Woof Trekking Dispatch #11: Japanese American Historic Plaza in Portland, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #11: Japanese American Historic Plaza in Portland, July 2012

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After our adventure out to Tillamook Forest, the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the beach, we made our way back to Portland. As you will recall from our first post in this series, we went on this road trip in 2012, six weeks after both of our grandparents passed away hours apart.

Portland is a city of great importance to our family history. Our grandma was born in Sherwood but she grew up in Portland. As she grew older, she never had the desire to go back so we never got to experience the city with her. However, our mom had spent time in Portland with her mom so we got to have these experiences second hand.

Portland had a large population of Japanese immigrants at the turn of the century. Our maternal great grandfather sailed to Oregon in 1906. He was originally going to immigrate to San Francisco, but he saw the devastation of the 1906 earthquake from the boat and decided to sail on to Oregon. A large community developed in the area and today there is still a large Japanese presence in the city.


We went into downtown Portland and walked around Japantown. The site that had the most impact on us was the Japanese American Historic Plaza. This plaza is part of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park which sits on 36 acres and runs along the Willamette River.

The Plaza was developed by the Oregon Nikkei Endowment “… to raise greater public awareness about the diversity of cultural experiences in America. The Japanese American experience is a unique story that evokes a deep appreciation of the freedoms granted to all Americans by their Bill of Rights.” This article from 2010 was written on the 20th anniversary of the Plaza’s dedication and gives more description of the Plaza.

The Plaza features several cast bronze reliefs and large granite slabs that have been engraved with poems that tell the story of Japanese Americans in Portland during World War II and with the names of internment camps. One hundred cherry trees shade the Plaza and people are a draw to the area every spring when they blossom.

We started out by reading this dedication plaque, that explains the purpose of the Plaza.
One of the bronze relief sculptures showing a father carrying his son on his back.
This granite slab is engraved with the names of the internment camps. Our grandma was interned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center with her family. Read our blog post about our visit to Minidoka here.
Another bronze relief depicts a Japanese American soldier. While in camp, Army recruiters came looking to enlist young men to fight in the Army. Many did their patriotic duty even though they were being incarcerated by the same government that was now asking for help. Japanese Americans were organized into two regiments, which later combined to form a single combat team: the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Infantry Regiment.

The 442nd Regiment became one of the most decorated units in American military history. For more, read History.com’s Unlikely World War II Soldiers Awarded Nation’s Highest Honor.
One of the poems.
Another relief depicting children waiting on the train to leave for camp.
Another poem relaying the sentiment of Japanese American children in internment camps.
A depiction of the Japanese Americans being forced to report for deportation to internment camps, in accordance with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.
A poem talking about the experience of being sent to internment camp.
The following two pictures are of the cast bronze copy of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 that acknowledged and apologized for the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.


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Wordless Wednesday #17 | Wild Flower

Wordless Wednesday #17 | Wild Flower

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour”

From Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

A Desert Marigold
A Desert Marigold

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Cat Poetry from our Poetry Collection “Two by Two”:  Poem 31. Domestic

Cat Poetry from our Poetry Collection “Two by Two”: Poem 31. Domestic

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Today’s post is an excerpt from our collection of poetry, Two by Two: Into the White. It is available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon!

31. domestic

rounded mountain back
dip of concave shoulder blades

swish, swish, flick
periscope tail never wags

soft paws, rough tongue
white chin, green eyes

eighteen claws, twenty-three whiskers
lick, lick, lick, never done

stripes and spots standing on end
watching, listening

crouched down low to the brown
brown carpet of earth

among the tall grass
of dining chair legs

The Inspiration

cat, feline, domestic shorthair

The inspiration for this poem was Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!. We’ve been family for nearly eight years now and I have spent a lot of time just observing his movements. That might sound creepy to some extroverts, but to introverts, observing is our number one hobby. The introduction to the “nature” section of Two by Two reads as follows:

dogs and deserts and domestic shorthairs
dancing on the mother earth

daring to do, to live, to be
while we admire and provide rationale

I think that really captures why we love animals so much. This poem is a vignette of Bill as he goes about his business. He doesn’t worry about how others perceive him. He doesn’t second guess himself. He just is.

A great lesson for us humans.

2x2 End of Post Feature

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Two by Two: Into the White (FREE Excerpt)

Two by Two: Into the White (FREE Excerpt)

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Alternating between eager optimism and somber reclusion, Two by Two: Into the White examines morality and neuroses, agony and peace. The couplets transport readers from the sunny arroyos of the Sonoran Desert to the darkest, dampest corners of the human mind.

