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Don’t Dwell

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Here’s a bit of a Japanese lesson. “Nisei” refers to the second-generation Japanese Americans who were sent to internment camps during World War II. “Gaman” translates to “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” Lastly, “shikata ga nai” is a phrase that translates to “it cannot be helped.” However, the phrase really means to accept what you cannot change, do your best to let it roll off your back. All of those things apply to Yoshiko Miwa. Now a supercentenarian at 110 years old, her longevity advice is “don’t dwell.”

In fact, she’s the oldest living person of Japanese descent in the United States. Yoshiko has lived through numerous world events and personal losses, and still she refuses to wallow in the negative. Don’t dwell. 

Early Life

Born in California, the fifth of seven children, Yoshiko’s mother and infant brother died of the Spanish flu when she was 5. Unable to care for his family and their farm, her father sent Yoshiko and her siblings to a children’s home run by their Buddhist church. There Yoshiko developed a deep faith, gratitude for the Reverend Matsuura and his wife, and a love of noodles – all of which persist to this day. It was also there where she learned not only Buddhism, but Japanese language, culture, and responsibility.

Love of Family

She graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 1936 and married Henry Miwa in 1939. During World War II they and their families were sent to Poston Internment Camp in Arizona. They were released from the camp in 1945, and relocated to Hawthorne, California, where her husband started a plant nursery and later, Yoshiko got her nursing license. Today, Yoshio enjoys being surrounded by family. Her three sons, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild allow her to experience the warmth and love of family that she didn’t experience as a child after her mother died. 

Life’s Good

Though she lives in a care facility, Yoshiko is still active. She attends church on Sunday, gets her hair done weekly, and enjoys her favorite hobbies. She loves to read, practice ikebana or Japanese flower arranging, Japanese ink art or sumi-e, and Japanese stitching or sashiko. 

Yoshiko makes being a centenarian look pretty good. Despite her difficult young life, her positive attitude and ability to not dwell on anything has served her well. It’s advice we can all use – keep looking forward and don’t linger on the past, particularly anything negative. As you look at the photos from her 110th birthday party, it’s hard to believe that engaged, vibrant, happy woman with the beautiful flower garland around her neck is a supercentenarian. Don’t believe it? See for yourself.

The post Don’t Dwell appeared first on The 100 Year Lifestyle.

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