Summer for JANM Volunteers

During the summer when we have fewer school visitors, the Education Unit runs summer sessions for the volunteers. Here are some quick, recent highlights…

7/22/11 (Last Friday) – Clement led a special tour of his artwork featured in ROUND TRIP: Eight East Los Angeles College Alumni Artists at the newly opened Vincent Price Art Museum at East LA College. Standing in front of his low-rider rickshaw with “Yo No Soy Chino” written on it, we thought about Clement’s experiences growing up Japanese American in East LA.

7/29/11 (Today) – Frank Kawana was interviewed by his grandson, Cole, about being a second generation maker of kamaboko. Frank, possibly the only person on the mainland who can do it by hand, showed us HOW TO MAKE KAMABOKO. (Haven’t you always wondered how this is done?) Cole conducted an interview that was absolutely fascinating, even to a vegetarian like me.

It was eaten up so quickly that Clement’s picture of the last slice is the only photographic evidence we have. Those who were lucky enough to taste it said Frank’s fresh kamaboko was even better than what you buy in the store. So when you have Yamasa kamaboko, think of the Kawanas. More info about the interview—as well as tips on how to do an interview of your own—will be available shortly on our Discover Nikkei Web site.

7/29/11 (Today) – While Lynn was leading the volunteers on a tour of JANM’s current exhibition Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, the artist himself, stopped by. He gave us even more insight into the making of Usagi Yojimbo.

As Richard M. (who gets most of the photo credits on this post) said, “We really hit the jackpot today.”

Ever thought about volunteering for the Museum and joining in on the fun???

Today’s Groupon: Discount on our Tea Fest!

I was excited to see today’s Groupon discounts for our very own Chado Tea Room! There are three options:

  • For $10, you get two tickets to the first annual Los Angeles Tea Festival on August 13 and 14 (a $20 value).
  • For $30, you get afternoon tea for two people and $25 worth of loose-leaf tea (a $61 value).
  • For $48, you get afternoon tea for four people and $25 worth of loose-leaf tea (a $97 value).

Have you been to our Chado Tea Room? It is a wonderfully civilized place to have Afternoon Tea. A hidden gem. I love it!

Well, I just wanted to point out these fabulous deals, especially the discounted tickets to the Tea Fest in conjunction with our Saturday, Aug 13 Summer Festival — our most popular event of the year! — just in case there are a few rare JANM blog readers out there who do not get the Groupon alerts. The Chado Groupon is available until the end of day Saturday July 30th!

Chado Groupon Deal >>

Speaking of Labbits…

I was reminded of a similar story to my Frank Kozik blog entry when I saw this photo on Facebook. I ordered “shikata ga nai” rocks for the Museum Store once and this is what I got.

It wasn’t the first time ordering, and my order was printed in 14 pt type with the correct spelling. Someone at the factory decided I had misspelled my copy.

Ordinarily I like it when someone proofs my copy, but once I had someone change the spelling of my last name to “Quon” because they were sure that I had misspelled it. It was for an art show mailer.

Mike Shinoda’s Labbit Auction is over!

After many check-ins last night where the bid was stuck at $510, I finally decided to call it quits and go to bed.

I woke up in the middle of the night and was plagued by work thoughts, but didn’t sneak in to check the computer and risk waking the household with whoops of excitement. It was like waiting for Christmas morning and it was worth it to see that the final bid was $721.00!

Again, thanks to Mike Shinoda, proceeds benefit JANM & Music for Relief/Japan Relief.

 

Next auction starts August 1, with Kip Fulbeck’s ingenious ikebana Labbit entitled, “More than the Sum of Our Parts.”

I have been enjoying the opportunity to create flower arrangements every few days. It’s a nice way to start your day…contemplating art and beauty.

Check the janm.org page for a schedule of the upcoming auctions >>

Check janmstore.com to view all of the Labbits >> 

It’s a Small World After All?

Meeting a ton of new people every day is commonplace here at the museum.  So when Vicky came walking into the Media Arts Center yesterday with about a dozen visitors in tow, no one was very fazed.  She explained to me that her company consisted of the NCI interns; today they were getting a behind the scenes tour of the JANM.  Then she began to tell our guests why I was here at the Museum: what my duties were, that I had come as a Getty Intern, and the types of projects the Media Arts Center put out.  She paused, then said,

“What’s really interesting about this summer’s interns…”

Now, I was sitting at my computer, editing a video on the new Year of the Labbit display.  As I listened, a number of sentence endings ran through my mind.  This summer, there are a half dozen of them running around.  This summer, they’re all girls.  This summer…

Instead, Vicky finished by saying, “This summer we have two interns with famous grandmas.”

