Welcome to the Little Tokyo Blog

We've set up this space where members of the Little Tokyo community could share information, thoughts, ideas, and opinions about the Little Tokyo neighborhood, it's people, politics, culture/history, businesses, and events.

12/17/2009

Wanted: Transit Consultant.

At the Little Tokyo Working Group meeting Thursday night, Metro distributed a draft proposal that more fully describes their commitment to pay for a consultant that would assist the Little Tokyo community with the Draft EIS/EIR for the Regional Connector project. Metro will pay up to $30K for a consultant to be selected by the Little Tokyo Community Council that will assist the community with the development of proposed mitigation measures for each build alternative under consideration for the Regional Connector. Interested parties should contact LTCC.

12/09/2009

Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo 2010: A Japanese New Year Celebration



The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California (JCCSC) and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Foundation present the 2010 Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo.

Friday, Janaury 1, 2010, from 11AM to 4PM, visit Little Tokyo for a day-long celebration of the new year including Taiko drumming, Japanese folk performances, kite making, mochi giveaways, a swordsmanship show, and much more! The opening ceremony will be at Weller Court, with additional performances and demonstrations at Japanese Village Plaza.

Click on the flyer for details about parking and event locations.

12/01/2009

Little Tokyo Community Photo Share Day

The Little Tokyo Historical Society, formed in 2006 by volunteers seeking to promote Little Tokyo as an historic resource, is creating an archive of images of Little Tokyo to share with the public--some which will be used for an upcoming publication.

Image taken ca. 1930 at the Maryknoll school.

The goal of LTHS is to collect stories, photographs, documents, and other historic materials related to the history of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo neighborhood in order to preserve as well as share those stories and materials to a greater community in innovative and creative ways.

December 5, 2009
11 am - 3 pm
Democracy Lab at National Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 N. Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

The Historical Society is encouraging people to bring photographs and/or documents that help to capture the history of Little Tokyo.

The photos will be scanned on site while participants wait, which should take no more than a few minutes to digitize.

For more information, please contact Stephanie at svan@Ltsc.org.

*Refreshments will be served.

11/24/2009

Transportation Updates from LTCC Meeting

Today's LTCC meeting saw a number of presentations and announcements regarding transportation developments in Little Tokyo:

PARKING

As one of the final parking "zones" to undergo meter rate changes, Little Tokyo will soon see changes to parking duration, rates, and hours of operation.

LADOT initially planned to both increase the meter rates as well as limit parking duration to one hour increments.

Al Mahdavi, from the Bureau of Parking Operations and Facilities at LADOT, announced that the department had received a few--but not enough--petitions from residents to increase the parking meter increments from one hour to two hours. LTCC voted to draft a letter to LADOT to request parking meter duration be two hours, which LADOT will accept instead of the petition process. The letter will also request that LADOT look into "high tech" parking meters along 3rd street--but don't expect them any time soon, because Mahdavi reported that these meters were currently not part of the limited LADOT budget.

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT

The California High Speed Rail project is a proposed new line that will use high speed trains to connect several regions of California.

As the high-speed rail project continues to investigate impact on Little Tokyo, Project Manager Dave Thompson gave a presentation on the LA to Anaheim section of the project.

This segment of the high-speed rail project connects Anaheim with LA Union Station. The proposed approach into Union Station had the potential to impact 1st street businesses and organizations, including the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. The new approach pushes the alignment east, mostly parallel to the river.

You can read more about the high-speed rail project at their website:
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

The environmental document, which will discuss impacts to the community, is set to be released to the public in Spring 2010, with public hearings in the Spring and Summer of 2010. Construction is projected to begin in 2012.

METRO REGIONAL CONNECTOR

LTCC has voted to support a "3rd Build Alternative":

MOTION

The LTCC Board of Directors supports the further exploration of the concept of the 3rd Build Alternative as presented by the Metro Planners.

