In April of 1972, the SGI participated in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, DC.
All the Sakura Dancers, Gakkai Brass Bands, and Fife and Drum Corps from the entire East Coast were there. It was like a gathering of the tribes. Young people from Florida and Canada were all there. It was the biggest gathering of Gakkai members that had ever been in Washington DC.
We all chanted to get it together, but the Washington DC Brass Band never played right or marched right in any of the many rehearsals. And we had never rehearsed with the people from the other areas, even though we were all going to play together in the parade.
I played a trumpet (badly). My trumpet sounded like a cow that missed another cow horridly.
We were all in formation on Constitution Avenue when the Drum Major gave the signal to start. At that moment something mystical happened. My instrument and the instruments of my fellow brass band members started to play correctly. We were all in step. The crowd started to roar and cheer (there were plenty of Gakkai members in the crowd). It felt like we were some kind of heroes.
The crowd got even bigger as we approached the judges' stand. The roar of cheers was almost louder than our instruments. We won first place in a national competition, the first time we tried, the first time we had played together, even though we were competing against great bands that had played together for years.
Afterwards we had a large picnic. I was one of the people who dressed up in a special uniform and helped people find where everything was. We were called TCD, which means "Traffic Control Division".
Before lunch my TCD chief told me to go over to the food lines and tell the Japanese lady who was in charge that the TCD should eat first, so that they could direct others to the food lines.
When I told the Japanese lady what the TCD chief told me to tell her, she said "You no better than anyone else. You gotta get in line just like everybody else."
I went back and told the TCD chief what she said. He told me to "go back to that woman and say 'Yougotto!!'" (meaning "You got to!")
I went back and said "Yougotto!!" and she said "Hai!*" and fed all of us.
Years later, when my wife was pregnant with our first child, I was nervous. I did not know if I would be a good dad. I did not know what to do. I did not know if I could handle the responsibility etc. I was in the delivery room when my daughter was born. As soon as I saw her face, I said to myself "Yougotto!"