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NWLA Hosts Sayonara Luncheon for 2 Keiro Writers

Standing from left: Stanley and Sachiko Kobayashi, Carol Itatani, Helen Erickson, Paul Imahara, Joyce Chinn and Katsuo Yamasaki. Seated from left: Toshiko Yamasaki, Sachii Kaneshiro and Fujiko Yoshikawa.

(Published March 30, 2017)

The Nikkei Women Legacy Association (NWLA) recently hosted a farewell luncheon for the Keiro Writers Remembrance Project class. Two class members, Katsuo Yamasaki and Stanley Kobayashi, will be leaving Sakura Gardens at the end of the month.

The class is losing two prolific writers. The Kobayashis will be moving to Hollenbeck Palms and the Yamasakis are repatriating to Japan after nearly 60 years as U.S. residents due to concerns about the future of Sakura Gardens and rising U.S. health care costs.

This lunch party was arranged by Carol Itatani and Joyce Chinn, who regularly volunteer to meet the class. Helen Erickson, another NWLA member, was also able to attend. Originally, the thought was to bring lunch over to Sakura Gardens, but going out to a restaurant was far more fun for the class since they do not get to go out very often.

Yamasaki expressed his appreciation for NWLA’s writing class because it gave him the opportunity to reminisce on his life experiences and made his time more pleasant and meaningful in the retirement home. Kobayashi would like to continue writing after his move and plans to come back to attend NWLA’s classes at Sakura Gardens.

“The class members have so much to say and their stories have been a gift to us,” event organizers said. “Ironically, the tables are turned as it is they who are the teachers and we are learning from their precious stories.”

NWLA continues to conduct the bi-monthly writing class at Sakura Gardens in Boyle Heights, formerly known as Keiro Retirement Home, and invites others to join in this valuable experience. The classes meet on the first and third Monday of each month in the fourth-floor meeting room of the facility. New members are welcome. For more information, contact Carol Itatani at

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