Fun for the whole family at Natsumatsuri!

JANM-2013-NatsumatsuriWe are cutting the origami paper, ordering the bounce house, and lining up the entertainment…and you know what that means! JANM is gearing up for our annual Natsumatsuri family festival! On Saturday, August 10th, from 11 AM to 5PM, join us to celebrate summer with crafts, cultural performances, and activities—all for free.

This year, we’re going retro with lots of traditional summer festival activities. Get your blood pumping with a taiko lesson from JANM docent Hal Kiemi before learning what obon is all about. As always, there will be tons of fun activities and crafts all day, from screenprinting tote bags to making wacky paper hats.

It’s not all old school—we’re making new traditions this year too! Japanese mariachi singer Roger del Norte will perform with MEXICAPAN and singer Lupita Infante for the first ever mariachi concert at JANM.

Also, if you haven’t already, walk through our exhibits Visible & Invisible (closing on August 25th) and Portraiture Now!

Check out the schedule for the full list of awesome activities.

See you soon!

Make Memories at the July Target Free Family Saturday!

Author/illustrator Allen Say will read The Favorite Daughter at the upcoming Target Day! (Image credit: Allen Say)
Author/illustrator Allen Say will read The Favorite Daughter at the upcoming Target Day! (Image credit: Allen Say)

Family comes first at the upcoming Target Free Family Saturday on July 13, from 11am-4pm! Join us for a day celebrating your family’s roots—and make some new memories while you’re at it!

At 3pm, Caldecott Award-winning author/illustrator Allen Say will read his newest book, The Favorite Daughter, about a young hapa girl who finds pride in her heritage with her father’s patient help. The book is based on Say’s experiences with his daughter, Yuriko — who will also attend the reading! Say will be signing copies of The Favorite Daughter, which is available to purchase at the Museum Store.

We have lots of hands-on crafts planned, including a journal to record your favorite family memories, a portrait collage, and an origami camera in Ruthie’s Origami Corner. Then stop for a snack with Kidding Around the Kitchen, where kids can learn to make a salad and salad dressing the whole family will love.

If you’d like a break from the hustle and bustle, we will be screening the documentary Searchlight Serenade, about the big bands formed by Japanese Americans in the World War Two internment camps. Searchlight Serenade will begin at 2pm.

This Target Satuday is in conjunction with our currently running exhibition, Visible and Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History.

Hapa Hoops: Hapas Can Jump Too

Hello there! My name is Kelly Gates and I am working in the Watase Media Arts Center here at the Japanese American Nation Museum as one of the 2013 Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Interns. I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz majoring in Film and Digital Media. I have moved back home  for just the summer (hopefully). Now that I have been thrown into what people call the “real world” as I try to figure out what I want to do with my life. On to the real reason you’re reading this article…

 

“It was funny they were talking about nicknames and mine was ‘haole’ and mine was ‘big eyes’.” —Rex Walters

This past Saturday (June 22, 2013) the museum held the event “Hapa Hoops: Japanese American Basketball and Community with Rex Walters”. The event screened JANM’s own film Crossover (2000) followed by a conversation with former JA league player turned NBA player turned coach, Rex Walters and co-curator for the Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History exhibition, Dr. Lily Anne Yumi Welty. Crossover is a short documentary on the ever growing and changing of the Japanese-American basketball community and leagues. The film was directed by a previous JANM employee and director of the four most recent The Fast & The Furious films, Justin Lin. The film address the history of the JA leagues by looking at how and why they started and goes all the way to the present day (well, 2000) structure of the leagues.

“When she [mom] got really mad at me or really mad about something she would call me a banana, ‘Oh you’re yellow on the outside but you’re white on the inside. You’re not really Japanese.” But it was all in good fun.” —Rex Walters

When it came time to have the conversation with Rex Walters and Dr. Lily Anne Welty, I could not help but feel like we were all in group huddle during halftime of a game. I played basketball on my high school team and he made me flash back to those memories. It was funny how Mr. Walters mentioned a past coach always giving motivational speeches and now here he was doing the exact same thing. I personally found Mr. Walters to be quite inspirational. He enjoyed playing for the San Jose Zebras and mentioned he liked the JA basketball league experience better than his high school basketball experience. Mr. Walters even admitted he was not the best player on the team and spent some time warming the bench, but look at how far he got. He played in the NBA and helped his team get into the Final Four and now he is the head coach at the University of San Francisco. Listening to his story, I regretted not playing basketball my senior year in high school and not trying to play in college. It was especially nice to see a fellow hapa person there, talking about his experience and his (what I would still call) a successful career.

