President’s article for August, 2016

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Congratulations and thank you!
You and the other members of the Sangha have just participated in two of the most successful undertakings in the temple’s long history.
The biggest accomplishment is the $5.4 million retrofitted and remodeled annex building, which opened for use in late June, just in time for Obon preparation. As of just after Obon, we had received $4.65 million in contributions – the most money ever raised for a temple project. It is gratifying to see that kind of support.
Yes, there is more fundaising to do for Phase 1 and then for Phase 2, but it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate this milestone.
I hope everyone had an opportunity to take look at the “new” annex building. The big improvements include the seismic safety features in the new roof and walls, air conditioning, new kitchen and bigger restrooms. There are many other nice touches such as a hot water dispenser that will come in handy for activities such as an otoki, an ice maker and, for the first time, a sign on the building.
A special thank you to Todd Tsudama, the driving force behind the Generations Phase I project. He spent countless hours working with the contractor, overseeing items big and small, and leading the fundraising committee since late last year.
The second impressive accomplishment was Obon 2016. This festival is the highest grossing ever, with $329,000 from on beer, food, craft, and T-shirt sales ($16,000 more than the previous record high). At our July 7th meeting, the Board decided to allocate 75 percent of net Obon proceeds for Generations Phase 1.
Another special thank you to Jim McClure, our longtime Obon chairperson, who is responsible for the improvements that make the festival one of the best in the South Bay and beyond. I can’t say enough about his leadership, innovative ideas and incredible work ethic. Jim has taken the festival to new heights.
These two milestones demonostrate that the temple and the Sangha are capable of doing great things. Thank you for pulling together and making them happen.

New Komon

We lost three of our senior advisers in the last year: Mas Doi, Mas Horiuchi and Ted Kubota Sr. We miss them. The Komon selflessly provide valuable input on a variety of projects and always have the best interests of the temple in mind.
I’m pleased to say that Board appointed a new Komon at its July meeting. That person is familiar to may of you: Sumi Tanabe. Sumi has been deeply involved not only in numerous temple activities but also in BCA activities.
We’re grateful to Sumi for agreeing to be a senior adviser and look forward to working with her.

Cemetery clean-up

I wanted to give a shout-out to all the Scouts who cleaned up the Japanese section at Oak Hill Cemetery and placed flowers at the niches and grave sites. You did a great job, as you do every year. Arigato!
And there was something new this year. Three Girl Scouts presided over the service: Monika Mizota, Lauren Furukawa and Alison Shikada, with Alison leading everyone in chanting Ju Sei Ge. That was wonderful, girls!

In Gassho,
Dennis Akizuki