Are you a student in the Los Angeles area? Are you a parent of a student in the Los Angeles area? Have you heard of Los Angeles Summer of Learning? Well this is something that you should definitely know about!
Los Angeles Summer of Learning is a great new initiative that seeks to engage young people with hands-on learning activities at museums, parks, libraries, and other organizations during the summer months. Think of Los Angeles as one giant summer classroom where students can earn digital badges for participating in fun and educational activities throughout the city.
JANM is proud to participate in this initiative with our 2014 Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, August 9th. Students can earn a digital badge by coming to our popular annual summer celebration and checking out an array of traditional Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, talks, workshops, and special events. Admission is FREE all day!
To participate in Los Angeles Summer of Learning, all you have to do is sign up on the website and browse for activities that interest you or your children. You will be on your way to earning digital badges in no time! To get your Natsumatsuri badge, be sure to come to JANM on August 9th and ask for your badge claim code at our survey table.
You can read more about Los Angeles Summer of Learning here.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
Did 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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
While the Museum prepares for Natsumatsuri on Saturday, August 10th, we thought we’d get everyone pumped by putting a spotlight on some of the upcoming activities! Look forward to more of these posts explaining several Natsumatsuri traditions.
Anyone who’s been a regular visitor to Little Tokyo has likely seen—or heard—a taiko group perform. If you haven’t, there will be several chances to at this year’s Natsumatsuri! Museum docent Hal Keimi will be teaching taiko, followed by a performance to cap off the day by the L.A. Matsuri Taiko group.
Taiko, or Japanese drums, have grown into a variety of percussion instruments. Taiko can also refer to the art of Japanese ensemble drumming with many different instruments and performers—specifically known as kumi-daiko. Performances can last from five to 25 minutes.
Taiko in America really began in the 1960s, when the first kumi-daiko group was formed in San Francisco. That first group soon lead to two more, one in San Jose and the other right here in Los Angeles. These three original groups built their own drums, created their own costumes, and wrote their own music.
The ranks swelled and diversified to over 250 groups in North America today, who perform not just at festivals but also in colleges, auditoriums, and movie soundtracks.
Check out this video of LA Matsuri Taiko performing at the Valley Japanese Community Center Obon Festival!
2013 Natsumatsuri Family Festival FREE ALL DAY!
Saturday, August 10, 2013
11AM – 5PM
11:30AM & 12:30PM: Taiko Demonstrations
Taiko is a Japanese American tradition! Learn how to play taiko drums with JANM docent Hal Keimi
4:30PM: Taiko Performance
Enjoy a fun taiko performance by L.A. Matsuri Taiko!
We 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.