Celebrate the Holidays in Little Tokyo

Committee members prepare for the 11th annual Christmas Cheer fundraising program at the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) office in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, October 3, 1958. Photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio. Published in the Rafu Shimpo, December 5, 1958. Japanese American National Museum, Gift of the Alan Miyatake Family.

The Japanese American National Museum sits in the heart of Little Tokyo, a fact that we who work at the museum have always been very proud of. Rich in history and yet filled with hip stores, cafes, and restaurants, the neighborhood dynamically bridges past and present, offering a memorable experience for shoppers, diners, and history buffs alike.

The holidays are a great time to come to Little Tokyo, and Go Little Tokyo has come up with this handy Holiday Guide to help you sort through all the choices. You can download it from their website to get a head start on planning, or you can just pick one up when you’re in the neighborhood. We have a stack of them at our front desk!

New Year’s is a big deal here in Little Tokyo, so be sure to check out some of the festivities that will be happening nearby. Again, Go Little Tokyo has helpfully assembled an online calendar for your convenience. And of course, don’t forget about JANM’s own annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, January 7—one of the museum’s biggest and most beloved family day events!

As if you needed any more incentive, Go Little Tokyo is also holding a FREE DRAWING for a gift basket filled with $250 worth of treasures from Little Tokyo. To enter, just make a purchase at any of our neighborhood stores or restaurants between now and January 31, 2018. Snap a photo of your receipt and email it to info@golittletokyo.com. One entry per receipt from a Little Tokyo business. We can’t tell you what’s in the rest of the basket, but we can whet your appetite with the contribution from the JANM Store, pictured below.

The Go Little Tokyo gift basket contains not one but TWO of these Usagi Yojimbo tea cups, featuring the iconic Stan Sakai character, from the JANM Store and janmstore.com.

Happy holidays and see you soon!

Welcome the Holidays with JANM!

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are now upon us. Thanksgiving is only a week away, and after that, it will be just a few short weeks until Christmas.

The JANM Store is always a great place to shop for the holidays, but this year the store has even more on offer than usual. Read on for details on all of our upcoming store events, which provide unique shopping options for all gift hunters.

This coming weekend (November 18–19), the JANM Store is hosting a Pre-Holiday Trunk Show featuring beautiful scarves, shawls, and accessories from Japanese textiles company NUNO and elegant, one-of-a-kind jewelry from LA–based designer Hisano Shepherd. Read our fascinating interview with Hisano, then come and peruse special products that you won’t find anywhere else. JANM members receive a 10% discount!

Then on November 24–26 (Thanksgiving weekend!), it will be time for our annual Holiday MADness (Member Appreciation Days) weekend, when all JANM members get a 20% discount at the JANM Store, janmstore.com, and other participating museum stores. Click here for complete details.

This year’s edition of Holiday MADness will be packed with special extras. On Saturday, November 25, Citron Clothing returns for another trunk show featuring their stylish and timeless apparel, made from the finest fabrics. (Note: member discounts do not apply to Citron products.)

And on Sunday, November 26, the JANM Store will be a proud participant in the Museum Store Association’s first ever Museum Store Sunday, a global event designed to highlight the unique retail experiences that only museum stores can provide. To celebrate, the store will be extending a 10% discount to anyone who shows a valid membership card from any museum, not just those participating in Holiday MADness. In addition, we will welcome award-winning children’s book author Allen Say at 2 p.m. for a book signing to celebrate the release of his new book, Silent Days, Silent Dreams. Members and Holiday MADness participants, purchase your copy at the store that weekend and get 20% off the cover price!

Finally, last but not least, we are celebrating Hello Kitty’s birthday all month with special discounts of up to 40% on selected Hello Kitty products. Perfect for stocking stuffers!

Enjoy your holiday shopping and please be mindful of our Holiday Shipping Deadlines.

December Target Free Family Saturday Highlights

Picture Frames

JANM’s Winter Wonderland-themed Target Free Family Saturdays event on December 14, was jam-packed with holiday activities!

From taking pictures with Asian American Santa, decorating picture frames, making a cereal snack, taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, and enjoying a kamishibai winter-time story, our guests were able to get into the holiday spirit!

Check out these photos from December’s Target Free Family Saturday (click on the photos to see them larger):

 

Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts is on view at JANM through March 2, 2014. For more details about the exhibition, visit: janm.org/goforbroke

If you like food, cultural activities, and entertainment, mark your calendar for JANM’s annual Oshogatsu Family Festival, coming up on Sunday, January 5, 2014 from 11AM – 5PM! It’s FREE ALL DAY!

Our next Target Free Family Saturdays event will be on be on February 8, 2014 from 11AM – 4PM. You won’t want to miss a day of making music with KoAloha Ukulele as they lead performances, workshops, crafts, and all things ukulele! For details, visit: janm.org/target

Photo Credits: Tsuneo Takasugi, Caroline Jung, and Esther Shin.

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.

 

 

 

Mochitsuki: A New Year’s Tradition

Crafts with FamilyOn Sunday, January 5th, celebrate the New Year and the Year of the Horse at our Oshogatsu Family Festival from 11AM to 5PM.

Ring in the New Year with a fun-filled day of arts ‘n crafts, food, exciting cultural activities, and performances! FREE ALL DAY!

