It’s Almost Tanabata Time

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Past participants encouraged to donate unused washi paper.

From left: Brian Kito, Little Tokyo Public Safety Association president; Paul Abe, Union Bank vice president and branch manager, Union Bank; Masumi Muya, Los Angeles Tanabata Festival 2015 chair; George Tanaka, Union Bank managing director and head of retail specialized markets; Nancy Okubo, Union Bank vice president and market sales and support specialist. Muya presented a plaque to Union Bank for its corporate sponsorship of the festival.

From left: Brian Kito, Little Tokyo Public Safety Association president; Paul Abe, Union Bank vice president and branch manager, Union Bank; Masumi Muya, Los Angeles Tanabata Festival 2015 chair; George Tanaka, Union Bank managing director and head of retail specialized markets; Nancy Okubo, Union Bank vice president and market sales and support specialist. Muya presented a plaque to Union Bank for its corporate sponsorship of the festival.

This year, the seventh annual L.A. Tanabata Festival will be held on Aug. 14 -17 in Little Tokyo.

The festival will offer arts and crafts, traditional Japanese festival foods, games and live entertainment on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15 and 16. Opening ceremony will be held on Friday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m. The festival features hundreds of gigantic kazari (traditional paper ornaments) hung in front of MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art, at the Geffen) on Central Avenue and First Street.

“The L.A. Tanabata Festival committee invites everyone to make a kazari to participate in the festival this year. ‘Heart and Soul’ is this year’s theme in tribute to Nancy Kikuchi, a long-time committee member,” said Brian Kito, president of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association.

One added event for beginners is the “green project” of reusing washi paper. Participants are asked to bring in their unused paper that they are not planning to use, to help lower the cost for the first-timers. Donors can bring in the paper before June 7.

Workshops are held every Saturday in June to help first-timers and to show all the new washi paper from Japan. Check the website for the full workshop schedule through August, which is subject to change.

Volunteers are needed to put on this event every year. If you and family members or friends would like to help, come to the first volunteer recruiting meeting on Saturday, June 13, at 2 p.m. at the Little Tokyo Koban, 307 E. First St.

For high school students that would like to do some community service, letters of volunteerism will be issued.

For more information, visit www.tanabatalosangeles.org/ or call the Little Tokyo Koban at (213) 613-1911. The Koban is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 pm.

The festival is presented by the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association/Koban, Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California, and Nisei Week Japanese Festival.

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