and Joe's Wedding
Miko's grandmother made the best noodles. She lived at the foot of Mt. Fuji, in a log-harvesting community. Grandma had opposed Miko going to school in the U.S. It was too violent. She had lost a son, a soldier, in WWII. A round-eyed devil killed her Hiro.
Miko loved her grandmother, but she wanted to learn what the world was like for herself.
She learned about Buddhism while studying at a large U.S. University. She met and fell in love with a kind Italian-American named Joe.
Joe's father and uncles had fought in WWII. One of his uncles lost his life at Iwo Jima. They hated the Japanese. Joe's Uncle Tony had traveled all over occupied Japan.
Joe's uncles were big, brawny longshoremen. Joe was considered "college material," meaning he was too small to do the manly work of loading and unloading large cargo vessels.
After Miko's grandmother heard her favorite granddaughter loved a hated American, she had seizures and was hospitalized.
Joe's grandmother spoke only Italian when he visited her. Bad sign. She could not express her anger in English.
Miko and Joe knew their love would be opposed. They began a Daimoku campaign. After chanting Nam Myoho-renge-kyo three hours a day for two months, they decided to teach their relatives to chant before announcing their desire to wed.
Miko returned to her grandmother's village. She knew if her grandmother chanted, the other relatives would also chant, and if her relatives chanted they would be able to accept a round-eye into the family.
Joe convinced his Uncle Tony to chant. Tony helped Joe get the whole family to chant. Joe and Tony went to Japan together to join Miko. Tony could speak some Japanese, but it was a bit rusty.
During the long plane ride, Uncle Tony showed Joe some of the yellowed pictures he had taken while he was in Japan during the occupation. Miko met them at the airport. When they got to her grandmother's village, Miko's grandmother ran to Joe and hugged him. She was only a little over four feet tall, so she really rapped her arms around his legs, almost knocking him over.
After the wedding, Tony pulled out some of the photos he had taken during the Occupation, and was showing them to the people at the reception. One of the photos was of a bunch of Japanese boys sitting on a bridge. A boy in the middle had a big toothless grin. One of the Japanese guests pointed to the boy and said "He is now the mayor of this town."
us that mixed-marriages could not work, We were told that we would never
get along. They were right. We haven't got along for almost 30 years,"
Joe told me as he gave Miko another hug. She just smiled and looked at