Kristi Yamaguchi’s Children’s Day Festival in S.F. Japantown

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Families can celebrate Children's Day by having their kids photographed in kimono.

SAN FRANCISCO —  The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) will present Kristi Yamaguchi’s Children’s Day Festival in Japantown on Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at San Francisco’s Japan Center Peace Plaza (Post and Buchanan). The event is free and open to the public.

An Olympic gold medalist and world champion in figure skating, as well as a winner on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Yamaguchi is a strong supporter of youth programs. She founded the Always Dream Foundation, whose sole purpose is to inspire and embrace the hopes and dreams of children.

Yamaguchi will be signing copies of her new children’s book, “Dream Big, Little Pig!” Children and fans of all ages will have the opportunity to get an autographed copy and to meet an inspirational Japanese American celebrity who overcame many obstacles by adhering to her lifelong motto, “always dream.” She credits her achievements to these two powerful words.

“Dream Big, Little Pig!,” which debuted at the No. 2 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List, follows the journey of Poppy the Pig, who has lots of big dreams. Poppy learns that her dreams are not always easily achieved, but that through believing in herself and having fun at what she does, she can do anything.

The book-signing will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Peace Plaza. Copies may be purchased at the book-signing table or in advance at the JCCCNC, 1840 Sutter St.

The festival will provide an opportunity for youth to experience Japanese culture and celebrate Children’s Day, a national holiday of Japan. Children can participate in hands-on craft activities, snack on arare (rice cracker), popcorn, Spam sushi and other treats hosted by organizations such as Asobi Arts, California Highway Patrol, Clarendon Elementary School, George Washington High School, JCCCNC, Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC), Nakayoshi, Nichi Bei Foundation, Nihonmachi Little Friends Preschool, Nobirukai, Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP), St. Ignatius High School, and Wu Yee Children’s Services.

Throughout the day, special children’s entertainment will be provided by ABC Preschool, Gen Taiko/Clarendon Taiko, Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea, J-town Hui, Kirakiraboshi Choir, Michiya Hanayagi Dance Group, and San Francisco Kendo Association.

Traditional Boys’ Day (Tango no Sekku) and Girls’ Day (Hina Matsuri) doll exhibits will be on display from April 26 to May 7 at the JCCCNC.

For more information, call (415) 567-5505, or visit www.jcccnc.org. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to the JCCCNC.

Kimono Dressing

On Tuesday, April 26; Thursday, April 28; Saturday, April 30; and Tuesday, May 3, the JCCCNC, in conjunction with the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, presents the rare opportunity to dress your child in traditional Japanese clothes. Girls will be dressed in beautiful kimonos and boys will be dressed in traditional hakama (kimono pants) and haori (jacket). Take photos that your family will treasure for a lifetime.

Space is very limited and certain restrictions apply. The fee is $12 per child for JCCCNC members and $20 for non-members. Reservations must be made in advance by calling Jennifer Hamamoto at (415) 567-5505.

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