MTA presented this alternative at today's LTCC meeting. This option, while still "conceptual," includes a fully underground route that starts at the 7th and Flower St station, continues up Flower, east under 2nd Street, with an underground station potentially at the Office Depot. MTA anticipates that this fully underground option would eliminate concerns over impact on Nishi as well as the Nikkei development.

You can read more about the Regional Connector here.

11/18/2009

John A. Perez visits J-town

California State Assemblymember John A. Perez visited Little Tokyo at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center a few weeks ago. Introduced by Assemblymember Warren Furutani and welcomed by Bill Watanabe of Little Tokyo Service Center, Assemblymember Perez spoke to a crowd of roughly 75 community members about the state of the state budget, about a recent $11 billion water bill, and answered questions from the Little Tokyo audience. Having never heard him speak before, I found his words and analysis very impressive and heartfelt.

With seniors from Little Tokyo Residents Association

With children from Aratani After School Program at Casa Heiwa

(Photos by Mike Murase)

11/12/2009

Nihonmachi: The Place to Be on Sunday


The Little Tokyo Koban’s Autumn fundraiser is a must-see for everyone in the Japanese and Japanese-American community.

Date: 11/15/09 @ 2:00 pm
Aratani Japan America Theater
244 S. San Pedro Street
Little Tokyo

“Nihonmachi: The Place to Be” is a musical performance by the Grateful Crane Ensemble that depicts the history of Japantowns in North America, and is one family's story.

Whether these communities are called “J-Town,” “Little Tokyo,” “Japantown”, or “Nihonmachi,” the history is the same: Issei Nihonjin immigrate to the US, settle down, and get jobs or start businesses. Then,
December 7, 1941 occurs and their lives are disrupted; as the result of EO9066 and are sent to “camp”. Upon their release, they return to rebuild their lives and their families.

“Nihonmachi” is the story of a third-generation manju maker who decides to close his 99 year-old store, opened by his grandfather. After coming to that decision, the spirit of his deceased grandfather comes to show him the Nihonmachi of the old days. Songs made popular by Japan’s revered Misora Hibari will be performed, as well as of the various periods in America (war time, 60's, and the 70's).

The story is loosely based on the family of Seiichi Kito, who opened Fugetsu-do Confectionery in 1903 in Little Tokyo. The 106-year-old shop is presently owned and operated by grandson, Brian, who is the Koban’s current President.

11/02/2009

MEETING UPDATE: A 5th Option?

The follow memo was circulated to Little Tokyo Community Council members from Chris Aihara, Co-Chair of the Transit Issues Subcommittee:
There will be a meeting of the Transit Issues subcommittee on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 4 pm at JACCC to discuss the Downtown Regional Connector that is being proposed by MTA to come through Little Tokyo at 1st and Alameda, at street level, and/or the option to have the at-grade train come down Temple Street, at grade, and cross Alameda at Temple, at grade, will be discussed.
This discussion will be based on the recent motion passed by the Council to have Metro explore a fifth option build for the regional connector.

10/27/2009

A 5th Option?


Following the release of a statement by Senator Inouye at the last Little Tokyo Community Council meeting that reflected the multiple community concerns over the potential impact of Metro’s regional connector, and on the suggestion of the mangrove property developers, the LTCC members overwhelmingly approved a motion for Metro to consider adding a fifth option that would establish an underground station under the Gold Line at the Nikkei Center property.

The following statement was approved by the full council (amended wording is in italics) at today’s monthly meeting:
The Community Council is in favor of continuing the Underground Emphasis Option, which currently tunnels underground at 2nd Street, by continuing tunneling under 1st & Alameda and providing Little Tokyo with a station under the present Gold Line Little Tokyo / Arts District Station, subject to the approval of the Nikkei Center, LLC and respecting the property and integrity of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. This would also save merchants and property owners adjacent to 2nd and Central (Office Depot block) from years of construction disruption.
Among the few concerns raised included questions about the actual feasibility of building such a station, and whether or not the underground option would actually function as a terminal station that would require passengers from other rail cars to transfer to Gold Line trains. Other members were worried of the impact of this new option would have on 2nd Street businesses and the Nishi Hongwanji Temple.

