It's been a really busy summer so far and it's only mid-July!
Last month we had the opening of the Living Flowers exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum. My sister volunteers at the Museum every week, so it's been fun for us to go through each week to view all of the new ikebana arrangements. We quiz ourselves to see if we can guess which style each arrangement is in. After a month, we're mostly successful, but there's always some that manage to throw us.
Last Friday, the Museum opened a special exhibit displaying 9 works by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame. I volunteered to help out at the opening VIP party and public opening afterwards. The private party was interesting for me because the invitation list included guests from Mike Shinoda, DC Shoes (the sponsor), and the Museum's upper level members, so mixed in with the younger hip/cool crowd were our older Nisei supporters. It was kind of cool to see "our people" with theirs. I wish I had gotten a chance to ask them what they thought of the artwork and of the party with the DJ spinning tunes. Very different than what they're used to!! =)
For the free general public opening from 8-10pm, my husband and I stickered the guests as they came in through the front door. Over 800 people came through in 2 hours! Many were waiting in line outside for hours. The first ones waited outside from 11am! Some people flew in from San Francisco, others drove down from Fresno, and someone even came out from New Zealand for the week because of the opening. Amazingly, everyone got in with plenty of time to purchase Glorious Excess goodies and have them signed by Mike. By the end of the night, our staff and volunteers were exhausted, but happy that it all went so well.
Friady night made two nights in a row that we were at the Museum late since we had also stayed for the 1st & Central Summer Concerts - Ukelele Showcase II the night before. My sister and her husband joined my husband and I for dinner and lots of great music, including Abe Lagrimas who played "Blackbird" by the Beatles and a Nirvana song, all solo on ukelele! Paula Fuga, the closing performer had an amazing voice. I'm so glad to have stayed 'til the end.
We finished out the weekend by coming back to Little Tokyo on Sunday for two obons - at Zenshuji and at Nishi. My sister and her husband joined us again. We sampled lots of great food from both (Nishi's beef teriyaki was SOOOO good!!), played a little bingo at both (we didn't win anything, but we considered them "donations" so all was good), and watched some of the ondo dancing at Nishi. Along the way, we saw many familiar faces - friends from the Museum and Rising Stars, and family - our cousin Tami and her husband Norvin.
All in all, it's been a great summer so far with lots of activities around Little Tokyo...and there's still Higashi's obon coming up this month, plus Nisei Week!