Janice Buick. (Photo submitted)

Janice Buick. (Photo submitted)

Okangan champion preserves Japanese heritage

Upon learning about her parent’s internment, Janice Buick has made it her goal to share her knowledge of Japanese heritage with future generations

Active, energetic and highly organized, Janice (Ouchi) Buick has focused on giving back to her community for so many years without looking for accolades, but she feels incredibly honored and is ‘tickled pink’ to have been nominated as a Community Champion.

For Buick, her foray into volunteering began with her quest to discover and learn more about her own culture. In 1901, her grandfather came to Canada from Japan with his brother and sister and established themselves in Vernon.

“We’ve always been farmers and orchardists and if you ever bought tomatoes or green peppers on Bella Vista Road, you likely bought them from my grandfather, uncle or cousin,” said Buick.

Related: 4th annual Multicultural Community Champions announced

Related: Celebrating our diversity

Buick grew up learning odori (Japanese dance) and eating Japanese food, but had to learn the language and other cultural traditions on her own.

“My parents were interned when they were quite young and they were pushed to fit in. That’s where we lost our culture, our language,” she said. “I think it’s really sad when you lose your culture. I grew up very Canadian – to the point that I didn’t even realize that I was Japanese. I reconnected with the culture when I ran for Queen Silver Star. I wanted to showcase my Japanese heritage through dance and it ignited a real passion in me to keep going.”

Janice has been volunteering with the Vernon Japanese Cultural Society (VJCS) since 2000, serving on the Executive since 2004 and producing the newsletter for 13 years. She has often represented the organization at the Nations Association of Japanese Canadians Representatives and her passion to celebrate people’s cultures and diversity has been stoked through this.

Related: Book offers glimpse into internment camp

“I’ve been very fortunate. I have met many people from the Japanese community right across Canada and heard the stories, especially about internment,” she said. “It’s really hard for people to speak about internment but it was a good way for me to learn and to understand what my parents and grandparents went through.”

Buick sees education as the key to building understanding and has been actively involved, as a professional and as a volunteer, in events that celebrate culture.

Through the Vernon Japanese Cultural Society, she has been an active volunteer sharing about her culture for such events as Keirokai, which honors the older members, or pioneers of the Society, Obon, which is the Buddhist tradition of celebrating ones’ ancestors, and Haru Matsuri, the Spring Festival celebrating Japanese culture.

“Celebrating our differences is really what it’s all about. I truly believe we all have something wonderful to give.”

As a former manager at Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Buick founded the First People’s Celebration and said she is proud of what she helped to create there. She was also an active organizer of the community celebration RespectFest in 2017.

Buick’s passion for building bridges and understanding shines through as she speaks about her involvement in so many community events but she is very humble in being recognized for these accomplishments.

“It brings me to tears to think that someone thought enough to nominate me for this,” she says modestly. “I just do what I do and I don’t worry about any accolades.”

Related: Vernon Champion focuses on moving community forward

Related: Community champion loves giving back

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Teenagers make their way to Truswell Road after a party is broken up by police at the end of Mission Creek (Lorraine Besner/Contributed).
Truswell Road residents concerned about ongoing alleged underage beach parties

Public urination, property damage, drinking and drug usage have become weekly concerns

Voix du Coeur is bringing music to seniors in retirement homes as restrictions slowly start to ease. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Trio sings opera to Okanagan seniors as pandemic restrictions ease

Voix du Coeur travel around the Okanagan to bring the joy of music to seniors for free

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

Kelowna Cabs’ dispatchers will be coming back to work now that their union and the taxi company have come to an agreement. (Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs dispatchers set to go back to work

The taxi company and the dispatchers’ union have reached an agreement

t
Motorcyclist critically injured in Westside Road collision

Motorcyclist collides with vehicle, struck by another: preliminary police findings

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Most Read