LTCC Chair Bill Watanabe, however, made it clear that the board’s motion was drafted to urge Metro investigate a fifth alternative, and did not represent an endorsement nor a preclusion of any of other proposals thus far presented by Metro.

Little Tokyo Blog & Website Project

Hello this is Michael, the NCI intern who worked on this blog over summer. At todays (10/27) Little Tokyo Community Council at the Japanese American National Museum I made a presentation about my project. A more thorough proposal and concept of the presentation can be found HERE (in PDF, available for a limited time).

In the presentation today, I proposed 6 recommendations for the future development of this blog:
  1. LTCC assign a subcommittee to coordinate the blog and website.
  2. Establish new branding of Little Tokyo Portal and Blog sites
  3. Design and develop content for portal and blog sites.
  4. Spark community involvement by promoting online discussion of important topics such as the Metro regional connector.
  5. Seek out revenue generating enterprises.
  6. Launch marketing and outreach campaign (flyers & stickers, outreach to community).
I hope you have a chance to take a look at it, and I welcome any comments, feedback and ideas on how to improve the project.

It's been about a month or so since I have been back in Little Tokyo, but it was nice to come back and attend another LTCC meeting and catch up on what has been going on.

Contact: Michael - M.oguro@ogurodesign.com.

10/21/2009

Metro features Little Tokyo in poster series



Metro commissioned artwork for the new Gold Line destination here in Little Tokyo by local artist Shizu Saldamando. She decided to paint the 1st Street side of the Japanese Village Plaza.

Taken from the Metro website, she said, “The washi paper is vibrant and detailed with various printed designs that add depth and color to the piece, and also serve as a metaphor for the diverse, colorful history of the neighborhood,” said Saldamando. “I incorporated a wood panel as my backdrop to reference Japanese woodblock prints. The swirling lines and natural blemishes in wood made me think of Asian landscape painting as well.”

Little Tokyo served as the 19th in this award-winning series of artwork. They're really trying to change the way Angelenos view public transit by showcasing all the great places you can get to on the Metro. Let's hope it works!

Full article here: http://bit.ly/4vn5p0

10/20/2009

Little Tokyo/Arts District Metro Gold Line to Open!

Metro has set the date for formal operations of the Gold Line station:
It is with great pride that Metro announces the opening of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension on Sunday, November 15, 2009!

As our neighbors in Dowtown, you are cordially invited to participate in the upcoming community celebrations to commemorate this special milestone. Community celebrations will take place at the following stations stops: Little Tokyo/Arts District, Mariachi Plaza, East LA Civic Center and Union Station on Sunday, November 15 from 9am-4pm. Metro will be hosting free rides to the public that day which is expected to drive traffic into your community.
Metro is also inviting community groups and organizations to host a booth at the community event. For more information, contact carlstonee@metro.net or by fax to (213) 922-5654 NO LATER than October 28.

10/09/2009

BoLA...Site Control!


As we’ve posted on this blog for the past couple years here and here, members of the Little Tokyo community have been fighting to establish a multipurpose community recreation center that would bring young people, families, and communities together from throughout the Los Angeles and Southern California area.

The Budokan of Los Angeles (BoLA), formerly the Little Tokyo Recreation Center, has just celebrated a major milestone in the development of a regional sports and community facility in Little Tokyo that would host basketball tournaments, martial arts tournaments, and other activities. The biggest struggle (and wait) has been in the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) between BoLA and the City of L.A.

From Scott Ito, the BoLA Project Director:
We have some very exciting news to share with you regarding the MOU. The photo above documents Bill officially signing off on the MOU yesterday afternoon, along with signatures from Councilmember Jan Perry, Gerry Miller (CLA) and Carmen Trutanich (City Attorney), which will finally complete the MOU phase (it only took 1 year and 1 month). As you know, the City Council approved the MOU back in Sept 2008 and we were hoping to move through the process fairly quickly until the economic downturn hit. But, thanks to the efforts of Councilmember Jan Perry's office, we now are able to move to the next stage and are getting closer to being able to make the dream of building the Budokan a reality.

