Oregon, June 2019

I arrived Oregon state and drove to the south to Bly, a small town. On May 5th 1945, a pregnant woman and five children were killed by the Japanese using washi paper balloon bombs.

In Bly, I met Tina, whose 83-years-old father remembered the tragedy. She promised to give him the artwork I brought from Japan; a pretty hydrangea collage painting made with various colored washi paper, created by my 88 years-old mom.

During the War, girls around her age were forced to make these balloons - not knowing what those would become. My mom was 13 years old when this tragedy happened, five killed children were around that age.

Mitchell Monument was quietly sitting in a beautiful forest near the town. I prayed at the church in Bly.

From Portland airport to Bly was about a six hours drive. The driving was great and Oregon was truly beautiful. On the way, I saw many small towns, different clouds (and “caws,”) and of course so many trees. I also witnessed the surface of the lake evaporated as if it was “breathing.”

On the way back from the Michell Monument, I stopped by a sign saying “fresh sheep milk/egg” on route 58. The cup of sheep milk was so tasty, and the lady was so friendly. The delicious unpasteurized milk was $1!

Then I had a coffee break at the store. As soon as I drove out from the store, the police officer followed me from distance without siren. I was wondering why because I was slower than other drivers. He eventually stopped me and said aloud “don’t move or I will put you in jail!!” I couldn’t find my drivers license immediately. I was hoping he wouldn’t check the car trunk, where my iaito was in ! (Thankfully he didn’t)

I told him I visited Bly to pray for peace. He realized I was not such “idiot,” and apologized his aggressive bad words. However, the ticket was $530.

I didn't take it seriously and personally, but it was very sad to feel the race discrimination in such beautiful Oregon small town.

Near the airport, I got into a traffic jam. Heading into the city, I began to see large corporation signs, the other side of America.

I am re-writing this post (7/3)after the Oregon trip. I met many senseis and friends, and was a nice training. Good ending.