Home Community Voices Are You Issei-Tough?

Are You Issei-Tough?

By David Yamaguchi
The North American Post

The best routes from Smith Cove to north Beacon Hill 51 miles Image Google Maps

Think you’re made out of the same stuff as the Issei of a century ago? As it is February, now is your annual chance to find out!

At 8 p.m., take a night swim in your clothes in the waters off Smith Cove. These days, nearby waterfront parks or trails would provide entry points.

Then, in your wet clothes, run to north Beacon Hill (perhaps Jose Rizal Park). Do this part barefoot, in the dark without any navigational aids (mobile phone, etc.).

As many readers will recognize, this is the true story of the first hours ashore of “ship-jumper” Kakichi Tsuboi, in February 1913, as recorded by Kazuo Ito in the book “Issei” (1973, pp. 62-63).

“I quietly let myself down the rope hand over hand and submerged myself in the water. The sea… was ice-cold and felt as if it cut the skin…
“I… climbed out; I was in a daze… my shoes were gone…”

Several of his descendants read this paper today.

There is one more thing. It was colder a century ago than now. Back then, people ice-skated on Green Lake.