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Members Remember — by Mary Okada Fujitani

The following remembrance by Mary Okada Fujitani appeared in a booklet created in 2008 for the 70th anniversary of Jikoen Hongwanji.

Mary Fujitani with family membersMost of the recollections of Jikoen is a brief span of time approximately six months and even then it was every other week that we met. Due to the outbreak of World War II, all temples were closed except Jikoen. We lived some distance from Jikoen and Rev. Ernest Hunt would pick up my two sisters and me and a few others, and we headed for Jikoen.

What a huge building it was! And so many steps! Wow! How will we ever get up there? We loved the temple…so huge, many steps, the steps went straight up. On the side of the steps was an incline, like a giant sliding board. Up and down the stairs we ran, competing with each other. My impression of this humongous building on Houghtailing Street is still entrenched in my mind to this day. Was there a roof?… I could never tell as the building from the street was so high one could never see the top.

Only in the twilight of my life can I really appreciate every bit of encounter I’ve made in my lifetime, with Jikoen and with life itself.