Upon completion of the MOU, we are now going to start working with the City on executing a ground lease for the site. In the coming weeks, we will be receiving a draft of the ground lease and will begin to review this document and provide our feedback to the City. As I mentioned previously, this document, upon final agreement between LTSC and the City, will allow us to completely move forward and begin raising funds and constructing the facility. We anticipate our negotiations with the City on the ground lease to last to the end of the year, so we hope to be able to make a major announcement as soon as it is complete and launch our capital campaign in early 2010.

Again, we wanted to thank everyone for their continued support and patience. While it has been a long road, with a lot of detours along the way, we now believe we are getting closer to the final destination. In the coming months, we will keep you updated and we hope to have some more exciting news towards the end of the year.

Scott
This is a pretty significant event, and for those of us who've been involved with the efforts to build a recreation center, a great relief in the ability to move forward.

10/06/2009

Tuesday Night Fundraiser 2nite

The OCTOBER 6TH Tuesday Night Cafe will be dedicated to disaster relief efforts in the Philippines, Samoa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia.


Tuesday, October 6
120 Judge John Aiso Street
Little Tokyo
7:30 pm

10/05/2009

Rodgers & Asia Symposium tonight in LT


East West Players and Reprise Theatre Company proudly come together to co-present a symposium Getting to Know You: Rodgers & Asia exploring the successes and controversies surrounding THE KING & I, FLOWER DRUM SONG and SOUTH PACIFIC. This entertaining and provocative evening will be moderated by Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Yellow Face) and feature musical performances and a panel discussion with Lucy Burns, Christina Klein & Great Leap's Nobuko Miyamoto.

Tonight, Oct. 5 at 8pm
David Henry Hwang Theater
Little Tokyo

9/30/2009

Gold Line Testing Coming Sunday

From the Daily News Wire Services and an email circulating in Little Tokyo today:

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Testing of light rail trains along the Metro Gold Line extension from Union Station to East Los Angeles will kick into high gear Sunday, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials warned the public to beware of the increased number of trains that will be using the tracks.

The testing is designed to familiarize train operators and staff with the service, and synchronize the trains with the existing service on the Gold Line, which now provides service between Union Station and east Pasadena.

During the stepped-up testing phase, which could last for more than a month, passengers will disembark southbound trains from Pasadena at Union Station, but the train will continue south to East Los Angeles, then return northbound.

During peak hours, the trains will run every seven to eight minutes, and every 12 minutes during midday hours. At night, the trains will run every 20 minutes. On weekends and holidays, the trains will run every 15 to 20 minutes in the mornings, every 12 minutes during the day and every 20 minutes at night.

Eds: Jose Ubaldo and Marc Littman, Metro, can be reached at (213) 922-3087.
CNS-09-29-2009 16:01

9/26/2009

Regional Connector Presentation to LTCC






At the September Little Tokyo Community Council meeting last month, Metro publicly unveiled its at-grade regional connector option, which would run down Temple and Alameda. Above are some pictures of the models that the MTA brought for their presentation.

The Rafu Shimpo wrote up a story describing the complicated issues and struggles surrounding Metro's proposed development in Little Tokyo, and mentioned a letter issued by Senator Dan Inouye addressed to the chair of the MTA board brought up during the discussion. Here is the entirety of Inouye's letter:

9/10/2009

Remembering Far East Cafe

I was just thinking of Far East Cafe on First Street in Little Tokyo and how my family used to go there every month when I was growing up. Old timers remember family gatherings, weddings, and funerals. Growing up as a kid in the suburbs, I actually wasn't crazy about the food or the place, but my dad loved it, so we went on the 2nd Sunday of every month. We would meet my Issei grandma, who would cross the street from Koyasan Buddhist Temple to meet us for dinner.

When I got older, I would often complain about going... it's one of those places that you don't appreciate until it's gone. It closed in 1994 after the Northridge Earthquake. Nowadays, people young and not-so-young hang out at the Far Bar and Lounge.

