Japan Tsunami Commemoration – PCC


♪♪♪ BRYAN HULL: Everyone, welcome. Take a seat. My name is Bryan Hull. I’m the faculty chair of the Internationalization Initiative here at PCC. I’d like to welcome you; thank you for coming. How many people were here a year ago for our original event that was held on, I think, a Friday night? All right! I would like to thank the film crew, English and World Languages for their constant support, the Sylvania Diversity Fund, the International Organization Initiative, and Asian Studies; they all contributed in many ways to help bring this event about and right now I’d like to introduce the person who really is responsible for bringing this event: Takako Yamaguchi. [applause] TAKAKO: Thank you. I think Brian is especially kind for doing the introduction for me. Japanese: Good morning. CROWD: Good morning. TAKAKO: Nice to see bright faces this morning, and thanks to all of you who gave us the presentation prelude in the CC mall area this morning. Many of those presentations will be repeated between now and noon and Reverend, will you please stand for us? I’m sorry for asking you… This is our special guest speaker today, Reverend Gregory Gibbs of the Oregon Buddhist Temple in Portland. Thank you so much for coming. [applause] Also, Carol, can you raise one hand? Is that, am I saying that right? Wonderful. Thank you for bringing our young students on campus to join us. At this time I would like to introduce Dave Stout. Dr. Stout, of English and Modern Languages. Would you like to say a few words to the students? Today’s theme is tsunami one year from and commemorating the victims and also the second part of the theme is sending our message from PCC, our care and also new hope for Japan and its people. At this time how about everyone who is involved with song practice, would you like to come and sing for us? There’s a big number of you so I welcome you to the stage please. ♪♪♪ STUDENT: This first song that we’re going to be singing is Sakura Sakura. It’s a traditional Japanese folk song and I hope you guys enjoy it. Cherry blossoms Cherry blossoms, air of March , as far as we can see It looks almost like mists or clouds, scent travels, now let us go see Cherry blossoms Cherry blossoms, on the hills and fields, as far as we can see It looks almost like mists or clouds, they are fragrant in the morning sun Cherry blossoms Cherry blossoms, in full blooms [applause] STUDENT: Our next song is Sakura Ume Momo. It’s an original song I believe and I hope you guys enjoy it. Sakura, Ume, Momo, come to Japan Bright and warm smiling faces await you Gentle love embraces everyone Momiji, Fuji, Kiku, let’s go to Japan Bright and warm smiling faces await you Smiling faces await you [applause] STUDENT: And the final song is Oregon to Nihon Jin, Oregon and Japanese. Oregon and Japan not so far When we think of future friends not yet known Our hearts pounce As we hold our limitless dream Our hearts pounce Let’s begin that dream at PCC Tokyo and Oregon not so far When we think of future friends not yet known Our hearts pounce Thank you for the kindness from everyone of the globe STUDENT: Thank you sensei. [applause] STUDENT: Thank you. TAKAKO: Thank you. That was mainly supported by our Japanese 103 class. Minister and Adjusa, would you like to introduce yourselves? version I think that he’s just hurts we happened to meet you They will do a poetry reading. And the first one is written by this is an original haiku and tanka by one of our students. I’m going to let them introduce themselves. MELISSA: Hi, I’m Melissa and I’m the one who wrote these. This first one was translated by Shouta, who isn’t here today, and the second one was translated by Adjusa and I’ll let her start. ADJUSA: Hi, I’m Adjusa and I’m an ESOL student. I have been here in America for a month. Thank you. MELISSA: Embers and sparks, with every flap of molten wing, burst into living flame; though all is now chaos, from destruction, we will rise. ADJUSA: Embers and sparks, with every flap of molten wing, burst into living flame; though all is now chaos, from destruction, we will rise. MELISSA: White-capped tsunami, ruined houses float away, with the ebbing tide. ADJUSA: White-capped tsunami, ruined houses float away, with the ebbing tide. [applause] TAKAKO: Adjusa, would you like to raise your hand one more time? You just arrived in Portland one month ago, is that right? Welcome to PCC, our level four ESOL student. [applause] TAKAKO: At this time our next poetry reading is from Andrew. Andrew, do I see you here? Ok, perfect. Andrew supported by Yoko-san, please. And while they are getting up here, in between the poetry readings and songs, there’s food so please enjoy some of the food. How about at this time I would like to introduce my long time colleagues and new colleagues of the Japanese department. Kamoshita