One of those interns, of course, is NCI intern Maya Kochiyama, granddaughter of famous activist Yuri Kochiyama.  The other intern is me.

My grandmother is Wakako Yamauchi.  She’s an accomplished writer, playwright, and painter.  But she’s also a wonderful, loving, absolutely amazing person.

But there is more than a little bit of pressure with such high achievements in your blood line.  With any accomplishments I have, I still worry that I don’t measure up to her, or sometimes worry recognition earned comes from her and not me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some perks to having a famous grandmother.  As an Asian American Studies student, I’ve had the added bonus of being personally connected to my studies.  I’ve gotten a first hand account of history.  I’ve seen professors go from “teaching professional” to “autograph-asking fan” as one once said.

Thanks to my Grammy, I’ve spent New Year’s Eves with Garrett Hongo and his family, eaten apple pie and ice cream with Hisaye Yamamoto.  I have memories of seeing my grandmother on to her plane from LAX to Japan where she saw her plays performed in foreign countries and languages.  I’ve gone to readings and book launches, heard my grandma talk casually of knowing Yuji Ichioka, or tell anecdotes about how Karen Tei Yamashita lived for a period of time in my grandmother’s back house.  I’ve studied her plays, and her life, in my classes at school.

So I wasn’t completely surprised when, as Vicky informed the other interns who my grandmother is, I saw a sudden jolt and eye widening of one girl. Was she, too, an Asian American Literature student, and recognized the name?  Had she read some of my grandmother’s plays?  Or had she simply been goosed by her neighbor, and was momentarily caught off guard.

“I know her!” she said.  “She plays cards at the JCI!”

She’d met my grandma in her current, other life.  As a retired writer, my grandma spends her mornings playing Blackjack, placing nickel and dime bets at the JCI in Gardena with other Nisei.  Few of her friends there know her as a famous name, a ground breaker in the Asian American Literature world.  There, instead, she’s just another one of them, playing cards, and of course, always “breaking even.”

But seeing this girl who knew my grandmother made me smile.  She saw her, not through the eyes of an academic fawning over her accomplishments, but as a normal person, happy in the company of her peers.  I realized then, how lucky I am, to be able to know my grandmother in both her worlds.

Year of Labbit soundbyte on KFWB

You have to listen to the piece on the Warhol soup cans at MOCA, but my golden tones are second. Good thing I wore my radio clothes that day (the reporter caught me in a pair of sweaty, paint-stained overalls.)

Here’s a link to the interview:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/22/kfwb-on-your-corner-downtown-la-museums/

"My Fair Labbit" by Emil Dora

 

See more Labbits from the Year of the Labbit Custom Show >>

 

A Little Lovin’ for Some Art … and FOOD!

Now that I have a moment away from using InDesign, I thought I should devote some time sharing with you all the happenings of my awesome week at the Museum.

Much of the past week has been committed to creating and editing my primary task for my internship, which is a 24-page Group Visit and Educator Guide.  But so many marvelous things kept on emerging – and by marvelous, I mean delicious – throughout the days.  Hmm, where to begin…

Ah, yes. Last Friday.

The other interns and I attended a leadership workshop, which included a variety of activities focusing on our identities within our society and confronting others about social injustice and stereotypes (ethnicity, religion, gender, you name it).  I’m sure all three of us were able to grow some new insight and perspective in analyzing our identities as well as understanding others and their backgrounds.  But the best part of it all? The free lunch, of course.  Right when we were about to consume the Thai food that we collected onto our plates, Alyctra gets a text message from her supervisor John, informing us of a wonderful opportunity awaiting back at the Museum.  That’s right, the day that we had all been waiting for: Sashimi day.  So now we found ourselves in a dilemma: shall we engulf ourselves in the food that we had already been presented in front of our face? Or leave for some sashimi? But of course, our hunger kicked in and we began eating out of our plates and finished in about a half hour.  Alyctra was kind to drive us back to the Museum afterwards, and when we arrived and walked through the lounge, low and behold, the sashimi was patiently waiting for us.  “They made it!” Clement announced across the room, “Grab some sashimi!”

