Summer for JANM Volunteers

During the summer when we have fewer school visitors, the Education Unit runs summer sessions for the volunteers. Here are some quick, recent highlights…

7/22/11 (Last Friday) – Clement led a special tour of his artwork featured in ROUND TRIP: Eight East Los Angeles College Alumni Artists at the newly opened Vincent Price Art Museum at East LA College. Standing in front of his low-rider rickshaw with “Yo No Soy Chino” written on it, we thought about Clement’s experiences growing up Japanese American in East LA.

7/29/11 (Today) – Frank Kawana was interviewed by his grandson, Cole, about being a second generation maker of kamaboko. Frank, possibly the only person on the mainland who can do it by hand, showed us HOW TO MAKE KAMABOKO. (Haven’t you always wondered how this is done?) Cole conducted an interview that was absolutely fascinating, even to a vegetarian like me.

It was eaten up so quickly that Clement’s picture of the last slice is the only photographic evidence we have. Those who were lucky enough to taste it said Frank’s fresh kamaboko was even better than what you buy in the store. So when you have Yamasa kamaboko, think of the Kawanas. More info about the interview—as well as tips on how to do an interview of your own—will be available shortly on our Discover Nikkei Web site.

7/29/11 (Today) – While Lynn was leading the volunteers on a tour of JANM’s current exhibition Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, the artist himself, stopped by. He gave us even more insight into the making of Usagi Yojimbo.

As Richard M. (who gets most of the photo credits on this post) said, “We really hit the jackpot today.”

Ever thought about volunteering for the Museum and joining in on the fun???

A Word From One of This Summer’s Getty Interns

And with each summer brings a new opportunity…

June gloom is finally beginning to burn off, and all my school friends are enjoying the break tanning on the beautiful Santa Barbara beach by day and partying by night.  I, instead, sit typing at my internship desk, with loaned keyboard, computer, and office space.  My days are filled with waking up earlier than I have in years, falling asleep, against my will, exhausted, the moment I get home, battling the 110 north, and having the time of my life at the National Museum.

My name is Alyctra Matsushita.  I’m going to be a senior at University of California, Santa Barbara (go Gauchos!), studying English and Asian American Studies.  I’m also the Japanese American National Museum’s Media Arts Intern, one of three undergraduate students commissioned for ten weeks to intern at the Museum by courtesy of the Getty Museum.

I’ve been here less than two weeks, but I’ve already learned so much.  I’ve met the huge multitude of volunteers–some of them several times over.  It feels like every time I walk into a room, I’m introduced to a new crop.  Even though there are gaggles of them, they’re each personable and kind—in the mornings they offer the interns coffee cake and other treats, they have potlucks and snacks, and every one has dozens of stories, from war memories and tales that they share willingly with my fellow interns, to gardening secrets and other gossip secretly whispered to more trusted fellow docents.

In the last two weeks, I’ve also learned more than I ever even knew existed about the multimedia world.  I’ve gotten to cut and edit tape to be used for the Discover Nikkei website—as a self-proclaimed Asian American Studies nerd, this was especially exciting because I’ve explored the site multiple times for both academic research, as well as recreation.  To see the behind the scenes work involved after exploring the site myself was especially satisfying.  I also did my first solo shoot—a book party with testimonials from the Japanese Americans from Lompoc!

All in all, the first two weeks have gone by quickly.  Getting the hang of things the first couple of days was a bit wracking, but now that I know what’s what, things are smooth sailing.  I’m very excited for the next eight weeks, and can only imagine the fun they will bring!

Helen Yasuda, Irene Nakagawa, & Kirby Tanimura

2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards

The Japanese American National Museum held its 2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards breakfast on June 10 and honored six volunteers for their dedication and excellent service to the Museum, its visitors and supporters. Recognition was also given to volunteers for length of service, including the presentation of the first 25 Years of Service pin to Masako Murakami.

The Museum’s Volunteer Recogntion Awards event is unique in that the recipients do not know they have been chosen for their awards. Only the committee members and Museum staff know the names of the recipients.  Museum staff make the presentations and all work very hard to describe the merits of the awardee without revealing his or her name.

The highlight of the event each year is the presentation of the Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award, the highest honor given to a volunteer, for exceptional contributions to the Museum. Miki Tanimura was a member of the Museum’s original board in the 1980s and she was in charge of the volunteers. She and her husband were killed in a plane accident.  All of their children (Kirby, Teri, Lori and Cheri) attended this ceremony. Kirby spoke for the family and 2009 Tanimura Award recipient Helen Yasuda made the presentation this year. The 2010 recipient (and much to her surprise) was Irene Nakagawa.

Community Awards were given to Fujiko Takeda, who could not attend, and Ruthie Kitagawa. Julia Murakami received the Administration Award, while Wayne Iwahashi was presented the Program Award. James and Midori Uyeda, recipients of the Museum Family Spirit Award, had to be lured to the event by their relative, George Takei, Chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees. The Uyedas were not intending to come to the event, so Museum personnel told them that it was George who was going to receive a surprise award.

Masako Murakami (2nd to left) received a 25 years of volunteer service pin from Akemi Kikumura Yano (President & CEO) and George Takei & Manabi Hirasaki (Board members)
Allyson Nakamoto and Wayne Iwahashi
Allyson Nakamoto presented the Program Award to Wayne Iwahashi
Akemi Kikumura Yano and Ruthie Kitagawa
Akemi Kikumura Yano presented the Community Award to Ruthie Kitagawa. Ruthie is our resident origami expert!

 

Darryl Mori & Julia Murakami
Darryl Mori presented the Administration Award to Julia Murakami
Lynn Yamasaki, James Uyeda, Midori Uyeda, Brad Altman, & George Takei
Lynn Yamasaki, Brad Altman, & George Takei presented the Family Spirit Award to James & Midori Uyeda

 

Helen Yasuda, Irene Nakagawa, & Kirby Tanimura
Helen Yasuda (2009 Tanimura Awardee) & Kirby Tanimura presented the 2010 Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award to Irene Nakagawa

 Thanks to Nobuyuki Okada for the photos & thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers for their dedication & commitment to the museum!

Article about JANM Volunteers – Henry & Helen Yasuda

Henry & Helen Yasuda's wedding photo, 1954
Henry & Helen Yasuda's wedding photo, 1954

Henry & Helen Yasuda are two of the Museum’s very dedicated volunteers. Henry primarily helps with giving tours to visitors from Japan. Helen is a docent for student groups, works with the community outreach committee, and helps out in many other ways. Last year, Helen received our Miki Tanimura Outstanding Volunteer Award, and recently they joined the Museum’s Legacy Society.

They’re also very committed to their family and very active in other community organizations like the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo, the Yamaguchi Kenjinkai, and the Nikkei Parents’ Day Coalition.

We recently asked volunteer Esther Newman to interview them for our Discover Nikkei website: Henry and Helen Yasuda: Family Values, Nikkei Values

You can also check out more photos of them in the Nikkei Album. The text is in Japanese only, but the album which is about Henry includes some very nice photos of their family:

5 移民を授業する - 日系アメリカ人の記憶から学ぶ: ヘンリー・S・ヤスダ さん

Thanks very much to Henry & Helen for their support of the Museum!