In a parallel universe, my husband grew up loving the food, going with his family from Sawtelle. Here's a poem he wrote a decade or so ago, that speaks to his love of Far East Cafe and chinameshi cuisine.

China Meshi Dreams
by Tony Osumi

relaxing in a hot tub of seaweed soup

nori and egg whites swirl
pork shoulder bobbing

translucent broth
cover my shoulders
lowering my chin to take a sip

chashu

roasted brick red

chunks hang plump

like apples on a chashu tree
seedless

warm and ripe
there for the picking
licking fingers

shamelessly

not even my own

homyu
pungent and fresh
melting in my mouth
with hot mustard and shoyu
whipped into circles

golden as Van Gogh’s Starry Night
new research finds:

homyu

fat free

sodium free

and lowers your

cholesterol

shrimp and lobster sauce
ladled thick on steaming rice
a priceless
chawan treasure
overflowing with

orange rubies

black bean pearls

and egg white satin

magically

the last shrimp
reappearing after every bite


chicken chow mein
pan fried timelines
thread through shiitake and china pea
weave and tie us
to our pioneer past
every glazed noodle

guaranteed to have

an issei on the other end


pakkai
bell pepper and onion
witness the marriage
of pineapple and pork

with vinegar presiding

honeymooning

for seven days
and six nights
on a romantic lazy susan

almond duck

cradled by lettuce

spruced up with nuts

born from hard times

scraps of duck meat
pressed between
heaven and earth
working peoples’ salvation--
with gravy

my father says,
Almond Duck?

as hard to describe

as the grand canyon’s
beauty

9/08/2009

Metro Regional Connector and Gold Line Updates

Metro will be making a presentation of its regional connector plans to the Little Tokyo Community Council at LTCC’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 22 at 12 PM. It will be displaying a model of their proposed option for an at-grade design at the intersection of Alameda and Temple, an alternative plan being considered alongside their 1st and Alameda option.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the MTA also ran two to three simultaneous Gold Line trains along the Extension at vehicular traffic speeds. Metro is a little behind on their projected schedule of opening the Little Tokyo / Arts District Gold Line station in August, and unfortunately, they now won't provide a specific, let alone ballpark, date for full operation.

The MTA also released copies of fliers (in English and Spanish) that will be provided to “Rail Safety Ambassadors” and distributed to local schools.

I don't understand why Metro can't invest a pittance to design better outreach materials.

8/31/2009

Vespa Scooting into Little Tokyo


When I was in high school in the late 80's, having a scooter was pretty cool...but to have a Vespa was like owning a classic sports car. Their popularity's been pretty resilient, especially during the recent gas crisis, despite the $3,000 to $6,000 price tag.

Now those cool little scooters are coming to Little Tokyo. The CRALA recently signed off on a permit for Vespa Scooters to open a 2,500 sq ft dealership in to the former Shakojuku building at the southwest corner of Central Avenue and 3rd Street.

We'll post renderings and plans of the storefront as soon as they become available.

Thanks to Ron for the tip.

8/28/2009

Casa Heiwa Car Wash Saturday

Now that the hubbub of Nisei Week is over, it's time to take a good, long look at your dirty ole car... My car? Yes, this Saturday, August 29, the youth who live at Casa Heiwa on the edge of Little Tokyo are having a car wash fundraiser and they're hoping you'll come out to support them, visit awhile and get yer car washed.

The Little Tokyo Teen Group will be having a CAR WASH this Saturday.

Date: Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Time: 10am - 3pm

Location: Little Tokyo Service Center, Casa Heiwa, Grace Iino Playground
231 E. Third Street (enter from Los Angeles Street, just North of 3rd Street)

PRE-SALE tickets are $5 for any vehicle

Walk-ins are welcomed... small cars will be $5 and large vehicles will be $7.

They will also be selling soft drinks, water, and delicious Slushies.

