National JA Historical Society offers handmade and heartfelt gifts


photo by Tomo Hirai/Nichi Bei Weekly

The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) has a vast collection of gifts you can slide in to your family members’ stockings as slyly as a ninja. Support local artisans and programs through these gift ideas.

Hand-Crafted Earrings ($20 to $32)
Avoid the generic and accessorize with earrings crafted by Leslie Yee Murata. The simple designs are unique and set with semi-precious stones such as Tiger’s Eye and turquoise. Particularly seasonable are the mini-dragon earrings, which will have whoever’s wearing them ready for 2012. Murata blesses each of her creations with reiki (spiritual) energy and incorporates a sense of natural beauty to each piece.

Japanese Quilted Fabric Pouches ($5.25 to $8.50)
Mariko III is a line of hand-crafted gifts that are made from Japanese quilted fabric by Gaye Tsudama. These unique purses and accessories feature both Hawaiian and Japanese prints. There is a tiny carrying pouch ($6) for holding small valuables like money, bus passes and charge cards or a pencil case ($6.75) to carry an array of writing implements. Pouches come in multiple patterns and styles and add a nice flash for anyone who wishes to accessorize. Don’t think getting a small pouch is enough? Buy a travel sewing kit ($8.50) for those who prefer a do-it-yourself approach. Why settle for a single bag when this little pouch can help you create as many bags as you like on the go?

photo by Tomo Hirai/Nichi Bei Weekly

‘Googoo’ Cap and Onesie Sets ($20 to $32)
A baby has a googol of possibilities ahead in life. Why not celebrate the birth of a new addition to the family with a witty ensemble? Printed on a white, 100 percent cotton American Apparel onesie and baby cap, the “Googoo Gaagaa” onesie imitates Internet giant Google, which is printed on. Also available is the cute “I Want My Edamommy” design and the potty-humored “iPoo” onesie and “iPee” cap set. The set can be wrapped and delivered in a special giftwrapped bag.

Furoshiki (Japanese Wrapping Cloth) (S – $9.95, M – $7.95, L – $11.95)
Nothing could be handier than a good furoshiki. Serviceable as anything from a reusable lunch bag or gift bag, the larger sizes may also function as grocery and laundry bags. Coming in many colors and patterns, these versatile bags are a fun gift for any ecologically concerned shopper. Also useful as a cape for your aspiring superhero.

Crane Ornaments ($10)
The glass ornament contains a crane origami that was folded at the NJAHS holiday workshop. The ornaments help to raise funds for art supplies used at the gallery by visiting school children. Sure to look festive wherever it hangs, the small cranes hang in a sparkly glass ball adding a nice Nikkei twist to the traditional Christmas ball ornament. Each piece is unique and they are limited in quantity.


Handmade Aprons ($24.95)
From the hands of Karen Mori, these handmade aprons feature a wide variety of patterns placed on 100 percent cotton. These flashy aprons offer the cook in your life a little Asian flair in their kitchen. Mori initially started making the aprons for fun when she found a wealth of Asian inspired fabric at a local store. She started making buckwheat hull pillows and has since moved on to aprons.

NJAHS will also offer a 10 percent discount for subscribers to the Nichi Bei Weekly.

The NJAHS store and gallery is located at 1684 Post St. in San Francisco’s Japantown. It is open noon to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday and every first Saturday of each month. For more information and holiday hours, call (415) 921-5007 or visit

Peace Crane Ornament Workshop on Dec. 3

The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS), 1684 Post St. in San Francisco’s Japantown. will hold its annual Peace Crane Ornament Workshop on Saturday, Dec. 3 from noon to 2 p.m. Participants will create a pair of ornaments, one to take home and the other to sell in the NJAHS Gift Shop.

Proceeds go toward the purchase of art supplies for school children visiting NJAHS.

For more information, call (415) 921-5007 or e-mail

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