New Year’s in Little Tokyo

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Toasting the New Year during a celebration at Weller Court. (Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

Toasting the New Year during a celebration at Weller Court. (Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

Little Tokyo will celebrate the New Year with a series of events starting on Friday.

The Japanese Chamber of Com­merce of Southern California and Japanese Chamber of Commerce Foundation will present “2010 Japa­nese New Year Celebration – Os­hogatsu in Little Tokyo” on Friday, Jan. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Weller Court and Japanese Village Plaza shopping centers.

At the main stage in Weller Court, the opening ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. and programs such as taiko drum performance, koto perfor­mance, calligraphy demonstration, swordsmanship show, folk singing and dancing will follow by 3 p.m.

At food and gift booths in Weller Court, mochitsuki (rice cake pounding), origami demonstration, kite making and others will be shown.

At Japanese Village Plaza stage, taiko drum perfor­mance, folk singing and dancing and other program will take place from 12 – 4 p.m. Stores and restaurants in the shopping center will open on Jan. 1.

For more information, contact JCC, 244 South San Pedro Street, Suite 504, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 262-3067.

JANM Family Festival

The Japanese American National Museum will cel­ebrate the Year of the Tiger with a family festival on Sunday, Jan. 3 from 11 to 5 p.m. Admission to JANM is free that day and open to the public.

Among the activities set will be two taiko (Japanese drumming) groups performing, a hands-on drum circle in which members of the whole family can participate, arts and crafts including making a tiger to celebrate 2010 as the Year of the Tiger, and other New Year’s activities.

Also available is a special workshop by the Sushi Chef Institute, teaching how to make traditional Japa­nese New Year’s food. This workshop requires a fee to participate.

Highlighting the day’s activities will be the appear­ance at 4 p.m. of Kinnara Taiko, the oldest taiko group in Southern California, who will perform their signature shi shi mai. Shi shi mai is the lion dance, used in olden times in Japan to scare pests away from crops or to ward off evil spirits. Kodama Taiko will perform their annual mochitsuki (pounding of sweet rice) ceremony right after Kinnara Taiko.

At 1 p.m., Chef Andy of the Su­shi Chef Institute will teach those who sign up for his workshop how to cook o-zoni, a traditional Japa­nese New Year’s soup with mochi (steamed sweet rice). He will also instruct on how make other mochi desserts. Fees for this workshop are $10 for National Museum members and $15 for non-members. The size of the workshop is limited to 30 people. For more information on the Sushi Chef Institute, go to www. sushischool.net.

Kotohajime at JACCC

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center celebrates with their signature Kotohajima program on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. entitled “Hatsu Egao (First Smile).”

 Japanese archery is a part of JACCC’s Kotohajime.

Japanese archery is a part of JACCC’s Kotohajime.

Performers for Hatsu Egao include Nihon Buyo (traditional Japanese dance) troupeFujima Kansuma Kai, modern western dance from the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute of the Colburn School, Korean dance by the Eung Hwa Kim Korean Dance Company, and live music by Miegishi Issui.

The ritual shooting of the arrow-a purification ceremony-will be performed by IKKYU of the Los Angeles Kyudo Archery Group.

After Hatsu Egao, audience mem­bers are invited to attend the opening reception of the 12th Annual Shikishi Exhibition in the George J. Doizaki Gallery. Shikishi paperboards have been used in Japan since the twelfth century for painting and writing poetry.

Kotohajime tickets: $20 general ad­mission; $18 seniors, students and groups; $15 JACCC members. For information, call (213) 628-2725.

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