On the 35th anniversary of the Karate school, which I attended for many years with my children, this picture was taken. The date was September 10, 2017. This event brought our “family” together. On my right, in the picture, is my daughter, Emily. Emily is 14 years old. On my left is my son, Matthew. Matthew is 16 years old. Also in the picture, is our teacher, Kai Leung. We call him Sensei. Sensei is an honorary word we use for teacher or instructor in Karate. He is like a father to our family, and he is also Emily’s godfather.
On this special day, we all dressed up as if we were going to a wedding. The party was held at a catering hall. We were given certificates and pins of appreciation at the party. We saw many old friends, who have stopped training, but still missed us. Everyone there were like cousins, uncles, and aunts. We danced, ate from the sumptuous buffet, and took many happy pictures, together.
Some friends traveled from California to New York, just for this celebration. Most of my family lives in Brazil, so these people have become as special to me as my family back home, if not more special. These friends have taught me much about Japanese culture and helped me appreciate that culture, greatly. We sat on the floor, bowed to one another, ate sushi, performed Karate, and performed the Chinese Lion Dance.
The person who took the picture was the photographer for the celebration. His name is Takashi. The picture was posed, but unplanned. Pictures of my family are very important because it is a way to help keep memories alive. Pictures also help us see how much we have all changed over the years.
The uniqueness of the celebration lies in the various demonstrations of performance. We perform the Lion Dance. The Lion Dance is traditionally performed during the Chinese New Year. It is said to bring good luck. The children perform Karate demonstrations. Karate is a Chinese martial art, where striking one’s opponent with punches and kicks, is used in self-defense. There is drum music playing. The owner of the school gives a speech.
Even though this party was help at a catering hall, we each had a task to perform. Eddie was in charge of payments. Gerald was in charge of decorations. I sent out all the invitations. Lucy brought a big cake. Everything else was included with the payment to attend.
Our teacher assumed his position when his teacher, Master Miyazaki from Flushing, Queens, sent him to open his own school in Astoria. This event changed him from being just a student into a father figure to many people. Flushing is a neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York. Astoria is a middle-class, commercial neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York.
It is difficult to include a three-generation pedigree, due to limited information regarding my parents and grandparents. My children, of course, share various genetic traits, some of which can be seen in the picture. Hair color, eye color, and facial features are among some of those genetic traits. We do not know, at this time, of any medical issues that can be traced with heredity.
I am happy that my children are being taught about other cultures, such as the Chinese culture, through Karate. The diverse group of people we have trained with also has opened all our minds to acceptance of different ways of doing things as a family. The celebration was a very special night. I felt proud to be part of such a diverse legacy.