Letters for Sunday, August 11, 2013

• A touching obon honors my son • Questioning community commitment • County auditor is efficient

A touching obon honors my son

A volunteer from the Koloa Jodo Mission said they’ve been doing the toro nagashi ceremony for more than 30 years. The Rev. Kosen Ishikawa of the Koloa Jodo Mission is doing an outstanding job of continuing this annual tradition for the community of Koloa and the residents of Kauai.

This year marked an extra special toro nagashi ceremony for me because of the unexpected death of my son, Air Force pilot Capt. Reid Kijiro Nishizuka in Afghanistan on April 27, 2013.  

Ishikawa made this a memorable ceremony for us on Aug. 4 for the Nishizuka family because he placed Reid’s toro right behind the mast in the center of the boat. He mentioned to me that Reid can now be the captain of the lead boat to guide the departure of the souls of our deceased ancestors.

At age 30, no one would ever imagine that Nishizuka would be the captain of lead boat for this year’s toro nagashi. Obon is also a special tradition each summer on Kauai.

We participated at the bon dance at the Koloa Jodo Mission last month. The purpose of dancing during the obon period is to welcome the spirits of the dead. I had firsthand observance and experience that this actually happens.

During the Friday night bon dance, right in the middle of the dancing, the music suddenly stops with no explanation because everything else, like the power and the sound system, was still working properly. But it did give the reverend an opportunity to explain to the public what obon is all about.

The music resumed like nothing happened after Ishikawa got to say a few words and apologized to the crowd.  

On Aug. 3, it was pouring rain until 6 p.m. At that specific time while driving to the Koloa Jodo Mission, I asked my deceased son to please stop the raining so that his parent doesn’t have to dance in the rain.  

My prayer was answered and it stopped raining suddenly and did not resume until after the last song for the bon dance was played. Was it a coincidence?

Or was it my son’s spirit visiting us on Kauai? Whatever or whichever is the case; I am a believer in the obon now. I look forward to next year when the spirit of our deceased loved ones return to Kauai once again.

Special thanks goes out to Dennis Fujimoto from The Garden Island newspaper for always being there to document and memorialize these two very spiritual and important traditions on Kauai each year.

Ricky Nishizuka, Las Vegas

Questioning community commitment

In response to “To pay a fee, or not, to pee” (TGI Aug. 5): This is almost a joke to say that the owner of Kong Lung shopping center cares about anyone in the Kilauea community.

This is the same business owner who may be closing down the Kilauea Town Market after being there since 1920, because the community no longer needs a grocery store. So a bathroom is not surprising.

John Stevens, Kilauea

County auditor is efficient

Having known Ernie Pasion for many years as a client and as a friend, I cannot say enough good things about him.

I was extremely happy to have seen him get the county auditor’s position in 2009 and, after seeing the outstanding job he and his staff did on six audits, I know that my expectations of what he would do were completely justified. Whatever job he is entrusted with, he will do that job far better than any other person that might have been appointed.

It is hard to believe that some negative rumors are floating around to get rid of Ernie as his job success is fact and no one should tamper with those responsible for these accomplishments.

In this writer’s view, there are far too many people in our government who truly represent the best interests of their constituents and Ernie stands at the top of this list. Let him continue to do his job.

Mike Martinez, Kapaa

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