Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | JANM conference: Reception at the Consul General’s home and media coverage
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JANM conference: Reception at the Consul General’s home and media coverage

It’s been a busy start to the conference organized by the Japanese American National Museum. We worked from home, setting up media coverage including sending a reporter and photographer from The Denver Post on a bus trip to Amache, the WWII internment camp in southeast Colorado. The result this morning is a powerful, well-written A-1 — front page — story by Jordan Dresser, with photos by Helen Richardson (kudos to the staff, who added a couple of the extra photos from the print edition onto the online story).

Last night Erin and I attended our first official conference event, because Erin wasn’t feeling 100% during the day. We went to a reception for the conference at the home of Kazuaki Kubo, and mingled with Denver’s Japanese American leadership, and the likes of former JANM Executive Director Irene Hirano (who recently married Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawai’i, who wasn’t at the reception but will be at the conference today for the veteran’s salute), former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta and actor/JANM President George Takei.

Takei was great — he spoke in Japanese to Mrs. Kubo about how he got to speak Japanese in the TV series “Heroes” and viewers had to follow along by reading the English subtitles at the bottom of the screen.

What a voice Takei has been blessed with. Whether he’s intoning in English or Japanese, he sounds like his deep voicebox is coated with honey. He’s been a hero of mine since is early days as Sulu on the original “Star Trek” series, and I was delighted to see him in his role as Hiro Nakamura’s (played by actor Masi Oka) father on “Heroes,” a role as a Japanese businessman with a mysterious past. He was killed early in the second season, but looks like he’s coming back….

We got a tip from Brad Altman, Takei’s partner (the two will be married at a ceremony at JANM in September), to watch “Heroes” this fall when the show’s third season starts.

We groused about how the Hollywood writer’s strike seemed to mess up the second season’s storyline and dynamics, and Altman agreed. Hopefully the third season will have the same magic that made the first season of “Heroes” an unexpected, amazing experience for me.

Speaking of heroes, we’re heading out in a bit for the downtown Hyatt Hotel to prepare for today’s big noontime Welcome Ceremony.

Erin contacted as many Colorado JA veterans as possible and many will be there for a tribute by the conference during the Welcome Ceremony, followed by a panel about JAs in the military, which will include George “Joe” Sakato, a Medal of Honor recipient of the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team from World War II.

Should be a moving experience. I’ll Twitter during it (the updates will also appear in Facebook) and I’ll blog tonight.