One of the traditional Japanese customs that JANM will be celebrating is mochitsuki—the pounding of mochi or rice cakes, which is essential to the “Oshogatsu” or New Year’s celebration.

Kodama Taiko Mochitsuki 4Mochitsuki is an annual custom kept by many Japanese American households and communities. It is traditionally an all-day event which requires many hands, long hours, and physical labor, but is also a time of fellowship and socializing with friends and family.

Mochitsuki usually begins the day before, with the washing of the mochigome (sweet glutinous rice) and is left to soak overnight in large kettles or tubs. Early the next morning the mochigome is ready to be steamed in the seiro—wooden steaming frames. Three or four seiro are stacked one on top of the other and placed over a kettle of boiling water.

Kodama Taiko Mochitsuki 2After the rice is cooked, it is dumped into the usu, or mortar, made from a wood stump, stone or concrete form. The hot cooked rice in the usu is pounded with a kine or wooden mallet. With enthusiasm and force, the mochi is pounded until the mass of rice is smooth and shiny, with no discernible individual grains of rice. An essential participant in the pounding is the person assisting who quickly darts his or her hand into the usu and turns the rice before the next rhythmic pound.

Mochi Samples

The smooth, consistent mass of mochi is turned onto a cloth or paper covered table, already spread with a thin layer of mochiko (sweet rice flour). This makes the sticky mass easier to handle. An adept person pinches off small portions of the steaming hot mochi for others, who quickly form them into flattened bun shapes with their hands. The formed mochi is then set aside to cool and is ready to eat.

Kodama Taiko Mochitsuki 5

 

Be sure to visit JANM on Sunday, January 5th 2014 to watch Kodama Taiko perform their unique Mochitsuki performance at 2:30PM or 4PM. Watch as Kodama Taiko combine the age-old tradition of pounding mochi (sweet rice) with the sounds of taiko. This energetic performance is customary during the Japanese New Year’s Oshogatsu. Then stick around to sample the delicious mochi afterwards!

 

For more information on JANM’s 2014 Oshogatsu Family Festival and the complete schedule, please visit: janm.org/oshogatsufest2014

We hope to see you there!

* * * * *

Check out these stories about mochitsuki on our Discover Nikkei site:

Mochitsuki Tradition: Mochi Making the Old School Way (San Francisco, CA)
By Soji Kashiwagi

Mochitsuki: Taking the (rice) cake (Michigan)
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Mochitsuki (Toronto, ON, Canada)
By April Sora

PHOTOS: Celebrating Mochi-Tsuki Mochi Day in Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Chicago Japanese American Historial Society

VIDEO: Mochitsuki at Heart Mountain (Wyoming)
B&W home movie footage of mochitsuki taken at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming during WWII. From the Naokichi Hashizume Collection at JANM.

Photos by Daryl Kobayashi, Richard Murakami, Russell Kitagawa, Tsuneo Takasugi, and Caronline Jung.

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 >>

New Year's mochi by Hisako Hibi

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Healthy & Happy New Year from the Japanese American National Museum!

New Year's mochi by Hisako Hibi
"New Year's mochi" by Hisako Hibi. Hisako Hibi Collection (99.63.2)

 

This image is from JANM’s permanent collection. It’s a painting by artist Hisako Hibi and features a still-life of kagami mochi / okasane.

On the back is this inscription:

Hisako Hibi. Jan 1943 at Topaz. Japanese without mochi (pounded sweet rice) is no New Year! It was very sad oshogatsu (New Year). So, I painted okazari mochi in the internment camp.

Our cultural traditions bring our families & communities together, and has the power to give us comfort.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from everyone at JANM!

Gift of Mine Okubo Estate (2007.62.155)

 

This image from the Mine Okubo Collection in our archives shows a family gathered around a cast iron stove to celebrate their first Christmas in camp. It is one of the drawings by artist Mine Okubo used for her book Citizen 13660 which shares life inside the Tanforan Assembly Center and Topaz concentration camp during World War II.

It reminds us that in tough times, it’s still important to come together and celebrate with family & friends. Kodomo no tame ni. For the sake of our children, we must continue on.

Wishing you & your loved ones a Happy & Healthy Holidays!

‘Tis the season to come on down to JANM for our last Target Free Family Saturday of 2012!

Phew!  It’s been a busy year full of family fun and we’re ending 2012 with festive holiday performances and activities this Saturday, December 8th.  Hope you’re ready to join us.

For our craft activities we’ll be making garland, wintery scenes, and of course our friend Ruthie will be ready to fold origami with you all.

There will be cookies, a photo booth, storytelling, and more!  Take a look at the full program for the day here.

As I get materials ready for Saturday, I look at the shelves of our supply closet and see traces of all the various activities we’ve done over the past few years.  Besides realizing that it’s probably time to do a big clean-up job in here (yikes!), I am also reminded of all the fantastic creativity we’ve seen from JANM’s family day visitors.  Pieces of cardboard, bits of yarn, and piles of wiggly eyes have been transformed into some amazing and unique robots, masks, puppets, bags… the list goes on and on!

You are all wonderful and you keep us inspired and excited about what we do here at JANM!  Thank you to all who have joined us for Target Free Family Saturdays.  We hope to see you this coming Saturday and next year for Oshogatsu and another year of family day fun!