“But we already had lunch.”

“So?”

That was enough persuasion for us to give in to deliciousness.  And so, we began to serve ourselves a second lunch.  A big thank you to those who prepared everything (and The Getty for giving us an awesome opportunity. Who knew that I would have sashimi at an internship?)

Then came Wednesday.  Unfortunately Mae had caught a cold (or infection, as I heard afterwards) for a few days, so I was the only one in the office under Clement’s reign of craziness.  But that craziness turned into kindness as he took me out to lunch for Chinese food at Uncle John’s Cafe 🙂 We took a shuttle to get there, but along the walk on our way to the restaurant, Clement pointed out Bottega Louie, a luxurious gourmet restaurant, apparently popular to many celebrities.  “Maybe we can get some macaroons afterwards?” Clement joked with a smirk on his face … at least I thought he was joking.  After we had lunch, we began walking backwards to the bus stop, and I swiftly passed by Louie when all of a sudden I hear Clement, “Where are you going?!”  And thus, we gave in to even more deliciousness.  Three patisseries were chosen (don’t ask me what they were; one consisted of a lime meringue?, another a macaroon, and the third a solid chocolat mousse-like cake that was coated with raspberries and what looked like a dangerous shiny purple glaze on top.)  Like always, Clement would not let me pay. I’ll get him one day. One day.  Mae could not join in on this shindig, but Lynn was able to have a bite for her.

Then came Thursday, which was apparently Patricia’s birthday 🙂 (In case she didn’t hear me, Happy birthday, Patty!)  Alexa and Alyctra came downstairs to inform me of a party up in the lounge which involved cake and hotdogs.  Who could resist?

Friday was a very entertaining day for I got to see some of Clement’s artwork!  It definitely was interesting to see the kinds of works and concepts with which others work around.  I’ve come to appreciate museums and different genres of art a lot more over the past few years, especially after spending some time in Italy last fall.  Visiting exhibitions and seeing art is always going to be a favorite of mine.

I feel like I’ve consumed much of the space on this blog, mostly dedicated to the food happenings.  For those who are not too fond of food, I apologize.  For those who are, kanpai! Time to get some chips and guacamole, made by the famous graphic designer and chef Mae Isidro!

Museums Matter Night at Dodger Stadium

Go Dodgers! Museums Matter Night at Dodger Stadium

Come celebrate museums & cheer on the hometown Dodgers at Museums Matter Night at Dodger Stadium!

Museums Matter Night at Dodger Stadium

Join JANM and other participating museums at Dodger Stadium on Friday, August 26. Special discounted prices available for variety of stadium seating sections. Click on the link below for prices & to order tickets.

Game against the Colorado Rockies starts at 7:10pm. Stay for fireworks following the game!

Museums Matter Night info & tickets >>

Download the PDF flyer (2 MB) >>

 

Shigetoshi Hasegawa Baseball fans…we also have a program on Saturday, July 23 at 11am:

How to Succeed in Baseball

Shigetoshi Hasegawa (former pitcher for the Angels & Mariners) and Scott Akasaki (traveling secretary for the Dodgers) will be at JANM next Saturday to talk about how they were able to succeed in baseball. It’s free, so come check it out!

Labbits are up!

Sorry everyone for making you wait so long to see the Labbit collection in its entirety, but please believe me when I say I have been working round the clock to get the show up while also managing my regular job.

Anyway, I just took the last shot an hour ago (for the Labbit that arrived an hour before we set up) and got every piece online. Five pieces sold last night at the opening, but there are plenty of fantastic pieces left to choose from as you will see.

Thanks to all of the artists who participated in the show, and all of the people who came to the opening night. It all amounts to support for the Museum!

The last arrival was from artist Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani of New York. He gets special dispensation because he is 92 years old and wasn’t quite sure what to make of my request to be in a custom toy show. For those of you who are familiar with Jimmy’s story through the DVD “The Cats of Mirikitani“, you may notice a slight resemblance to the artist in this piece. If you haven’t seen the DVD, you can buy one in the Museum Store when you come to admire the Labbit show in person.

Check out all the Labbits online >>