Highlights from Natsumatsuri

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One of our special visitors...she's been coming to JANM events for over seven years!
One of our special visitors. She’s been coming to JANM events for over seven years!

Wow! We had such an incredible time at this year’s Natsumatsuri Family Festival on August 10, 2013. Nearly 4,000 guests came to enjoy a day full of cultural performances, demonstrations, activities, and crafts. A big thank you to everyone who made it out (and extra kudos to those who came from as far away as Bakersfield and Frazier Park—that’s a whole lot of driving!).

Take a look through this event recap and see if you can spot yourself!

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Screenprinting kaeru origami and taiko totes!

This year, we added a few new perks to thank our Members and Courtyard Kids. Museum members were able to use special “fast pass” lines for some of our most popular activities, including the yukata dress-up and the screenprinted tote bags. Members also got prime seats at our Aratani Central Hall performances and demonstrations. To all of our members who came out for Natsumatsuri, thanks again for your support!

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Japanese mariachi Roger del Norte, performs for the crowd.

Speaking of Central Hall events, we had a day jam-packed with great performances! Roger del Norte and Lupita Infante stole the show with a Japanese-Spanish mariachi duet, accompanied by the band MEXICAPAN. It was standing room only for Roger and Lupita, and the crowds didn’t let up for the L.A. Matsuri Taiko performance that finished up the day.

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JANM President/CEO G.W. Kimura with the visiting courts.

Long before that, we kicked the day off with a visit from the Nikkei courts of San Francisco, Honolulu, and Seattle. The queens and princesses came by for a meet n’ greet with JANM President/CEO G.W. Kimura, followed by a tour of our Common Ground: The Heart of Community exhibition from our knowledgeable docents.

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A visitor and his mom work on their wacky paper hat.

As you probably noticed, this year’s Natsumatsuri was all about celebrating summer with some old and new traditions! From learning to play taiko drums with volunteer Hal Keimi to listening to Rev. Bill Briones of Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple explain the history of Obon in both Japan and the United States, we went back to the roots of traditional Japanese festivals. (The wacky paper hats craft is a much-loved tradition of our own!)

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What’s your fortune? One visitor is about to find out!

We’re big believers in interactive activities fun at JANM. This year, we invited visitors to make self-portraits and fans upstairs, while we once again hosted the “What Are You?” photo activity and omikuji fortunetelling downstairs. Traditional Obon dancing lessons and airbrush tattoos were also big hits.

What was your favorite part of the day? See below for more photos!

Thanks to our wonderful volunteer photographers for documenting the day: Russell Kitagawa, Nobuyuki Okada, Richard Watanabe, Tsuneo Takasugi, Shoji Tokumasa, Richard Murakami, June Aoki, Caroline Jung, and Daryl Kobayashi.

Natsumatsuri: Yukata

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Photo: Chris Gladis

What better way to get into the spirit of summer festivals than with some new duds? Try on a yukata with the help of Suehiro Kimono Agency and get your photo taken at our Natsumatsuri Family Festival this weekend on Saturday, August 10!

Yukata are traditional Japanese garments for both men and women. Unlike kimono, they are worn for casual occasions, especially during the summer for special events such as obon or firework displays. They are unlined and made of cotton—making them nice and cool for those long, hot days.

In Heian-era Japan, court nobles wore linen yukata after bathing, a practice later adopted by the public with the popularization of public baths. Today, they are often brightly colored with fun patterns such as florals or geometric designs. Many young women coordinate their yukata color with that of their obi, or sash—some even wearing a more transparent obi on top for decoration. Some go all out and also wear geta, or traditional wooden clogs, and a kanzashi, a cute hair ornament.

2013 Natsumatsuri Family Festival
FREE ALL DAY!
Saturday, August 10, 2013
11AM – 5PM

2PM – 5PM: Try on a yukata and have your picture taken!
Suehiro Kimono Agency will dress you in a yukata so you can have a special picture to take home! Yukata are traditional light Japanese garments worn during the summer to keep cool.

For full schedule of activities: janm.org/natsumatsuri2013

Photos from the July Target FREE Family Saturday

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One young guest proudly shows off his family portrait

We all had a blast at the Target Free Family Saturdays event on July 13! It was great to see so many families hanging out and working together to make family portraits and journals! The audience was packed for all of our book readings, especially Allen Say and his daughter Yuriko’s telling of The Favorite Daughter. While some of our young visitors made tasty and fresh summer salads with Kidding Around the Kitchen, others worked on recording their family stories in our writing workshop.

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Allen Say reads from his new book “The Favorite Daughter,” accompanied by his daughter (and inspiration) Yuriko

If you missed this Target Day, come on out to the next one, Zap! Pow! Bam!, on October 12th. And don’t miss our upcoming free Natsumatsuri on August 10th!

Thanks again to everyone who showed up, and all of our great volunteers who helped out. Check out more photos on our Facebook page!

Photos by: Caroline Jung, Russell Kitagawa, and Tsuneo Takasugi

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A young visitor works on her family portrait with a little help!
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Author Heidi Cole reads from her book “Am I a Color Too?”

 

 

 

 

 

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We Tell Stories performs multicultural tales in Proud to Be Me!
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Family members work together to record their stories in our writing workshop
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Two guests with their very own memory books

 

 

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Visible & Invisible curator Dr. Duncan Williams leads a tour of the exhibition
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Guests with their tasty creations from Kidding Around the Kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling all JANM Member kids!