Sensei, Kamoshita Sensei, would you please raise your hand? How about Yamanouchi Sensei? Are you still here? She had to go teach I think. How about Chiho Murphy Sensei? Are you here? Chiho? Oh, back there. These are my wonderful colleagues and I know you are in their classes as well. Thank you for coming and thank you for your support. [applause] Erica, would you like to play the flute after this group? Ok, thank you. I’m going to turn the mic over to Andrew and Yoko-san. ANDREW: Hello, I’m Andrew. I’m a fist year Japanese student. Today Yoko and I will be reciting and excerpt from a song called “Go Mad and Mark” by a band called Envy, from Japan. I won’t really go into explaining the reason why, you can kind of take the meaning as it is. I’ll start with the English and then Yoko will translate. Staring with farewell. Then comes the time the promise expects At the end of the world I found I could not turn back. Staring with farewell. Then comes the time the promise expects. Someday…. Someday…. This feeling goes on endlessly, I obtained after a total transformation The map comes back into a faded color, I tear it and stray. The past, tomorrow, the future, it’s all fixed. It goes on, intense, growl, it goes on Stop, eternally, calm, stop reach ahead, stir and reach mark today, go mad and mark. YOKO: Staring with farewell. Then comes the time the promise expects. At the end of the world I found I could not turn back. Staring with farewell. Then comes the time the promise expects. Someday… Someday… This feeling goes on endlessly, I obtained after a total transformation The map comes back into a faded color I tear it and stray The past, tomorrow, the future, it’s all fixed It goes on, intense, growl, it goes on Stop, eternally, calm, stop reach ahead, stir, reach Mark today– go mad and mark. [applause] TAKAKO: Erica-san, are you ready? Ok. Behind the scenes there were three or four different translators so Will-san, what was the name of your translator? Can you shout it out? Maki-san? Is she here? Ok, would you raise your hand to be recognized? She was the translator for Will-san. Thank you. Shouta could not be here but he’s also a behind the scenes translator. Tomoaki-san was on campus until 10pm last night trying to help one of the students with translations so there’s a lot of behind the scenes, there’s a lot that’s been happening. Please come in, newly joining groups. These are my colleague in History, Sylvia Grey’s students. So please come in and enjoy food and company. Erica, are you ready? Thank you. ERICA: I’m Erica and I’m a first year student in Japanese and my major is education. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [applause] TAKAKO: Our next student performer or presenter I’m going to let her introduce herself. You’re in ESOL level 5. And when did you come to Oregon? Six months ago she arrived in Oregon and she’s in ESOL level 5. Would you like to introduce yourself please? I cannot speak English well so I will speak in Japanese. Hello everyone. My name is Jiwan. I’m actually from Korea but I lived in Japan. Last year after the tsunami I was very sad and the people of Korea were also very sad for their neighbor, Japan. So I wrote a song on the piano for Japan, “I wish for the Japanese people to be strong”. [applause] First year and second year students, Japanese language students, did you catch some of the words she was saying? Where is her original place? Korea. Jiwan is from Korea and she’s sending lots of love and good cheer to Japan and the Japanese people. Thank you for playing the piano, Jiwan. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [applause] TAKAKO: Thank you very much, Jiwan for your wonderful Korean style, friendship piano. Newcomers, visitors, please come in and have a seat; there’s some food behind you as well. Please grab some food. And at this time I believe I’m going to take a pause as you find your seats and some food. Let’s see, Will-san, not quite yet right? Gerald-san, are you here? Ok, thank you. Before I introduce a couple more student presenters I would like to have our main guest speaker, Reverend Gibbs, would you please stand up? Thank you for coming. May I introduce to you our main speaker today, Reverend Gibbs of the Oregon Buddhist Temple. I’m going to speak with him for a few moments but may I also introduce to you two special guests standing right there we have not introduced yet Frank, president and senior CEO of Tokai Carbon Co in Hillsboro, and also his executive assistant Miss Akiko Kondo, thank you for coming. They will be at our future events and activities for our Japanese program and world languages at PCC Sylvania. Thank you for your support. [applause] ♪♪♪ REVEREND GIBBS: Good morning. So please to be here and I want to thank Yamaguchi Sensei for inviting me, and I’m going to do three bits of liturgy. It was mentioned