the evening, many a time I've had coyotes strolling with me.

They don't bother human beings!! As long as there are enough rodents to keep them happy.

-- Paul Morita, the Elder

Happiest, most blissful, one with the universe, those would all be different moments.

When I felt most at one with the universe was in the mountains of Colorado searching for matsutake. Since we weren't having success finding mushrooms, I spent most of my time taking pictures of the mountains, creeks, flowers, trees. I was able to enjoy the beauty of nature while attempting to capture it in my photos. While I did feel close to the universe as I was overwhelmed by the beautiful surroundings, a part of me also felt like an intruder, like I was trespassing on nature and was somehow damaging the environment.

I can't recall an exact moment that I was most blissful but it was probably in church during a prayer or singing. A moment when I felt close to God.

Happiest moment was one of many spent with the last love in my life.

Didn't really have to be anything special, just doing ordinary things and being able to share it with that person was incredible. Life was much brighter, the air was fresh, colors more vibrant, scents more aromatic. Mornings were greeted with eager anticipation of whatever the day ahead might bring. My heart literally danced when I was with her.

-- Brian Shibayama

Tributes, communications to and from family members: Junior, Dorothy

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