Natsumatsuri Family Festival - FREE ALL DAY! Saturday, August 10, 2013, 11am-5pmThe very fun Natsumatsuri Family Festival is right around the corner—Saturday, August 10, 11 am – 5 pm. The National Museum welcomes ALL children to participate in free crafts and cultural activities—but there’s a special call out to Members!

To reward our members for supporting the National Museum, we will have “Member fast pass” lines for such popular activities as yukata dress-up, tote bag screen printing, and airbrush kid tattoos, not to mention a limited number of reserved-seating for the Japanese Mariachi and LA Matsuri Taiko performances.

The Japanese American National Museum is a community-based, cultural institution open for ALL people to learn about the stories of Japanese America. At JANM, we realize that our members and donors make an investment for EVERYONE and when we can, we give back a little extra to those supporters who help realize our mission and programs.  Thank you for your continued support and we’ll see you at Natsumatsuri!

Natsumatsuri = Summer FUN

For full Natsumatsuri Family Festival schedule >>

Join/renew as a Member >>

Special Courtyard Kids Lunch during Natsumatsuri, Saturday, 8/10

Courtyard Kaeru playing taikoDid you honor a special child (or children) in your life this year? If you did it with the gift of a permanent engraving in the Plaza of the Japanese American National Museum, then your invitation has already been sent for our Saturday, August 10, 2013 Courtyard Kids luncheon.

This luncheon is invitation-only and will be a fun and refreshing time to celebrate some of our youngest supporters.

RSVP’s are due by Thursday, August 1. Please contact Gina Nieto (gnieto@janm.org or 213.830.5669) so that we may prepare food, goodie bags, and reserved tote bags (to be screen printed by your child later that day).

Even if your family can’t make the lunch but would like to attend Natsumatsuri—and take advantage of the member fast pass lines and reserved seating—please let Gina know and we will set aside a goodie bag and tote bag.

Check out the Natsumatsuri Family Festival schedule >>

For more information about the Children’s Courtyard >>

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!

2013 Oshogatsu Festival photos

Thanks to everyone who joined us to celebrate the New Year & the Year of the Snake!

Over 2,800 came throughout the day for our 2013 Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, January 6th to enjoy free crafts, performances & food.

Thanks so much to our volunteer photographers who captured all the fun—Caroline Jung, Russell Kitagawa, Daryl Kobayashi, Richard Murakami, and Tsuneo Takasugi.

Here’s a selection of the many, many photos they took to document the day!

(Click on the images to see the full photos)

 

For more Oshogatsu Family Festival photos, including from the Onigiri Design Contest, check out our photo album on our  JANM Facebook page >>

2013 Oshogatsu Family Festival

Celebrate the New Year & the Year of the Snake with JANM!

Join us on Sunday, January 6 from 11am – 5pm for a BIG day full of family-friendly fun activities, crafts, and cultural performances…and it’s all FREE!

We will have a lot of everyone’s favorite activities, plus Year of the Snake-themed crafts & more!

Here are a few highlights to look forward to:

– Mochitsuki performance & demonstration by Kodama Taiko

– Common Grains returns with the Onigiri Design Contest. Last year, this was so popular that we ran out of rice! This year, we’ll also have a rice tasting and you can purchase different varieties of rice. [Learn about how Common Grains got started in this article by founder Sonoko Sakai on our Discover Nikkei site: Common Grains]

– World-renowned candy artist Shaun Ichiyanagi also returns to make snake sculpture candy! (Everyone can watch, but the candy snakes are for children only & will be raffled off at the start of every hour)

– Learn how to play taiko with Bombu Taiko

– Reptacular Animals presents a Reptile petting zoo! Come meet real snakes and other cool reptiles!

– Special fukubukuro (lucky bag) sale at the Museum Store

Check janm.org/oshogatsufest for full schedule >>

Here are some photos from last year’s Oshogatsu Family Festival taken by volunteer Richard Watanabe:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While you’re here, take advantage of the free admission all-day to check out Giant Robot Biennale 3 before it closes on January 20!

 

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!

It’s our last Target Free Family Saturday of 2011

Bring the family to the Museum this Saturday, December 10th as we finish off the year by designing wrapping paper and making paper snowflakes to go with this chilly weather that we’ve had the past couple of days.

We’re big fans of origami here at the Museum so we’ll also be making origami hopping frogs.  After you fold yours, have a contest with folded frogs made by other visitors to see how far they can hop.

If frogs aren’t your thing, we’ll also have an area for you to sharpen your origami skills making other fun things. Join us for these activities as well as Japanese gift wrapping workshops throughout the day.  A full schedule can be found here.

As an added bonus, if you come on Saturday, you’ll have a chance to join artist Patrick Nagatani at 2:00 pm for a gallery tour of his exhibition Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani currently on view in the Museum’s Weingart Foundation Gallery.

Finishing off 2011, we look ahead to 2012 for another year of family fun, which we hope you’ll join us for.  Our first event of the year is our big Oshogatsu New Year celebration on Sunday, January 8th.  Bring the whole family as we celebrate the Year of the Dragon! [Check out the Oshogatsu Family Day schedule of activities >>]

Come back on February 11th for our next Target Free Family Saturday and then again on March 10th for Target Free Family Day as well as a celebration of the opening of our next exhibition Folding Paper: the Infinite Possibilities of Origami.  See you soon!