I was born in California 85 years ago. When I was eight years old, my family moved to Japan to begin a new life there. I briefly attended Yamaguchi University and when I was 21 years old, I returned once again to the U.S. to take up residence in West L.A. I was drafted for military service while enrolled at Santa Monica City College and served two years in the Army stationed in Hokkaido. Due to my Japanese language competency, I was given important assignments. After being discharged from the Army, I returned to L.A. and started a business as a gardener. When I was 28 years old, I purchased a home in Venice Beach but shortly after that, my mother passed away.
In 1967, I returned to Japan where I met my wife-to-be, Katsuko, and we were married. Robert, our eldest son, was born in 1969. During the early years of marriage, I took on three jobs to support my family. I was a gardener during the mornings, and worked at an insurance agency in the afternoons. On weekends, I worked for Bekins Moving & Storage as a handyman. As a result of the long hours of work without any time off, I was able to open my own insurance agency at 44 years of age. In 2001, my eyes caught an advertisement by the Shinran Center in L.A. with the title, “Why are you alive?” I was so intrigued at the thought that such an important theme could be covered in a two-hour lecture that I decided I definitely had to attend the lecture. I participated in the lecture and was invited to join the Shinran Center. The following day, I became a member of the Shinran Center in L.A. As a result of becoming members, both Katsuko and I became active participants by distributing flyers and studying the teachings of Buddha three days a week.
But approximately three years ago, I began suffering severe back pain and became disabled to the point I could no longer walk. Because of my physical impairment, I have not visited Japan for two years. During the Shinran-kai 50th Anniversary celebration, Missionary Hiroyuki Izumi extended courtesies to me and Katsuko and even gave us a personal tour of the Headquarters.
During Missionary Izumi’s recent visit to L.A., Missionary Izumi greeted me with the message, “See you in Japan for the 55th Anniversary celebration.” With these words of encouragement and Katsuko’s support, I decided to participate in the 55th Anniversary celebration. Having undergone a kidney operation recently, and with a heart operation pending, I realized that with my advanced age, the 55th Anniversary celebration will be my last trip to Japan. Human form is difficult to obtain; I have already attained it. Buddhist truth is difficult to hear; I have already heard it. If I do not achieve salvation in this lifetime, when will I ever do so? I want to listen to the lecture intently so I won’t have regrets in life.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #31 | 2013, I’m Going to the 2000-Mat Hall Again in Order to Attain True Faith
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