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Please enjoy this free excerpt from my book: Two by Two: Into the White.

into the white

gray paws sink deep into
the blanket of powder snow

gaze flickers between brother, sister
mother, father, patrolling their positions

all of their honey-gold eyes fixed on the
immense bison, he does not cower

dignified to his last, outweighing
the wolves combined

together they leap
a mass of growling gray fur

soaring at the neck
of the regal beast

he remains standing
as they wrestle and rip

his thick molasses fur
an insufficient defense

a groan escapes it before
snapping jaws succeed

the bison falls, surrendering
to the white snow

eerie howling reverberates
into the night

Thoughts on “Into the White”

Many poems in the collection feature a desert setting; this couplet is just the opposite. I wanted to capture the intense power of nature, of the wild, that is so captivating to human beings. We often feel cut off from nature, living in our cities and shopping at our grocery stores.

Then we visit nature, either through television or by visiting a national park, and some primal awareness clicks on in our brains from an earlier time. An ancient memory, perhaps from when we were hunters and gatherers, is triggered and the result is an inexplicable sense of déjà vu.


Get my Poetry Collection: Two by Two TODAY!

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Happy National Poetry Month, Plus New Book Release!

Happy National Poetry Month, Plus New Book Release!

posted in: Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? The Academy of American Poets started National Poetry Month twenty years ago. It is a wonderful time to spend a few hours writing some lines or reading some of your favorite poetry.

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I have loved poetry since I was a little girl. My first two favorite poets were Mary O’Neill, especially Hailstones and Hailbut Bones, and Shel Silverstein, especially The Giving Tree.

Poets.org offers 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month on their website, and here at zydoyle.com, we have one more way for you to celebrate National Poetry Month:

Read my new poetry collection!


Two by Two: Into the White: A Poetry Collection

The book is a collection of 50 couplets on the subjects of youth, love, judgment, solitude, nature, and existence. You can read more about the book on my Two by Two: Into the White page or on Amazon. I will be posting a few free excerpts in the following days.

If you own a Kindle, you can check out the book via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read the book for free. You can also join Amazon Kindle Unlimited with a 30-Day Free Trial by clicking on the preceding link or on the image below.

Currently, Two by Two is available as a Kindle Edition, but a Print Edition will be out shortly. I’d love to hear what you think of the poems. Let me know!

How are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

Happy Friday everyone!

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Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” on Beauty

Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” on Beauty

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kahlil gibran, poetry, Lebanon, Lebanese, inspirational fiction, inspire

I just finished reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran for the first time. I had heard a lot of positive feedback about the book and thought I would give it a try.

Above is my favorite selection from my first reading. The background photo is of a lantana blossom from my garden. The Prophet really is a rich little book, covering a wide variety of topics from love and marriage to pain and freedom to work and friendship. I plan to reread it many times to extract more insights.

You can read The Prophet for free on Project Gutenberg Australia.

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Haiku: Rust Red

Haiku: Rust Red

posted in: Entertainment, Photography, Poetry, Travel | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

past the rust red arch


road curves through the evergreen


azure sky abounds


The poem was inspired by our visit to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah in 2015. Specifically it was inspired by this photo:

bryce canyon, utah, nature, arch

Enjoy Rust Red? Get Two by Two today!

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Paper Airplanes

Paper Airplanes

posted in: DIY & Crafts, Entertainment, Home and Garden, Photography, Poetry | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The Enchanted Paper


Fifteen more minutes until the bell,

What shall we do after show and tell?


In a folder, lies an old worksheet,

Maybe we can fold and pleat


To make the paper into something more:

An agile airplane that will soar.


Like the birds that fly above

Like an eagle or a dove


To take us off the ground in flight

A nine year old becomes a Brother, Wright.


-Z.Y. Doyle



This poem was inspired by:

Swallow Paper Airplane


Favorite plane that really looks like a bird.

Instructions HERE.


Nakamura Lock

Nakamura Lock

Made this after reading about it in Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger.

Instructions HERE.

Take special note of Step 3. When folding wings, the edge of wing must be even with bottom of the plane.


A Word on Paper Plane Technique

Successful flight depends on a gentle release!

Throw it like you are launching a baby bird into flight. Throw firmly, but tenderly.


What is your favorite type of paper airplane? Do you have any fun paper airplane stories? Please post any comments or questions below.


Enjoy “Enchanted Paper”?

Get Two by Two today!

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Life is not an exact science

To be analyzed, poked, and prodded

It will laugh as your best-laid plan

Comes unknotted


Life rollicks and frolics

Dazes and amazes

Watching you go

Through all of your phases


Straining and aging

Waxing and waning

Then one day, we vanish

Simple matter, ever-changing

-Z.Y. Doyle


Enjoy “Ever-changing”?

Get Two by Two today!

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