that I was your speaker but I’m really a presenter. I’m not going to speak much but I’ll do one bit of liturgy right now and then another bit of liturgy and then a formal reading of a pastoral letter at a later juncture. So what I’m going to do now is called Shi Shin Rai and the two pieces of liturgy chant are actually in Chinese. Japanese Buddhism has always continued to use Chinese as the educated language of the continent and so for formal purposes we still use Chinese. This piece called Shi Shin Rai literally is relying on the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha but as you may know Buddhism is rather liberal, non-dogmatic and flexible so we really see this as as simply expressing our grounding in reality and expressing our hope that the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and also the survivors will be deeply grounded in reality as they continue to move out of that darkness and into greater light. Again, this is called Shi Shin Rai. [chanting the Shi Shin Rai] Thank you very much. [applause] TAKAKO: Thank you. So at this time we have a poetry reading from Will-san. And then from Gerald-san and Kyoko-san. If you could introduce yourselves and your major if you’d like to share. So this poem is written by Will, one of our students here, and Kyoko-san is a wonderful volunteer here in the Japanese program and helped with the translations going on as well. Thank you. WILL: Hi, my name is Will and I’m a first year student in Yamaguchi-sensei’s class. This is a poem that I wrote and it was translated by my good friend Mahi Yoshinaga who’s in the back and will be recited by Kyoko-san. KYOKO: Hi, my name is Kyoko and I’m a volunteer that helps with the Japanese classes. Thank you. WILL: Devastation swept over the land and lives of your innocent people. KYOKO: Devastation swept over the land and lives of your innocent people. WILL: No one deserves the experience that you endured. KYOKO: No one deserves the experience that you endured. WILL: But the acts of mother nature were fierce and indiscriminate. KYOKO: But the acts of mother nature were fierce and indiscriminate. WILL: Through blood sweat and tears, you remained graceful and strong. KYOKO: Through blood sweat and tears, you remained graceful and strong. WILL: The world prays and shares pride as you heal and repair. KYOKO: The world prays and shares pride as you heal and repair. WILL: Thank you. [applause] TAKAKO: Thank you. Gerald-san? So you’re going to share an article, is that right? GERALD: My name is Gerald. I’ve been studying Japanese for two years now. My major is in Electronic Engineering or perhaps Civil Engineering; I’m not sure yet. But I want to share this article that has important messages on work ethic, following your deeply-held convictions, and the will to go above and beyond. It’s from the Mainichi Japan newspaper, March 19, 2012. It’s titled: Onegawa Nuke Plant Saved from Tsunami by One Man’s Strength, Determination. It’s by Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer. GERALD: While the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the March 2011 tsunami, the nuclear plant it shares with the equally devastated city of Ishinomaki survived. The reason it did so, I discovered in a March 7 article in the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, is mostly down to the personal strength and tenacity of one Yanosuke Hirai, who passed away in 1986. There is a lot for us to learn from one episode involving Hirai, especially now as “stress tests” on idled nuclear reactors are conducted in a general atmosphere of public distrust. To help us understand Hirai’s contribution, I turned to 82-year-old Tatsuji Oshima, who worked under Hirai at Onagawa plant operator Tohoku Electric Power Co. According to Oshima, Hirai’s true value as a person was in his sense of duty that made him “take responsibility for the results of his decisions.” He wasn’t the sort to believe that everything would be all right “as long as people keep to set standards.” Rather, though he paid careful attention to regulations, compliance was never his goal. Hirai was the kind of manager and engineer to exceed regulations and do the checks needed to get to the heart of a problem. The breakwater that proved so inadequate to the task of protecting the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant from the ocean was 10 meters high. GERALD: The one defending the Onagawa nuclear plant is 14.8 meters tall, and it turns out Hirai had to fight a one-man war to get it built. The reason he was so determined was his careful study of the past, which revealed that in the year 869 a massive tsunami had hit the spot where the Onagawa plant now stands. Hirai was born in 1902 in the town of Funaoka (now Shibata), southern Miyagi Prefecture. He studied civil engineering at Tokyo Imperial University the present-day