10 June 2012

Ruminating on Aki Kurose and Seattle

Generally when I travel out of state for work, I fly in to the destination, spend time working and meeting with colleagues and fly out with little time for exploration.  Last week, however, my friend/colleague and I traveled to Seattle, Washington for work.  Since it was my first visit to Seattle, my friend decided to utilize her hotel points so we could arrive a day early and do some exploring. 

We visited many of the Seattle tourist spots including Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.  Still trying to keep our spending low, we skipped the ride to the top of the Space Needle and instead walked around the perimeter of the attraction, taking in many of the gardens and sculptures surrounding the Space Needle.

One of my favorite observations of the day was in a garden where we saw a stone with a quote by the late Seattle educator and peace activist, Aki Kurose.  “If you don’t have peace within yourself, learning cannot take place.”   Aki Kurose lived from 1925-1998.  Her rich life included time as a teenager in a Japanese internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but she learned not to harvest hatred toward the guards at the camp.  According to Jennifer Ott, writing for HistoryLink.org, Kurose spent much of her adult life teaching children and learning from children, and she became excited about what she learned from them.  This sounds to me like a woman whose work to embrace differences, create peace and promote justice is work from which we could all learn.