Japanese Settler community in Bolivia, San Juan: Annual celebration to show respect for the aged
Around 750 nikkei people (Japanese descendants) live in San Juan. There’s 103 people in total turning 70 years or more this year.
In San Juan, the elderly people are very energetic. Even in their 70s (or older), they enjoy playing gate ball or park golf, or busy working on their plantations and housework. Also, people over 70 can join a club for the elderly where they go on trips and enjoy events.
When I tell them that they are very healthy and energetic, they tell me it’s because they been working of their feet in fields for years. This is something you can expect of from people who developed the amazon forest, I think to myself. Also, the nursing care levels in San Juan are significantly low. This is probably because they spend their days working hard on fields and in their everyday lives, they don’t stay satisfied with what they have, but they are always trying to find the best way to live comfortably.
The celebration for the elderly on the 15th of September was held by the San Juan Bolivia-Japan Association. Many people over the age of 70 attended the event. Hospitals, nursing homes, students from San Juan Schools, the Japanese dance group, and the chorus came. We also got a very delicious bento.
Every year, a collection of compositions such as stories, songs, poems, “tanka” (Japanese short song/poems) is made by people who live in San Juan including children who have grandparents in the club for elderly people.
It was very interesting reading stories about when they immigrated, or about a funny event in their lives. Many different countries and jobs were mentioned in these stories and it made me think how people here have great ambitions and aspirations. Some stories were very dramatic!