Japanese Salsa Now Available at the JANM Store

Staff members at JANM have been particularly excited lately about a new product being sold at the JANM Store: Karami, a unique salsa developed over 100 years ago by Japanese American immigrants in Colorado. In addition to being extremely tasty, the salsa (whose name means “beautiful heat”) offers a window onto a little-known piece of Japanese American history.

According to Karami’s website, the salsa came into being around the turn of the 19th century, after some enterprising Japanese immigrants settled in Colorado with their families. Finding themselves far inland without access to the ocean-based food staples of their native land, they were forced to be inventive with the resources they had. After sampling a variety of local vegetables, they found that the spicy green chile pepper made for the most viable substitute for seaweed. They mixed the green chiles with soy sauce and used it as a topping on rice, fish, chicken, and meats.

Generations of Japanese Americans who grew up in Colorado were known to keep a jar of the homemade mixture on their kitchen table. Every family had their own variation on the recipe. It was Jason Takaki’s family recipe that formed the basis of the product now known as Karami Japanese Salsa; with the help of his partner Kei Izawa, Takaki was able to turn his salsa into a viable business. For a detailed account of their journey, check out this Daily Camera article. For an early review of the salsa, see Gil Asakawa’s 2013 article on JANM’s DiscoverNikkei.org. For even more delicious historical details on Colorado’s Japanese salsa, check out this article on the Great Flavors website.

This writer sampled the product and was instantly hooked. Karami Japanese Salsa possesses a smooth, silky quality that I’ve never experienced in other salsas. An initial pleasingly sweet flavor soon gives way to a memorable kick that packs a low, slow-burning heat. I had it with tortilla chips and polished off half a jar before I knew it. Maria Kwong, JANM’s Director of Retail Enterprises and the person responsible for bringing us this salsa, tells me it’s great on hot dogs. Jason Takaki himself likes it best on fried rice.

A jar of Karami sells for $8 in our store; check it out the next time you’re at the museum. Please note this product is not available online.

Serve the People Documents a Radical APIA History

L to R: Karen Ishizuka, Mike Murase, Warren Furutani, Qris Yamashita, traci kato-kiriyama. All photos by Vicky Murakami-Tsuda.
L to R: Karen Ishizuka, Mike Murase, Warren Furutani, Qris Yamashita, traci kato-kiriyama. All photos by Vicky Murakami-Tsuda.

 

While the histories of political activism within the African American and Latino communities are well known, the history of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) activism remains invisible to many. JANM exists partly to correct this underrerepresentation. And a new book, for which JANM hosted a signing and panel discussion on June 18, marks a significant contribution to the existing literature on APIA political history.

Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties traces the history of the Asian American civil rights movement, beginning in the early part of the 20th century, focusing strongly on the pivotal decades of the 1960s and ’70s, and continuing to the present day. Drawing on more than 120 first-person interviews with key players and witnesses, the book aims to be the movement’s definitive history. Serve the People was written by Karen L. Ishizuka, a noted scholar and pioneer in the anthropological study of home movies. Ishizuka was also a longtime JANM staff member and co-founder of what is now the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center; she was recently honored at JANM’s 2016 Gala Dinner.

Karen Ishizuka introduces the book and the panel.
Karen Ishizuka introduces the book and the panel.

 

On Saturday, Ishizuka led a panel discussion that featured longtime Asian American activists based in Los Angeles. The audience was treated to a series of brief but rousing talks from each panelist. Mike Murase, Director of Service Programs for the Little Tokyo Service Center and co-founder of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center as well as the radical APIA newspaper Gidra, evoked what it was like to be on the ground during the formation of the movement in the sixties.

Qris Yamashit gives a slide presentation of her graphic design work.
Qris Yamashit gives a slide presentation of her graphic design work.

 

Qris Yamashita, a graphic designer and artist whose unique graphic style helped to form a visual identity for the APIA movement, gave a slide presentation of her work and explained the sources of her imagery. traci kato-kiriyama, an artist, educator, community organizer, and co-founder of Tuesday Night Project, a free public program dedicated to presenting AAPI artists and community organizations, decided to read from the book as a way of paying respect to her forebears.

Warren T. Furutani, a California State Assembly member who is currently in the running for State Senator, gave perhaps the most spirited talk, as he called for continued radicalism in the face of increasing public bigotry. While he spoke, a photograph was projected overhead that showed Furutani shouting down Assemblyman Don Wagner on the Assembly floor in 2011 for the latter’s offensive remarks against Italian Americans. Please enjoy our exclusive video of Furutani’s panel talk above.

To learn more about Serve the People, read our Discover Nikkei article. To purchase your own copy of the book, visit the JANM Store.

Inspiring Women and Girls of Color

Admission to JANM will be free to the public on Saturday, March 12, in celebration of the Smithsonian Institution’s annual Museum Day Live! event. This day is intended to encourage all people to explore our nation’s museums, cultural institutions, zoos, aquariums, parks, and libraries. This year, in recognition of Women’s History Month, the event has a special focus on reaching women and girls of color in underserved communities.