University of Tokyo, and afterward got a job at the Toho Denryoku power company, owned by the then “king of electric power” Yasuzaemon Matsunaga. He went on to work for Japan Electric Generation & Transmission Co. and, after World War II, Tohoku Electric, where he eventually became vice president. GERALD: After leaving the firm in 1962, Hirai became head of technology research at the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), founded by his mentor Matsunaga. In 1968, he joined the coastal facilities planning committee for the construction of the Onagawa nuclear plant, and he poured his efforts into protecting the new reactors from tsunami damage. Hirai was apparently the only person on the entire project to push for the 14.8-meter breakwater, while many of his colleagues said that 12 meters would be sufficient and derided Hirai’s proposal as excessive. Hirai’s authority and drive, however, eventually prevailed, and Tohoku Electric spent the extra money to build the 14.8-meter-tall shield. Some 40 years later, on March 11, 2011, a 13-meter-high tsunami slammed into the coast at Onagawa. GERALD: Another of Hirai’s proposals also helped save the plant during the disaster. Expecting the sea to draw back before a tsunami, he made sure the plant’s cooling system was designed so it could still draw water for the reactors. The tsunami that Hirai anticipated came 25 years after his death, and we can say that he was absolutely right. What made him so implacable and gave him such a strong sense of responsibility? “Corporate ethics and compliance may be similar, but their cores are different,” says Oshima from his home in Sendai. “From the perspective of corporate social responsibility, we cannot say that there is no need to question a company’s actions just because they are not a crime under the law.” In 1965, the then Crown Prince (and now Emperor) Akihito took a tour of CRIEPI, and a photo of His Highness and tour guide Hirai hangs on the wall of the Matsunaga memorial office. I went to have a look at it myself, and in Hirai’s straight-lipped expression I could sense his determination. Appropriately, his posthumous Buddhist name translates roughly as “piercing truth.” GERALD: Oshima provides yet another enlightening anecdote about Hirai. Just after the disasters last year, he got a phone call from his former boss’ family. Hirai’s youngest daughter apparently told Oshima, “I saw my father in a dream. He said, ‘Tell Oshima I said all the time that the electricity industry should not get involved with nuclear power.'” Hirai had helped make nuclear power a reality in Japan, and was already scaling back his duties before the first reactors were built. Oshima can’t remember Hirai ever turning against nuclear power, making his daughter’s dream all the more puzzling. What Oshima learned from Hirai was, rather, to improve the quality of nuclear power generation. Hundreds of people would now stand as one to tell Hirai that such a thing is very difficult indeed, but I will leave that subject alone for now. Reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s 01 nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture have passed government-mandated stress tests, and the firm is now seeking the official go-ahead to restart them. A final decision by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and the Cabinet ministers concerned is likely within the month, and they are apparently calling for local residents to approve the move. GERALD: However, at its core the nuclear reactor restart issue is not a political one. Is there any expert with the same insight, powers of persuasion and spirit as Hirai advising and supporting the prime minister now? That’s what I’d like to know. That’s it and I think just recently they’re still working on whether they’re going to restart it so it’s a current issue. [applause] ♪♪♪ REVEREND GIBBS: Well thank you again for inviting me and what I’m going to do now is I mentioned I have one more piece of liturgy to chant and I want to do a formal reading the letter and as I do that I’m just going to stand to the side here so that anyone who whishes to offer incense may. This is a pan-Asian way of expressing concern and respect so if any of you wish to, this is a more modern Japanese way of offering incense. The older way is of course standing up the sticks of incense. That was when all our shrines were open air. Almost all Japanese Buddhist temples are closed so we came up with a way that generates a little less smoke. I have a charcoal there and some burning incense sticks. If you just drop the granulated incense over the charcoal if you wish. If you wish to do this while I’m chanting, please go ahead. REVEREND GIBBS: Again I’m going to first chant a piece called San Wujo literally meaning to invite Amida Buddha, the Buddha of limitless wisdom and endless life