8/27/2009

Nebuta Floats

Check out these photos from the  cool Nebuta floats that where in the Nisei Week parade. Although I was at the parade I was in the parade and did not get to see them while they where moving.  They look really cool in the dark though.  Thanks to Mickie for the pictures!

Hosted at Picmember.com

Hosted at Picmember.com

Hosted at Picmember.com

Hosted at Picmember.com

Hosted at Picmember.com

8/25/2009

早食い王ジョーイ・チェスナットがリトル東京にやって来た!

独立記念日といえばホットドッグ。
二世ウィークといえば・・・・

ギョウザ!


二世ウィークも終盤に差しかかった22日、かの有名な早食いチャンピオン小林尊を独立記念日恒例のホットドッグ早食い世界選手権で見事下した新王者ジョーイ・チェスナットが、第3回ギョウザ早食い選手権に参加するため、リトル東京にやって来た。ジョーイは今年の独立記念日に10分で68個ものホットドッグを平らげ、去年のギョウザ早食い選手権では10分で231個のギョウザを完食したという世界記録を持つ強者。果たして彼自身が打ち立てた231個という記録を破れるのか?!


緊 張感高まる試合前。自己が打ち立てたあまりにも偉大な記録を破るプレッシャーにピリピリしているかと思いきや、リラックスした表情で写真撮影に応じる王者 ジョーイ。聞けば当日の朝、サンノゼから車を運転してきたという。「今日何か食べた?」という私の質問に、「いや、体内をからっぽにしたかったから木曜日 から何もたべてないよ」との答え。これは期待が持てますな。

参加者は約15名+2008年の二世コート達。でも正直言って、10分間ジョーイに釘付けだった私。左手で大量のギョウザを鷲掴みにし、両手で口を塞ぐようにギョウザを咽喉に押し込んでいく。ときどき軽くジャンプしたり体をくねらせたりして今食べたばかりのギョウザを下へ下へと押し流す。1分が過ぎた頃には、52個のギョウザがすでにジョーイの体内へ。3分過ぎには90個。ジョーイの胃が見る見るうちにTシャツの下で膨れていくのがわかる。少しずつペースが緩み、8分の時点で約150個。残り2分以内で82個を食べれば新記録。苦しそうな表情のジョーイ。記録は更新できるのか?


優勝したのは言うまでもない。でも記録はというと…去年から大幅ダウンの181個。これでも1分に18.1個のギョウザを平らげたわけだから、人技ではない。試合が終わった後もにこやかに取材や写真撮影に応じていたジョーイ。来年は長野生まれの小林尊とジョーイとのギョウザ対決が見たい。

8/24/2009

1st Annual Tanabata Festival in Little Tokyo

Letsugo wanted to share a video covering Little Tokyo's first Tanabata festival last weekend. Michael posted a description of Tanabata leading up to the event and the story behind the decorations.

Check it out:

8/22/2009

Next Generation Remix 2009! Tonight!!

Incase you forgot Next Generation Remix is tonight!! 6-9 in the JACCC plaza in Little Tokyo.  Check out the trailer, its FREE and there will be food and fun for you to enjoy.



8/21/2009

Glorious Excess (Dies): Paintings by Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda at JANM

Mike Shinoda returns to the Japanese American National Museum!

Following his highly-successful 2008 show, Glorious Excess (Born), Mike Shinoda returns to unveil his latest collection of paintings and digital works. Larger, broader, and more sensational than before, Glorious Excess (Dies) is the next chapter in his series exploring society's obsession with celebrity culture, consumer addiction, and fascination with excess.

The exhibition opens on Sunday, August 30, but like last time, there will be a Public Opening and Signing with Mike on Sat, August 29 from 8-10pm, and it's FREE! Last year, over 800 people attended the public opening, so be prepared to wait in line. Glorious Excess merchandise will be on sale for him sign including a new book and skate decks.

