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Michiko Konda: Miss Atomic Bomb


Kiku, Night's Flower by Jim Murray

Last month, May, was Asian Heritage Month, a fact ground into my memory from my days in the Asian-Pacific Islander Student Union at University of Oregon. A spunky and active student group, we celebrated our culture by performing “Reflection” from Disney’s Mulan in the amphitheater while wearing extremely skimpy metallic halter tops and low-rise jeans. We also had the annual ski trip that consisted of riding a school bus to the mountain and then exploring cross-cultural relations . . . in the hot tub.

Graceful Adept by Scott M. Fischer

Born and raised in Oregon, I always considered myself American over anything else. But all joking aside, my Asian heritage does hold a lot of importance for me, mainly in the family mythology that is my inheritance from my mother and father. I mean, in the end, what you truly get from your bloodlines is a lot of stories, both pleasant and . . . otherwise. For good or bad, personal stories are tied to that of your country. In my case, there’s an interesting tension between my nationality and part of my ethnicity.

All Is Dust by Jason Felix

World War II. An infamous chapter in America’s history of violence. Sadly, we’re talking nukes. The original target in Japan for the August 9, 1945 second bomb-drop was Kokura (the center of Kitakyushu). Kitakyushu has a suburb called Moji. That’s where my grandmother lived at the time. But on August 9, 1945 the morning sky above Moji was filled with clouds, and so the American planes, lacking the visibility they needed, flew on to another city on the list and dropped Fat Man on Nagasaki.

Blessed Breath by Tsutomu Kawade; Wikipedia

Later, my grandmother would fall in love with a Filipino-American soldier during the occupation post-WWII. My mother was their “illegitimate” Japanese-Filipino child. My dashingly handsome biological grandfather flaked out, and my grandmother started dating a no-nonsense, higher-ranking officer of Midwestern descent. That officer became my adoptive grandfather, and at his side, my mom and grandmother left Japan forever to settle in Oregon.

Promise of Bunrei by Stephen Tappin; Plains by Greg Staples

May 12 was Mother’s Day, and mine is both paragon and the monkey on my back—a living legend, a child of destiny. Last year during a Twitter chat about Kamigawa and its flavor, I made the really lame joke to Bennie Smith that I was going to tell everyone that Konda was my maiden name and then whip out a Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker Commander deck (I actually do have a cousin named Michiko). Michiko Konda not only looks like my mother, the mechanic describes her personality, and the flavor sounds like her, too.

It that Betrays by Tomasz Jedruszek

The urge to both command my mother’s righteous zen influence and have her blown to bits by my opponents over and over is just too tempting. I’m going there—your suggestions are most welcome. I’ve started out with some advice from Twitter friends (thank you!) and notably the aforementioned Bennie Smith, Elder Druid of Commander and weekly columnist at StarCityGames. The idea is to craft an annoying rattlesnake deck with demure little Michiko as Commander-in-Chief—I want to control when and if my opponents damage me and when and if they can keep their permanents—and then entice them to attack into my coy plans with big life-gain and later . . . unload with stoopidly grotesque, vindictive monsters. What is that you say? Mother issues? Who—me?

Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker

Kami of the Palace Fields by Matt Cavotta

The tale of my grandmother’s survival of WWII has always made me feel that I have a touch of abnormal luck, a little bit of real magic in my blood, maybe a few stubborn ghostly ancestors who walk with me and cup their hands protectively over my existence, no matter how many bad decisions I make. But it has also given me a sense of Death breathing close to my ear, and also a great burden—what greatness could those individuals have achieved if their lives hadn’t been seared away that morning? What wonderful stories would they have written? Why is it that my legacy endures and not theirs?

Lantern-Lit Graveyard by John Avon; Horobi's Whisper by Aleksi Briclot

I owe a great debt to the aether. I realize that recently, controversies such as drone strikes have garnered a lot of heat. Between a hundred fifty thousand and two hundred forty thousand people died from the effects of the nuclear bombings in Japan. At the time, even this seemingly gratuitous act of violence was considered a necessity to end the conflict and save even higher potential casualties (on both sides) that would result from a protracted war. It was controversial, yes, but not much different than how we operate now.

Hokori, Dust Drinker by Darrell Riche; Night of Souls' Betrayal by Greg Staples

War itself—not the means by which we go about it—is the problem. And that’s easy to say, but then what? Do I give you half of everything I own? Do we just throw cupcakes instead of stones? Do we opt out of organized religion? I mean, at some point, isn’t it just easier to shoot the bad guys?

Harmless Assault by Chippy

To borrow lyrics from the band The Mowglis, “I’ve been in love with love, and the idea of.” Hug your parents today. And your opponent. And yourself! Hug your friends, and especially your enemies. In your community this weekend, try to consciously celebrate a heritage of brotherly and sisterly love.

Upwelling sketch by Chippy

Till next time, may Magic be your shrine to peace. You never know when your enforced serenity could be just a Cloudshift away.



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