“Basketball is just like anything else. It’s a way of bonding and teams just naturally bond. Whether you’re really good, really bad you kind of have to stick together, you have to come together.”

Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History is on view through August 25, 2013. For more info about the exhibition >>

Tsukemono, Bento, and Mochi — Oh My!

Cooking instructor Sonoko Sakai will be making bento boxes. (www.cooktellsastory.com)

If you’ve ever dreamed of being an Iron Chef but never got past making onigiri, we have a workshop—or three—for you! Come brush up on your Japanese cooking skills on Saturday, July 6, from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. The cost for all three workshops is $70 members, $80 non-members.

First, Yoko Issai will teach you how to make tsukemono, or traditional Japanese pickles. Yoko grew up in a Japanese foodie family, using what she learned from them to become a successful cooking instructor. Then, discover how to make your family the envy of the lunchroom with one of Sonoko Sakai’s bento boxes.

Finally, don’t miss a mochi tasting with baker Jenn Fujikawa!  In this free with admission workshop, Jenn will also discuss (and sign copies of) her new cookbook Mochi: Recipes from Savory to Sweet!. 

Not only will this class be loads of fun, but you’ll also walk away with three new and impressive dishes!

RSVP early, 15 students max. For all classes, workshops, and food tours, pre-payment is now required to hold your space. Please call 213.625.0414 or download the pre-payment form. Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance or no refund will be issued.

Hapa Hoops Coming Up!

NBA veteran and current University of San Francisco coach Rex Walters will discuss his experiences at the screening. (Photo courtesy of the University of San Francisco)

Drop by the Museum this Saturday, June 22nd at 2pm for court-side—or rather, screen-side—seats to Hapa Hoops! We will be showing the documentary Crossover followed by a conversation with hapa NBA veteran Rex Walters. The program is free with admission to the Museum.

Produced originally for the More Than a Game exhibition (2000) by the Museum’s Watase Media Arts Center, and directed by Justin Lin (of the Fast and Furious series), Crossover is a fast-paced look at the history and purpose of Japanese American basketball leagues over the years. First established in the 1930s as an opportunity for Japanese Americans to participate in competitive sports, the leagues have flourished over the years—bringing about questions of how to adapt to an increasingly diverse player base.

Walters got his basketball start playing in one such youth league. Before making his professional debut with the New Jersey Nets, he helped lead the University of Kansas Jayhawks to the Final Four in 1993. He currently works as head basketball coach at the University of San Francisco.

This program is presented in conjunction with our exhibition Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History, running through August 25th. Visible & Invisible explores the diverse experiences and history of mixed-roots and mixed-race Japanese Americans through photos, historical artifacts, and interactive elements.

 

Hong Zhang Gallery Talk

TWIN SPIRITS #1 (2002) Zhang Chun Hong Charcoal on paper. Diptych. Collection of the artist. © Hong Chun Zhang

Wondering about the meaning behind the scrolls of hair in Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter? Interested in learning more about art?

Chinese-born artist Hong Zhang will be leading a gallery talk about her work in Portraiture Now at 1pm on Sunday, July 28. Her soft, yet subtly detailed charcoal works represent themes such as familial bonds and life’s twists and turns.

Zhang received her BFA in Chinese painting from the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1994, before coming to America in 1996. She has an MFA from the University of California, Davis, and now resides in Lawrence, Kansas.

Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter displays the diversity of contemporary Asian American identity through the groundbreaking work of seven visual artists—CYJO, Zhang Chun Hong, Hye Yeon Nam, Shizu Saldamando, Roger Shimomura, Satomi Shirai, and Tam Tran. The exhibition will close September 22, 2013.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear an acclaimed artist discuss her work! The talk is free with Museum admission.