Mine with open newspaper, surrounded by anti-Japanese slogans, Berkeley, California, 1941
Mine with open newspaper, surrounded by anti-Japanese slogans, Berkeley, California, 1941. Gift of Mine Okubo Estate
(2007.62.14).

 

At JANM, we are very fortunate to have some significant pieces in our collection created by Japanese American women, such as the artist Miné Okubo (1912–2001), whose collection has been digitized and can be viewed on our museum’s website.

janm_2007.62.147_a
Gift of Mine Okubo Estate (2007.62.147).

Okubo was a young woman during World War II. She and her family were removed from San Francisco to Tanforan Assembly Center, and then incarcerated in the concentration camp at Topaz, Utah, for the remainder of the war. Okubo was a keen observer; she made sketches and ink drawings that depicted what life was really like in camp.

Gift of Mine Okubo Estate (2007.62.181).
Gift of Mine Okubo Estate (2007.62.181).

In many ways, Okubo was ahead of her time. Her graphic novel, Citizen 13660 (1946), was the first published personal account of the camp experience. Through her pen and ink drawings, readers got an intimate view of what daily life became when Okubo, an American citizen by birth, was reduced to a number: 13660.

To learn more about Miné Okubo and her trailblazing life, we recommend viewing our online collection of her work, reading Citizen 13660, which can be purchased at the JANM Store and janmstore.com, and checking out the biographical volume Mine Okubo: Following Her Own Road, edited by Greg Robinson and Elena Tajima Creef.

Mine and Benji standing with their luggage, Berkeley, California, 1942
Mine and Benji standing with their luggage, Berkeley, California, 1942. Gift of Mine Okubo Estate (2007.62.23).

 

Geta-pets!

geta-pets

Just had to mention these cool geta that only just arrived at the Museum Store.

Make tracks like a cat, monkey, or dinosaur with this ingenious take-off on traditional wooden geta. These are made from FSC Certified European beech and painted with non-toxic water-based paint.

Geta are usually worn slightly smaller than your foot in order to better maintain balance. We have them in two sizes so big people can help little ones as they make tracks.

But be quick! We have a limited supply in limited sizes! These are too special to last long! (Not available online due to limited sizing and availability.)

If you’re still looking for holiday gifts, the Museum Store will be open this weekend! We’ll be closed as usual on Monday, but for the real last minute gift shopping, we will be open on Christmas Eve. We’ll be closed Christmas Day.

Happy Holidays!

Get your orders in time for the Holidays!

janmstore-glass-koi-ornament
Glass Koi Ornament

The Museum Store’s carefully selected products enlighten, educate, and celebrate Japanese American culture in all its complexity and diversity. They are perfect for enjoying anywhere, anytime.

Visit the Museum Store online at janmstore.com to find the perfect gifts, and place your orders by this Sunday (December 15th) to receive your order in time for the Holidays!

Remember, there are a lot more great gifts to check out onsite at the award-winning Museum Store at JANM. Browse the Museum store for more one-of-a-kind pieces that aren’t available online!

 

janmstore-hapanese
Hapanese T-shirt

Holiday Shipping Deadlines
Our staff & volunteers are working hard to get everyone’s orders as quickly as they can, but we recommend you place your online orders by these dates to allow time for processing and delivery:*

CHRISTMAS
Standard shipping: 3PM PST on Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rush orders: End of day on Thursday, December 19, 2013

NEW YEAR’S
Standard shipping: End of day on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rush orders: Noon PST on Friday, December 27, 2013

*These dates are recommendations only and are not intended as a guarantee of delivery date.

janmstore-only-what-you-can-carry-tote
The Only What You Can Carry Tote is a reminder of a time when the limitations of freedom were symbolized by what you could carry.

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You support the Museum’s programs every time you choose to make a purchase through the Museum Store.

Don’t forget, Museum members receive a 10% discount on Museum Store purchases!

Not a current member? Join/renew online and receive your discount on today’s order.

 

 

 

Save the Date: 2014 Oshogatsu Family Festival

Taiko Group

Celebrate the New Year and the Year of the Horse at JANM! Ring in 2014 with a FREE fun-filled day of exciting cultural performances, special foods, and fun crafts!

Candy Sculpture

FREE admission all day on Sunday, January 5, 2014 from 11AM – 5PM.

Here are a few highlights to look forward to at Oshogatsu Family Festival:

From 12PM – 5PM, world-renowned candy artist Shan Ichiyanagi returns JANM! Watch as he makes horse & other special candy sculptures! These sculptures will be for children on, and candies will be raflled off throughout the day.
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From 12PM – 2PM, learn how to make onigiri rice balls and participate in our Onigiri Design Contest, presented by Common Grains!

