October 5-7, 2007 at the Jodo Shinshu Center
On October 5-7, the 2007 CYBA College Conference was held at the JSC. It was my first college conference and Lisa Horikawa, my ride, and I started off kind of rough and ended up getting there at 7:30 when we were supposed to be there at 6. But right when we got there, we were welcomed by the chaperons and Rev. Umezu and we were immediately offered some teriyaki chicken and miso soup which was DELICIOUS! And just as we were finishing eating, we headed off to the grocery store. I was so confused I had no idea what was going on but I tagged along in my group. And not once, did I feel out of place. Even at the grocery store, after we bought all our supplies, we all stood in the parking lot and we talked. Even though I hadn’t had any formal introductions to anyone, no one cared. We all talked and laughed it was good times.
After we got back, we made masks. I know I did not want to do that because I do not like people touching my face, but everyone made it so much fun. There was Vaseline and white powder from the mask stuff everywhere. It was crazy. That night, let’s just say that finding a place to sleep was incredibly difficult. There were people sleeping on the floor in the common area, in the rooms on the floors, in the beds, on the couches it was crazy. Not that we got much sleep anyways. We were all so excited to be there. It was a good chance to get to know each other.
Saturday, we had to be up and before 9 for breakfast. We didn’t get to sleep til about 3 the night before so that was definitely not fun. But we had a personality workshop, which was fun. It was one of those where you are categorized into which color has most of your personality. And then we grouped with the people who had the same colors and we identified with a historical figure. That got a little out of hand, and we kept referring to our color groups the rest of the weekend. It was ridiculous. After that, we had lunch, which was still DELICIOUS: Noodles and Shoyu weenie.
And then we had a discussion with Rev. Harry Bridge. We talked about the teaching of the Buddha and No-Self and impermanence. It was very enlightening, and difficult to comprehend at the same time. After that, we had discussions about how we could spread the word of Buddhism to other students and raise money for the JSC. We all came up with several ideas and now the only thing to do is to act on them. After that, it was question and answer time with Socho Ogui, which now that I think about it, we didn’t ask him very many questions… but he did hear our ideas and I think he thought they were good.
Anyways. after that, we finally got to put those groceries we bought to some use! We made our own dinner. There was chili, hot dogs, fries, somen salad, cream of broccoli soup, alfredo, snicker doodles, Jello, Fried bananas and chocolate it was DELICIOUS! and so much fun. We were all walking back and forth between kitchens, and having fun cooking in both kitchens that were full of people.
After we ate, we killed time and painted our masks, played spoons, dominoes, and we had even created a game that required throwing markers and it was oddly popular. Once again, we stayed up late that night. We were making random videos, eating more food, talking, hanging out. And we didn’t get to bed until after 4 even though we had to be up for 9 o’clock service.
But, we all dragged ourselves off the floors, or out of bed and we made our way down to service to listen to some Youth Minister Assistants and Socho’s message. We took our group pictures and that was the end. We went upstairs, began to repack and took out most of the towels and the bed sheets out and took pictures with the people we had just met and were now about to leave behind. It was a sad day for me. Going, I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. But as I began to watch, listen, talk, open up in general, no one was judging me. No one was excluding me. It was the exact opposite of what I thought it was going to be. And now that I think about it, I’m not really sure why I was thinking that it was going to be that way. I suppose I was just used to that mentality, not remembering that everyone is different. Anyhow, The people who I met are amazing people and without them, I wouldn’t have the best time of my life at my first CYBA Conference. With many more memories and experiences to come.
Kiyumi Nishida, Florin Buddhist Church