Tea for two

In San Francisco’s Outer Richmond district, Larry Sokyo Tiscornia, 69, and Kimika Soko Takechi, 68, teach tea as members of San Francisco Urasenke Tankokai. The couple met while taking Saturday tea classes with Soko Kobara, founder of the Tankokai, and have since been together, teaching all aspects of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Prior to […]

Speaking the language of karate for the Tokyo Olympics

As if fluency in both English and Japanese wasn’t enough, Gakuji Tozaki has used a different type of skill as a means to positively express his Japanese American identity. Through karate, the 26-year-old is aiming to represent the country of his birth in the land of his ancestry in the biggest sporting event in the […]

Ikebana to go: Kiyo’s Floral Design delivers ikebana-inspired creations

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For designer Lisa Taira, every flower arrangement she creates is one that comes from the heart — even if it’s just one flower. “It’s not just a single flower because it has so much meaning to the person who is actually buying it to give to someone,” said Taira, the owner of […]

Matt Ogawa perpetuates the cultural arts and gives back with a purpose

Whether motivating a group into action or expressing his love for his own Japanese American heritage through his involvement in a myriad of cultural activities, Matt Ogawa doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. Decades ago, his grandfather, the late Frank H. Ogawa, was a popular civil rights leader and longtime Oakland City Council member […]

Ikebana teacher follows family’s legacy of service, sees ‘revival’ in the art

Her grandfather, the Rev. Shozen Naito, was a minister at the Buddhist Temple of Alameda before World War II; her grandmother taught Sogetsu ikebana in the 1970s and Japanese language at the same temple. Her father, Kiyoshi Naito, served as the temple’s board president for three different terms. Following two generations of family leadership at […]

Tiffany Tamaribuchi’s multifaceted Sacramento Taiko Dan family

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — “My mom would say from the time I could walk, I would stand in front of the taiko,” said 51-year-old Tiffany Tamaribuchi, recalling her earliest encounter with the drums at a Sacramento Obon festival. Her captivation with the Japanese drum would lead her to establish Sacramento Taiko Dan in 1989 at just […]

S.F. Cherry Blossom Queen candidates announced

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program presented its 2018 queen candidates during its annual preview March 11 at the Union Bank Community Room in San Francisco’s Japantown. The queen program, a highlight of San Francisco’s annual cherry blossom festival, will take place Saturday, April 14 at the AMC Kabuki 8. The candidates are: […]

Sacramento Bonsai Club celebrates 70 years

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Believed to be the oldest bonsai club in California, the Sacramento Bonsai Club celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Founded in 1946, the club’s first meetings were held at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento at its old location on O Street. The meetings moved when Sacramento’s 1958 Redevelopment Plan forced the temple […]

INVITING PEOPLE INTO THE FOLD: Sisters advance the art of origami

Raised around the art of origami, Linda Mihara and Vicky Mihara Avery have unfolded the public’s fascination with making art from a single sheet of paper. Recognized as paperfolders, the Mihara sisters have helped establish the art of origami both nationally and internationally. Most recently, Linda Mihara co-curated “Origami Living World” at the National History […]

YOUNG LEARNER: Sogetsu instructor Kika Shibata’s ikebana interest started early

After a few busy weeks of work, 13-year Sogetsu ikebana practitioner Yasmin Spiegel arrived at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in Sacramento, Calif. with a creativity block and little inspiration to create her pieces for that weekend’s ikebana show. While mentally listing the many things that needed to be done to prepare for the […]

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