Outside of the Los Angeles Okinawan community, the Okinawa Association of America Inc. (OAA) may be best known for its Uchinaaguchi class and of course its andagi (also referred to as “Okinawa dango”). South Bay residents often flood and buy out the andagi booths at Obon festivals and the OAA’s annual October Bazaar, a reaction that the OAA hopes to achieve with its upcoming Spring Concert & Fundraiser on Sunday, April 21. Admission is free.
The event will benefit OAA’s weekly computer classes and the Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival (Wakamono Taikai) on July 18-21. The Wakamono Taikai can be best described as a four-day conference for “next generation” Uchinanchu (Okinawans) ranging from 18 to 35 years old, with programs that emphasize Uchinanchu identity, strengthen the global Okinawa community, and explore ways in which the younger generations can keep alive Okinawan traditions, arts, history, and languages.
At the event, the OAA will be selling homemade andagi as well as Okinawa soba and taco rice (literally taco ingredients over rice; a popular cross-cultural dish in Okinawa). Another highlight will be a lunchtime entertainment line-up of young performers to promote the “next generation” theme of the Wakamono Taikai, featuring: Yoshiaki Chinen (sanshin), Choichi Kai L.A. (sanshin), Shigeru/William Logan (jazz instrumental), Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko L.A. (eisa/taiko), Ai Teshima (hula and Polynesian dance), and traditional dancers Sayuri Kinjo, Amy Ono, and Akiko Yamauchi.
The OAA will also have the pleasure of hosting local artists from F*ART (Free + Art), hula students from Hickory Elementary, and guest performers from San Diego: Ashley/Brandon Arashiro (karate) and San Diego Warabi Eisa (eisa/taiko). Performances are subject to change.
The Spring Concert & Fundraiser will be held at the OAA Center, 16500 S. Western Ave., Gardena, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m (entertainment begins at 11). Admission is free. The OAA highly recommends pre-ordering andagi ($3 for 2) and Okinawa soba ($7) because these items tend to sell out quickly. Tented tables and chairs will be available for eating during the entertainment program. Contact the OAA at [email protected] or (310) 532-1929 to place orders.