“Okagesama de, Arigato – Because of you, I am well” was the theme for the 64th Northwest Convention hosted by the Tacoma Buddhist Temple at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Tukwila, Washington on February 11th to 13th. For the 400 plus attendees, it was a weekend built around the theme of “Okagesama de Arigato.” All Northwest temple elders over 88 years of age were specially honored at the Saturday evening banquet and in a photo display along the convention floor hallways. One couple had attended all 64 conventions! At the banquet, the keynote speaker was the Executive Director of a Japanese American Legacy Project. He showed a few video testimonials given by Nisei elders which illustrated so well the values of our immigrant forefathers. And of course, the special guest speakers, Socho Ogui and Rinban Bob Oshita spoke eloquently to the theme on Saturday at the keynote addresses.
As those who have attended previous Northwest Conventions know, the hardest part of the weekend is deciding which of the talks and activities to take in, the choices are so many.
Friday evening featured everything from discussion with Rev. Bob Oshita, sumie, crafting, opportunities to empty your pockets at Uwajimaya or the Casino, or just socializing and fellowship in a hospitality room overflowing with food and drinks. Saturday had even more options: a meditation workshop, yoga, haiku, gatha workshop, Red Cross workshop, a talk on Medicare, ukulele practice for the youth, talks by other Northwest ministers.
“Okagesama de,” the 22 attendees from VBT had a wonderful weekend of meeting old friends, making new ones, and listening to the Dharma. We were also able to meet and hear Reverend Kojo Kakihara, the new minister of the Tacoma Buddhist temple. Arigato to all the members of the Tacoma and Northwest temples for a great time.