From 1PM – 5PM be sure to try some lucky zaru soba (buckwheat noodles) with Kidding Around the Kitchen. From 1PM – 5PM you can also meet and ride some real live ponies in celebration of the Year of the Horse!

Mochitsuki

Don’t miss Kodama Taiko at 2:30PM & 4PM as they perform a demonstration of mochitsuki, a traditional rice cake pounding ceremonyMochi samples will be passed out at the end of the performance!

For JANM members, there will be a special gourmet osechi-ryori tasting from 12PM – 1PM where members can sample traditional Japanese New Year foods, while supplies last!

The day will also include all-day activities such as a horse bounce house, a toddler room where our youngest guests can hang out, Fukubukuro (lucky bag) sale at the Museum Store, and fun horse crafts.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 (through February 9, 2014) and Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts (through March 2, 2014) exhibitions.

For more details, visit the 2014 Oshogatsu Family Festival page: janm.org/oshogatsufest2014

Stay tuned for a special series of Oshogatsu blog posts that will explore some of the cultural activities in more detail!

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Kaeru reindeerYou don’t have to wait to enjoy holiday fun at JANM!

Join us for Target FREE Family Saturdays: Winter Wonderland on Saturday, December 14 from 11AM – 4PM.

It’s a Winter Wonderland of seasonal crafts & activities including photos with Asian American Santa, a horse-drawn carriage, kamishibai story-telling, and more!

For schedule, visit: janm.org/target

Shop Small Business MAD*ness! 11/30/13

Shop Small

American Express’ Shop Small Saturday is on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which happens to fall in the middle of our Member Appreciation Days (11/29, 11/30, 12/1).

This year if you are a current Museum Member AND and American Express card holder, you can potentially profit from shopping at our Museum Store on that Saturday. As with anything that sounds too good to be true, there are rules. But read this post carefully and you may come out ahead!

1.) You must REGISTER your AMEX card online at ShopSmall.com between 11/24 and 11/30. Only a limited number of registrations will be accepted, so act fast!

2.) Use your card and spend $10 or more in our physical Museum Store (online sales are not eligible) and American Express will give you a one-time $10 statement credit for that sale.

Caveats: Read the instructions carefully. You will only receive one $10 credit per AMEX card account, and ONLY if you register your card successfully. More information is available at ShopSmall.com

Member Appreciation Days

But think about it, if you are an eligible Museum Member, you will receive a 20% discount on your purchase* that day, and if your total is over $10 AND you make the purchase with your registered AMEX card, you will get a $10 from American Express to boot!! Shazam!

*20% discount applies to eligible merchandise only. Not applicable to sale items or memberships.

* * * * *

November 2013 Member Appreciation Days postcard frontMember Appreciation Days
Friday – Sunday, November 29 – December 1, 2013

20% off at our award-winning Museum Store & janmstore.com + reciprocal FREE admission and 20% off store sales at 16 other SoCal institutions—including MOCA, California Science Center, Pacific Asia Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, and more!

For more info & a complete list of participating institutions >>

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Not a current JANM member? If you have an AMEX card, you can still register to participate in their Shop Small Saturday offer to get your $10 credit.

Or…you can join/renew now to take advantage of the extra savings!

Meet Lela Lee, author & artist of Angry Little Asian Girl

Lela Lee, author/artist of "Angry Little Girls"

Meet Lela Lee, author and artist of the web comic book series Angry Little Girls, at the Japanese American National Museum!

Lela Lee, cultural phenom and entrepreneur, was just an undergraduate at UC Berkeley when she decided to let off some steam by creating the character of Kim, a no-nonsense, surly, and vocal Asian American female.

Through her characters of Kim, Deborah, Maria, Wanda, Xyla, Pat, and Bruce, Lela delivers biting comebacks from the mouths of those who are usually on the receiving end of sexist or racist comments.

Meet the author who skewers pop culture and stereotypes in all her books, short films, comic book series, and merchandise. Take advantage of your chance to hear her in person.

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EXCLUSIVE FOR JANM MEMBERS ONLY!

Meet and Greet with Lela Lee
Saturday, October 19th • 1 PM
Intimate dessert reception with Lela Lee for JANM members.
Please RSVP at specialevents@janm.org or 213.830.5657.

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FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

A Conversation with Lela Lee
Saturday, October 19th • 2 PM
The author and artist will discuss her comics.
Free with paid Museum admission.

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Angry Little Girl Kim doll
Kim, the original Angry Asian Girl, is available in a plush doll!

Need a gift for a special angry girl?

Lela Lee’s Angry Little Girls books are available through our award-winning Museum Store—Angry Little GirlsStill Angry Little GirlsAngry Little Girls in Love, and Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls are sure to strike a humorous chord!

Purchase Angry Little Girls books and doll from the Museum Store >>

 

These programs are presented in conjunction with Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 on view at JANM through February 9, 2014. For more information about this exhibition and related public programs, visit janm.org/marvels-monsters.