KRAFTY KORNER: Shopper’s Choice


Rafu Craft Editor

(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on Sept. 29, 2010)


Shopping vs. major sports?

Looking so dapper is Homie modeling a harness-backpack from designer Jamie Totsubo of Piedmont. (Courtesy of HomieWear4Dogs)

A no-brainer—shopping! Any gal knows that. A cathartic event. A get away from all that endless buzz about football and baseball on TV, on the radio and iPhone app.

Besides, shopping, we love our four-legged animals! Take for instance, Homie, a solid four-pound Yorkie, who inspired owner Jamie Totsubo two years ago to establish HomieWear4Dogs, the official name of her business.

Check out the doggie threads along with people-wear, gift items, home décor and more at the 16th annual Eden Holiday Craft Show up in San Leandro.

Totsubo, a San Francisco Japantown optometrist, delegated son Brian, then a teen, to name their puppy. With two kids now away from home, doggie fashions made from Japanese fabrics have been her thing—machine washable harness/vests, jackets, dresses and towels.

A SoCal gal, Totsubo grew up in the Crenshaw area and learned how to sew in home-ec class. Designing ice skating costumes became her specialty when daughter, Mia, was a young figure skater.

Her wish list is for doggie apparel to walk the runway. Who knows? Animal lovers are known to pamper their pets with designer goods and quality chow. Doggie treats, made by cousin Kimi Maru, will tempt these critters.

On the L.A. radar: Westside Pavilion’s newest store is the popular cookie merchant, Kelley’s Kookies!

Jimmy Ly at the new Kelley’s Kookies store he launched earlier this month at L.A.’s Westside Pavilion. (GAIL MIYASAKI/Rafu Shimpo)

With a choice spot on the third level close to Nordstrom’s, your favs are all there. Chocolate chip. Chocolate dipped shortbread. Melting moments. Then, venture across the bridgeway to the Landmark Theatre, an upscale movie house with assigned seating, lounge area, even a bar.

Concept oriented, USC business grad Jimmy Ly, has taken this ever-popular cookie brand within the JA community up a notch. The refreshing new look is contemporary—green and white décor, packaging, bags and bows.

Great news! Those cookies that we’ve all come to love remain the same. The original cookie innovator, Marcella Onishi, started it all back in 1988. Now with a behind-the-scenes role, the tradition of yummy cookies, natural ingredients and friendly service continues.

Kelley’s Kookies keeps a presence at the Asian arts and crafts shows and several markets in the South Bay. Move over Mrs. Field’s!

In J-town, the Kokoro Craft Affair takes place on Sunday at the Japanese American National Museum. Hosted by Friends of the Museum, find kimono fabric fashions plus kokeshi and origami art for starters.

Soft handcrafted dolls by Hiroshima’s Satomi Yamamoto show grandma and granddaughter playing “Cat’s Cradle.” (Courtesy of Minori Doll)

Flying in from Hiroshima is Satomi Yamamoto with her Japanese folk art dolls. Each one is unique—she individually assigns a Japanese name, birthday, even blood type. In the past 10 years, over 500 dolls have found homes.

Yamamoto learned how to sew from her dressmaker mom. After working in interior design, she wanted to be self-sufficient. Combining her love of sewing, wearing kimono, and bingo kasuri kimono fabric, doll making was the answer.

The pricey kasuri material is a local product. Bamboo and zori materials come from Kyushu.

Who’s buying these soft fabric dolls sold mostly in Japan? Up until now, the majority are over 50 years old. The fact that $220 is the starting price for one doll is a determining factor. Workmanship and appeal are obvious, so more So Cal folk art collectors will be in the mix for a L.A. connection.

Info? Call the event coordinator.

Saturday, Oct. 2, 12-8 p.m.
Aki Matsuri Fall Festival
East San Gabriel Valley
Japanese Community Center
1203 W. Puente Ave.,
West Covina
(626) 960-2566, Pearl Omiya

Saturday, Oct. 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Eden Holiday Craft Show
Marina Community Center
15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro
(510) 471-8052, Karen Valerio

Sunday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kokoro Craft Affair
(Friends of the Museum)
Japanese American
National Museum
369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles
(213) 625-0414, ext. 2222,
Janet Maloney

Saturday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
SEJSCC Holiday Boutique
(Hawaiian-Style Pancake
Breakfast 7-11 a.m.)
Southeast Japanese School
and Community Center
14615 Gridley Rd., Norwalk
(714) 847-1173, Edna Kurihara

Saturday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Crafty Foxes Holiday Boutique
Saratoga Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave., Saratoga
408-356-2764, Carol Yuki

Sunday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites #1
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 5-7,
Sat.-Sun., Nov. 12, 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Touch of Nature Home
and Holiday Décor Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
(909) 594-5964, Lily Saito

Saturday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
JAMsj Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose
(408) 294-3138, Mimi Suga

Sunday, Nov. 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Holiday Crafts Faire
Gedatsu Church
7850 Hill Dr., So. San Gabriel
(626) 572-0923, Judy Hamamoto

Saturday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Ave. So., Seattle, WA
(425) 827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
(626) 282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
(562) 865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Saturday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
imaginAir Crafts Boutique
Torrance Cultural Arts Center
3550 Civic Center Dr., Torrance
(310) 719-8697, Deanna Takahashi


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