Keiro’s new “Superstar” series will provide highlight how some of our members in the community keep themselves healthy.

Superstar File No.1        Mr. Akemi Miyake

With his Gateball friends at Costa Mesa

As one of the founders and the first president of the Orange County Japanese American Association, Miyake-san is still actively dedicated to serving the community. He is a Kibei Nisei who is turning 100 next summer. He moved back to Japan at age four and grew up in Hiroshima. After graduating agricultural school at age 18, his father recommended that he visit the country where he was born.

“From the second I arrived, I fell in love with the United States and never wanted to return back to Japan,” he recalls.

As Miyake-san approaches his 100th birthday, he is often asked about his secrets to staying healthy. He first off recommends not being a picky eater or a smoker. He also drinks half a glass of red wine each night. Miyake-san started this 35 years ago when he quit drinking soda, and according to him, his daily glass of wine has kept him healthy ever since. But more than that, he says that eating aloe three times a day helps his digestive system. “Aloe is bitter. And I eat the skin too. But the more you chew, the more you salivate, and it’s good for the body.”

Miyake-san eating his aloe

Miyake-san also exercises every day. He plays his favorite activity, gateball, three times a week. On the days when he doesn’t play gateball, he walks a mile around his house. He even still drives himself everywhere he goes! “I drive 800 miles a month. Two years ago, because I passed the exam like everyone else, I was given a license that expires when I’m 101! I’m so thankful!”

Other than healthy eating and exercise, he stresses the importance of being active in the community. He says, “Harmony and collaboration is important. If you immerse yourself in the community, you feel refreshed, you will move around so it’ll be good exercise, and you learn good things from others.”  He recalls that his father urged him to be involved in his community. Before he left Hiroshima, his father told him, “Akemi, make sure you give back. When I was in America, I only thought about making money for the family and returning to Japan. And I was wrong. Make sure you contribute to the community.” Ever since then Miyake-san has kept his promise to his father.

At Keiro’s Fall Prevention Class

Miyake-san also participates in community activities as well. He recently attended Keiro’s fall prevention class at OCJAA in May 2018. He commented, “I have learned quite a lot today. I should put [what I learned] into practice and change some of my habits. I am so thankful for this seminar.” In the past, he has also attended Keiro’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) to learn about tools to manage a chronic disease. During one of the classes, he says he realized that he should listen more to his family and those around him, to learn from others rather than doing what he wanted to. “I attended Keiro’s program two years ago, but it was so memorable, and I’m so thankful. If it wasn’t for this program, I wouldn’t have realized this, and I hope Keiro continues these types of programs.”

But more than anything else, having gratitude may be his true secret to living a healthy life. “I cherish the word ‘gratitude.’ From morning until evening, it is important to have gratitude to anything; having that heart is important.”