If you're a member of the Museum, there will also be a special Member's only program -- "A Conversation with Mike Shinoda" on Sun, Aug 30 at 2pm. This will be an intimate event in the Forum (only 196 seats!) where he'll be discussing his artwork. After the program, he'll be on hand for a signing. If you want an opportunity to listen to him speak and have him sign stuff for you, but don't want to have to wait in long lines with hundreds of people, this is your best bet. Tickets are $40 each, with proceeds supporting JANM's programs. Limit 2 tickets per membership. If you're not a current member, you can join/renew when you purchase your tickets.


Mike Shinoda
Glorious Excess (Dies)
August 30 - October 4, 2009

Public Opening & Signing w/Mike Shinoda
Sat, August 29, 2009
8-10pm
FREE ADMISSION



For JANM Members Only
A Conversation with Mike Shinoda
Sunday, August 30, 2009 @ 2pm

8/18/2009

Tanabata Whata?

I have to admit, I really had no idea what the Tanabata Festival was about. But, I had been hearing a lot about it, so I decided to go check it out at the opening ceremony on Friday night. My daughter and I walked down to First and Central, and got there about midway through the program. A bunch of dignitaries, getting ready to break open sake barrels. Emcees in both English and Japanese. Hmm, still didn't quite know what it was about.
Raising of the Tanabatas. Then we all got to walk through them, look up and take pictures. What was really nice was seeing all the community friends and people we knew walking through, kind of amazed at the beauty and originality of each of the pieces. I love that groups of people created their own, using different colors, styles and materials. Each one a little bit of creativity. There were 230 in all, some made by families, kenjinkai groups, individuals, community organizations, dance groups.
Of course we ran into our friend Nancy Kikuchi, one of the 2009 Tanabata Committee members, who is involved in just about everything in Little Tokyo. In fact, I think we should dub her "Ms. J-town." Nancy told me about how this was the 1st Annual Tanabata Festival in Los Angeles. I thought that was a great idea, great for bringing people together, and giving just another reason to come out to the Nisei Week Festival, which I admit that I haven't really been to in several years, even though I work in Little Tokyo and my daughter's preschool is here too. Nancy also told me that the 10 biggest displays were from Sendai, in Japan, and that a company had shipped them to Tokyo, and that Mutual Trading put them in a container and had them shipped to Los Angeles.
All in all, I think it was a big success. I think next year maybe I'll try to join in and get involved in making one too.

8/17/2009

Nisei Week Parade 2009

Hosted at Picmember.com
(The Samurais where just to cool)
Hosted at Picmember.com
(The Machine gun was pretty cool too)

So this year to help promote the Next Generation Remix Concert, I got to participate in the Nisei Week Grand Parade.  I did not know what to expect since I have never been to Nisei Week or the parade before.  

While waiting around for the parade to start, I starting to get the idea of just how large the parade was, there where supposed to be 1600 people in the parade and people where starting to line up in the streets.  

Hosted at Picmember.com
Hosted at Picmember.com
( I was one of those people, be sure to come see us again this saturday at the concert!)

My job along with my friends (we where the people wearing the blue shirts and passing out flyers) was to promote the concert, by passing out flyers and yelling out information about the concert.  There where also some people riding in the JACCC car.  We where right behind the Nikkei Games basketball car and the moving Taiko stage.  

Hosted at Picmember.com
(So many people in the streets)

When we first started it took me awhile to get warmed up, but once I got settled in it was really a lot of fun.  What I really enjoyed most was the people in the crowd, it was so interesting to me seeing all the different people who came to see the parade.  

Hosted at Picmember.com
( A moving stage performance, pretty coo l)

The parade was really cool, but I would almost say I regret not being able to watch it from the crowd, but then again who can say they participated in the Nisei week Parade?  I might never get that chance again.  I also got some really cool behind the scenes shots.  I didnt get to see the Nebuta though, which I really wanted to.  

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( Nisei Week Queen and Princesses )
Hosted at Picmember.com

Hosted at Picmember.com
( Cosplayers )
Hosted at Picmember.com
( Haneto Dancers )
Hosted at Picmember.com
( Karaoke Party Bus )
Hosted at Picmember.com
( Tanabata )