Archives for June 2011

National conference to discuss ‘The State of Japanese America: 2011’

LOS ANGELES — The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council (CJACLC) are convening a one-day conference entitled “The State of Japanese America: 2011” on Saturday, July 9 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Hollywood. This conference is open to the community. “The State of Japanese America: […]

Nikkei activist Ernest Iiyama, 99, dies

Ernest S. “Ernie” Iiyama, a resident of El Cerrito, Calif., died on June 15, surrounded by his family and friends. He was just months short of his 100th birthday. Iiyama’s life was marked by political activism in the Japanese American community and broader society, a love of travel, walking, and good food, and participation in […]

Northern California Soy & Tofu Festival

THE JOY OF SOY! — The first ever Northern California Soy & Tofu Festival was held on June 11 in San Francisco Japantown’s Peace Plaza, attracting some 3,500 visitors throughout the day to an event that educated the public about the health benefits of soy and tofu. The Festival, a fundraiser for the Nichi Bei […]

Re: Connection — dNaga danceNAGANUMA’s 10th anniversary

I’m sitting with my wife in Laney College’s theater in Oakland, Calif. as the curtains draw for Artistic Director and Choreographer Claudine Naganuma’s 10th anniversary of dNaga danceNAGANUMA, admittedly not sure what to expect. I’ve been graciously comped two tickets by a very thoughtful person who had read my previous post on Yuri Kochiyama and […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Remembering the past

Now that we’re into the full summer tilt, there are unmistakable signs of the season: predictable unbearably hot summer weather, the return of termites, with their inevitable swarms on those windless nights and the sound of the taiko from the yagura on weekends commemorating the start of the Obon season. Though it started as a […]

SoCal festivals make summertime joyful

Obon is a traditional Buddhist event to honor and express gratitude to one’s ancestors for the gift of life. As a celebration of the legacy passed down by one’s ancestors, most of the local Japanese Buddhist temples’ Obon festivals feature Bon Odori (dancing) and various types of entertainment, along with food, games, farmers markets, flower […]

Obon traditions and celebrations in Maui, SF

In March 2009, the Rev. Ronald Kobata became minister of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. Kobata said that it’s “quite an honor” to be a reverend at the first congregation of Buddhist Churches of America, founded in 1898, and to lead a congregation in his hometown — something he said that he never expected […]

THEN AND NOW: Obon throughout the years in California’s Central Valley

California’s Central Valley has always had a large Japanese American population. Many Buddhist temples and Japantowns were founded in the Central Valley, as Japanese farmers and Asians of other origins flowed in. After World War II, many people of Japanese descent returned to the Central Valley and picked up the pieces from their previous life. […]

“Miwa: A Japanese Icon” Tonight at the Castro

In Japan, Miwa Akihiro is a household name. The 76-year-old, openly gay, bleached blonde, drag queen, actor/author/singer is a regular face on Japanese television, known for making outrageous, cutting and (sometimes) insightful comments on news and culture. In the U.S., he is known mostly known for his film roles—playing the femme fatale in Kinji Fukusaku’s […]

Call for artwork and stories from WWII camps

About five years ago I met Mrs. Rosalie Gould, the former mayor of McGehee, Ark. and a strong advocate for teaching and visiting the Japanese American concentration camps in her community. Mrs. Gould told me she had a collection of children’s artworks in her spare room and welcomed me to see them. I was absolutely […]

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