into the room, encouraging Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of our tradition, and encouraging awoken persons, enlightened persons from all directions to be with us, but again the actual feeling about this is even more broad. It’s the acknowledging of the positive influences in the background of our lives, the positive influences we hope are flowing into the lives of the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami and the survivors and after I’ve finished that I’ll read the letter first in English so you will get the meaning and then close by reading in Japanese, the only thing I’ll actually do in Japanese, reading the letter On White Ashes in Japanese. REVEREND GIBBS: The thrust of this letter is to caution us that life is brief but looked at in context, we’re being told five hundred years ago when Rennyo Shonin wrote this letter that you might only have a hundred years. So it’s not saying that you’re not going to get hit by a car today, it means if you have the full run of your life which should be about a hundred years, it’s still not enough time. It’s a human problem, it’s a problem with the human condition. Even if we have a hundred years we can’t do everything we wished we could do in this life. The second message, besides life being brief is that life is precious. Buddhists do not believe this is a veil of tears, we believe that this world is Nirvana. REVEREND GIBBS: It’s just my ignorance that keeps me from seeing the beauty and goodness of this life thoroughly so we’re also encouraged to appreciate this life and the good things in this life and the third message in that pastoral letter is that for everyone there will be a new life at the end of this biological life, that biological death is not the absolute end for any of us, so this is the thrust of the letter and the thrust of the liturgy that I’ll chant, again in Tang Dynasty clerical Chinese, is to encourage the positive influences that are in this world to flow into our lives and flow into the lives of the victims and survivors of the earthquake and tsunami of last year so again as I ring the bell and start the chanting anyone who wishes to come forward and offer incense here, please do. [bell ringing] [chanting San Wujo] [chanting San Wujo] [chanting San Wujo] [chanting San Wujo] [bell ringing] REVEREND GIBBS: Anyone who wishes to, please continue to go forward and offer incense. Drop a granulate of incense over the burning charcoal, showing our concern and respect for our friends in Japan. I will read this pastoral letter first in the English translation. The translation was done by a fellow Oregonian, Reverend Doctor Titus Uno of Eugene. And then I will close my portion of the program by reading the same letter in Japanese. Rennyo Shonin’s Letter, “On White Ashes” As we deeply observe the transient form of human life, we realize that in this world, from the beginning to the end, what is momentary and passing, is the recourse of human life. Thus we have not heard of anyone receiving human form that lasts for ten thousand years. The course of life ebbs very rapidly. Can a person preserve his or her body for one hundred years, under the present conditions? Not knowing whether death will come today or tomorrow, those who depart before us are as countless as the drops of dew. Therefore in the morning we may have radiant health and in the evening we might be white ashes. When the winds of uncertainty strike, our eyes are closed. When the last breath leaves our body, the healthy face is transformed and we lose the appearance of radiant life. Our loved ones may gather around and lament, but lamentation is to no avail. When such an event occurs, the body is set in to an open field and cremated, leaving only the white ashes. What a sad plight. Thus we see that what humans cannot control is the passing away of the young and the old alike. Therefore, we should all look to our future life and with deep reliance in Amida Buddha. Repeat his holy name. REVEREND GIBBS: Again if I could summarize the thrust of the letter, life is brief, even if you have 100 years. Don’t fail to appreciate it. We’re not in a hurry to get to the pure land, we’re not in a hurry to get to some better place. It’s here now if we could just see it thoroughly. And none the less, for those of us who do not awaken in this life, the moment of death can be the moment of all dreams come true. It can be entering into this world in a fully awakened fashion. I will then read that letter, the Hakkotsu no Gobunsho, from the Japanese text. REVEREND GIBBS: If anyone has not yet and wishes to offer incense, please continue to come forward. [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [White Ashes chanted in Japanese] [bell ringing] REVEREND GIBBS: Thank you very much. [applause] ♪♪♪

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