My V-Day came in the early 1980's
I was about 6 years old @ 1980 and had to watch my 3 year old brother frequently. Our mom was in the hospital fighting for her life for 3 years. She was diagnosed with metastasized cancer that was only described to me then as, cancer that was moving so quickly from her leg into her organs she was likely to die. The information I got as a 1st grader was that My mother was only a toddler in Japan when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, and that they used DDT heavily in farming. They said that because of the Black Rain and nuclear fallout of the USA nuclear bombs the DDT she consumed on her food and when they bathed in streams and washed clothes only compounded the matter.
So, they, my Obasan (Japanese grandmother) and Japanese family as well as the USA doctors in Philadelphia told me to change my diet IMMEDIATELY. Except, they didn't call it vegan.
The diet was introduced to me as "Sho-jin Ryori" and was practiced in Japanese monasteries as a way of not bringing death energy into one's body. And, that even though this is a way to mourn the death of a loved one, it was to be my Way for the rest of my life and has remained so.
I remember getting packages from Japan with different herbal teas to drink. Most were pungent. I ate a handful of raw dried barley every morning. Japanese staple foods like rice and homemade tofu and soy milk were already in my diet. Since I grew up with corn fields, orchards, and forest around;- there were plenty of fruits and veggies that were jarred for winter use too.
Because I was naturally anemic, It took some time for me to transition completely and normally to Sho-jin Ryori/ Vegan diet every day. It took 4 years till about 5th grade, when my cat Lucky returned home emaciated with his throat slit from a wire snare and half rotten for me to completely commit to not cheating with any animal products.
In the 1980's the doctors told me I shouldn't be eat animal products due to the toxic chemicals in them. They feared that my mom's exposure to Nuclear Radiation from USA nuclear bombs and DDT (a popular pesticide) already put me at great risk. They advised that I not have children, since birth defects were a strong possibility. 7 years later, when I got my first Peta magazine with Alex Pacheco holding TNC snares in Hawaii;- I had my first "outside" confirmation that what I was told all of my elementary school and middle school years was true. And their magazine- Peta Times talked about making the change to vegetarian diet, or vegan diet from a "European/American perspective."
My V-day came about through severely distressed events that included pot-bets on how long I would live. My activism emerged only as part of a conversation about my life. My continued development as an organizer ensued as part of my dedication to a greater purpose and responsibility to society and the environment. The political scrutiny of my life has to do with my race, nationality, and how people want to "interpret or impress" their false beliefs of my intentions.
It has always been my intent and my burden to bring awareness to others;- so that other people like myself do no have to live through the Misery of USA nuclear warfare (or any nuclear warfare) and Chemical companies, and related industries impacting their lives.