LA Dodgers – JA Community Night and Fundraiser

A tradition started years ago, this year’s JA Community Night has grown to become a larger community event with the involvement of JANM and other local Japanese American nonprofit organizations.

2013 Dodgers Japanese American Community Night & Fundraiser flyer

It’s a great night to be in Chavez Ravine, watch the Dodgers versus the Rockies, get a little JA culture, and be with friends. It’s all topped off with a post-game fireworks show.

This year’s ticket sales benefit a variety of JA organizations. Choose JANM when purchasing!

Tickets are first-come, first-served. Go to www.goforbroke.org/dodgers.asp to buy your tickets before June 24 – to ensure receipt of your tickets in a timely way!

Questions? Contact Charlien Church at cchurch@janm.org (213.830.5676) or Alison Wong at awong@janm.org  (213.830.5657) in JANM Membership.

Giant Robot Biennale 3 — Opening Party on Sept 22nd

 Giant Robot is returning to JANM!

GRB3 Opening Party
Saturday, September 22
6PM – 10PM
FREE!

Giant Robot Biennale 3 opens with a party on Saturday, September 22.

Join us as we celebrate the exhibition opening with curator Eric Nakamura, GRB3 artists, and a performance by Money Mark!

The third show in conjunction with Eric Nakamura, owner of Asian American pop culture juggernaut Giant Robot. Giant Robot Biennale 3 will feature a gallery of eight emerging artists along with a customized vinyl figure collection.

Following two previous successful exhibitions at the National Museum, the Biennale continues to push the envelope with a creative, fresh, and uniquely interactive experience. This year’s exhibition highlights the works of Rob Sato, Deth P. Sun, Ako Castuera, Eishi Takaoka, Saelee Oh, Sean Chao, Albert Reyes, and Zach Gage.

Using figures designed by Uglydoll creator David Horvath, Nakamura curated Project Remix, a custom vinyl show with over 80 artists from seven countries—including the rare combination of both established customizers and fine artists.

Special additions to the exhibition include an original piece from Japanese painter Masakatsu Sashie as well as arcade machines running Jeni Yang and Beau Blyth’s new indie video game, Catburger.

Check janm.org/grb3 for more info about the exhibition and related programs.

Summer Festival coming up this Saturday!

14th Annual Summer Festival on the Courtyard - Japanese American Olympics. Saturday, August 11, 2012. 11am-5pm. FREE ADMISSION ALL DAY!

Our 14th Annual Summer Festival on the Courtyard is this weekend!

Sporty Courtyard Kaeru waving JANM flagSummer Festival is our BIGGEST event of the year. We’re preparing a full day of FREE family fun. If you couldn’t make it to London for the Summer Olympics, come out to JANM for the JA Olympics!

LOTS of free activities and crafts to keep kids of all ages busy all day, or just stop by in between checking out the various Nisei Week and Tanabata Festival festivities going on throughout Little Tokyo.

We’re especially excited about our Jan Ken Po TournamentJA Trivia Challenge, and Origami Design Contest! Compete for your chances to win a special JA Olympics medal & prizes!

Jan Ken Po Tournament

P.S. This month is also your last chance to come check out our very popular Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami and Xploration Lab 2012 exhibitions before they close on August 26th!

April Target FREE Family Saturday — Monster Mash!

Our next Target FREE Family Saturday theme is Monster Mash! Join us on April 14th from 11am-4pm for a full day of monster related fun & crafts for the whole family. It’s FREE ALL DAY!

At 2pm, artist, toy designer, and unofficial Kaiju* Toy and Art Ambassador Mark Nagata will talk about Kaiju toys and how they are made.

You may remember Mark from his participation in our Dreams to Dreams Custom Vinyl Toy Show in 2008 and the Year of the Labbit Custom Show in 2011.

Mark wrote an article for our Discover Nikkei website in 2007 that shared how he got interested in vinyl toys & monsters. (Read “Beyond Ultraman” >>)

 

In addition to Mark’s talk, join us for monster crafts, Kidding Around the Kitchen‘s Healthy Monster Mash Mix, face painting, caricatures, and origami.

Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with fun activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together.

Check the full schedule >>