Community-style gift picks


Star Holiday Cards by Tomoko Maruyama

With the holidays upon us, we’re hoping to help you save some time as you shop for those on your shopping list. Our Holiday Shopping Guide offers unique and creative gifts and stocking stuffers with a Nikkei or Asian American spin.

Star Holiday Cards by Tomoko Maruyama
Star Holiday Cards by Tomoko Maruyama

Star Holiday Cards Set and Notebook
San Francisco artist Tomoko Maruyama’s  holiday cards will help you get into the spirit. Her carefree drawings are set in various spots throughout San Francisco, and are perfect for sending out your season greetings to those loved ones on your holiday mailing list.

Maruyama also sells mugs, magnets, notebooks (pictured) and an assortment of other gifts, all of which feature her signature light-hearted, pastel color-infused take on the City by the Bay.

Info: Star Holiday Cards Set: $15 (plus shipping and handling); eight greeting cards, four assorted designs; 4.25”x 6”; 100 percent recycled paper; comes in a plastic box; Notebook; $5.50; 5”x7”; 48 lined pages;

Japanese Designs Coloring Book
This coloring book found at the Asian Art Museum’s gift shop is filled with 16 sheets of acid-free drawing paper that will allow the artist in your life to nurture their creativity.
Info: $16.99 (plus shipping and handling). The Asian Art Museum Store is located in the museum at 200 Larkin St., San Francisco; (415) 581-3600;;

Got Japantowns T-shirt. photo courtesy of Nikkei Traditions
Got Japantowns T-shirt. photo courtesy of Nikkei Traditions

“Got Japantown?” T-Shirt
Help spread the J-Town love throughout the year. The T-Shirt pays tribute to both the 43 pre-World War II Nikkei enclaves in California, and the modern day Japantowns in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. (Note: Earlier this year, Los Angeles also recognized Sawtelle, the West L.A. neighborhood, as a Japantown.) Pick up the T-Shirt at Nikkei Traditions of San Jose’s Japantown Inc.

Info: $27.50 (plus shipping and handling); Men’s (S, M, L, X-L and 2-XL; plus-$1); and Women’s (S, M, L, XL); Nikkei Traditions of San Jose Japantown Inc.; 219 Jackson St. (between North Fifth and Sixth St.), San Jose’s Japantown; (408) 297-7554.

Luncheon Meat Slicer
Everyone knows that community meetings and potlucks require Spam musubi. Why not pick up this Spam slicer for that foodie on your list?

Info: $11 (plus shipping and handling); Nikkei Traditions of San Jose Japantown Inc.; 219 Jackson St. (between North Fifth and Sixth Street), San Jose’s Japantown; (408) 297-7554;

‘Before They Were Heroes: Sus Ito’s World War II Images’ Postcard Set
The Japanese American National Museum has highlighted 10 of the photos that the late Susumu “Sus” Ito took while serving in the military during World War II. The museum held the exhibit earlier this year, offering insight into the daily lives of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Info: $4.50 (plus shipping and handling); 10 different black and white images on 4” x 6” postcards; Japanese American National Museum Store; 100 North Central Ave., Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo; 888-769-5559; museumstore@janm.org

Blue Selvage Chambray Dot Scarf
In the spirit of mottainai (don’t waste), the Portland, Ore.-based company uses denim and traditional shibori (a Japanese dyeing technique) and kasuri textiles to fashion scarves, (pictured) handbags and other clothes and accessories.

Info: $39 (plus shipping and handling);     58” x 12”; royal blue; Kiriko; 107 NW Fifth Ave., Portland, Ore.; (510) 796-3863;;

Tribest Soyabella Tofu Kit with 2 Cloths. courtesy of Signature Soy
Tribest Soyabella Tofu Kit with 2 Cloths. courtesy of Signature Soy

Tribest Soyabella Tofu Kit with 2 Cloths
For the person who has just about everything, here’s something item they probably do not possess: A tofu-making kit. Sold by Signature Soy, a distributor of non-GMO soybeans, this kit allows the adventurous to hand-make their own blocks of the Asian staple food out of soy milk. Perfect for those far away from an Asian market, or who like to make their own culinary creations.

The Tribest Soyabella Tofu Kit with 2 Cloths (Model SB12) is $11 (plus $2.65 shipping), or it’s $19.99 with a 1.5 pound bag of soybeans (shipping included). For recipes, non-GMO soybeans grown on family farms in North Dakota and Minnesota, and products such as the Tribest Soyabell Tofu Kit or Soyabella Automatic Soymilk Maker ($109.95 plus shipping), visit

Soy-Infused T-Shirts
Born out of the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival and also presented at the recent Nihonmachi Street Fair, the MakiMino brand of T-shirts feature a host of lovable soy characters. You might see folks wearing the popular Tofuro T-shirt, the EdaMommy T-shirt with a mother edamame bean carrying a trio of babies, the couple-oriented Soy in Love T, or the ever-popular Tofu Warriors design — very trendy in the Bay Area.

Info: Designed by Ben Kam, who created the renewed graphics for the Soy and Tofu Festival, the popular T-shirts ($22), stickers ($5), pins ($1) and magnets ($3) — and information on how to become a “makiminion” — can be found at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *