Grandpa said he had Ainu background. Some of my family talked about it from time to time. On of my regrets is I did not pursue it. At the time we as children just knew we were Nihon-jin and wished to be nothing else. The language, the family, the foods, the values, all of it was Home. But we always remember what Grandpa said to us.
Was it Ainu or Shinto which lay behind his teaching us about the ancient rocks which had a spirit, that everything had a spirit and taught us not to take life lightly. I don't know. Was it Ainu or Shinto which follows our ancestors, reveres them? Europeans call it worship like they do their Christ. But their Christ has to be perfect and omniscient. Our ancestors touch our heart as they age, and become weakened in the body, and loving and compassionate and happy in spirit. And they are around us when they leave their bodies behind, our guardian angels when we need them. Is that Shinto or Ainu?
I wish I had enough days of reverence to have asked Grandpa. But I only need to look at the path I am on to know that I know on another level -- not Ainu or Shinto -- but definitely my ancestors throwback girl.
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.