Yesterday I participated in a Chinese New Year Art Walk led by Brian and Nancy. Our group toured Portland’s Chinatown, which I learned was chronologically preceded by Japantown. Racial bias created laws against further immigration of Chinese workers brought into the United States for the purpose of building the Rail Roads, which led to the hiring of Japanese workers instead, and in Portland, some settled into what is now known as Old Town. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese in the U.S. faced national prejudice, and they were compelled to sell their homes and businesses before their forced internment in camps. Many sold their businesses to the Chinese families that they themselves had replaced, and Portland’s Chinatown was born. For more information, I recommend visiting the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, 121 NW 2nd Ave., Portland, Or. www.oregonnikkei.org
Another stop on the tour was Portland’s classic Chinese Garden, NW 3rd & Everett, Portland, Oregon. They have many activities planned from January 26 (today) through February 8, 2009 in celebration of the Chinese New Year and the Year of the OX. Visit www.portlandchinesegarden.org for their full calendar of events. While there, I received a Chinese Red Envelope, the traditional gift of good fortune for the New Year (don’t we all need one of those right now?) and a free Chinese fortune too. Best of all, the sun was out, the garden sparkled like a jewel, and I tried out the new camera David gave me for Christmas.