JANM’s Annual Oshogatsu Family Festival Set for Jan. 5

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The Japanese American National Museum (JANM), 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo, will hold its annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, Jan. 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The New Year’s celebration will include free crafts, performances, and cultural activities for all ages to help ring in the Year of the Rat.

Oshogatsu is one of Japan’s longest and most important holidays. Although Oshogatsu originally referred to the whole month of January, most people associate it with the first three days (sanga nichi) of the month.

Highlights of the festival will include demonstrations of the ancient art of candy sculpting, sample bowls of lucky zaru soba , a performance by Los Angeles-based TaikoProject, and a mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration with Kodama Taiko.

JANM’s 2020 Oshogatsu Family Festival is sponsored by MUFG Union Bank, N.A.; City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs; Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; and The Nissan Foundation. Media sponsor: The Rafu Shimpo.

All-Day Activities

• Learn to fold origami rats and make them into pins, as well as make rat-and-cheese finger puppets and 2020 vision magnets.

• Transform into your favorite zodiac animal, or anything of your choosing, at the face-painting booth.

• Surround yourself with plush rat and mice toys at the Mouse House. Year of the Rat coloring sheets will also be available in this area.

• Fun props will be available to pose for souvenir photos taken by Nerdbot Photo Booth.

• Kids can explore JANM’s exhibitions with a Year of the Rat-themed scavenger hunt for a chance to win a candy sculpture created by Shan Ichiyanagi (Shan the Candyman) through a kids’ raffle. While supplies last. Limit one raffle ticket per child. Members receive two chances to win a prize.

• Toddlers can have fun or relax with an adult who brought them in the JANM Toddler Room. The animated Disney-Pixar film “Ratatouille” will be screening there throughout the day.

Fukubukuro (lucky grab bags) will be available for purchase at the JANM Store.

JANM’s Oshogatsu is an event for the whole family. (MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Scheduled Activities

• 11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Kidding Around the Kitchen will offer free sample bowls of lucky zaru soba (buckwheat noodles) to bring good health in the new year (while supplies last). Kids can top the soba with their choice of tofu, vegetables, and nori.

• 11 a.m.–5 p.m.: Shan Ichiyanagi (Shan the Candyman) will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting, as he makes candy in the shape of rats, mice, and other animals of the Asian zodiac. Finished pieces will be offered as prizes for the Kids’ Raffle noted above.

• 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.: Sample a selection of osechi-ryori, traditional Japanese New Year’s foods, including various sweets and vegetables, and learn about what each dish means.

• 12 p.m.: Join JANM volunteers for a traditional Japanese visual and interactive storytelling of how the zodiac calendar came to be and learn how the rat outsmarted everyone and won the race to be first in the cycle.

• 1:15 p.m.: The award-winning group TaikoProject will perform a lively demonstration of their unique and contemporary audience participation style of taiko.

• 2 p.m.: Story Time will feature a reading of “Thank You Very Mochi,” a children’s book written by Paul Matsushima, Sophie Wang, and Craig Ishii and published by Kizuna, a Japanese American youth organization. Matsushima and Wang will do the reading and sign books afterwards.

• 2:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.: Kodama Taiko will present its unique mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration, which incorporates taiko drumming. Mochi samples will be available while supplies last.

JANM members enjoy special benefits at Oshogatsu Family Festival. These include express lines at some activities and reserved seating at the Story Time readings.

Admission to all exhibitions are free during the festival. These include “Common Ground: The Heart of Community,” “Under a Mushroom Cloud: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Atomic Bomb,” and “Fighting for Democracy: Who Is the ‘We’ in ‘We, the People’?”

For more information and to RSVP, call (213) 625-0414 or visit http://janm.org/oshogatsufest2020. Attendees who RSVP in advance and show their tickets at the JANM membership table during the festival will be entered in a drawing to win a one-year Family/Dual Level membership.

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