KRAFTY KORNER: Shoppers, Get Ready


By Gail Miyasaki
Rafu Craft Editor


Chunky handmade lamp work beads make up an eclectic lime green bracelet designed by Gregg and Barbara Nakao of Redding. (Courtesy of Meiji Designs)

Welcome September! School’s back in. The telltale clue is the bump-up in traffic and minor fender-benders everywhere you go.

Who turned the heat on? Enjoy these belated days of summer weather while it lasts. Expect cooler days on the horizon.

That means autumn must be sneaking around the corner. Listen carefully, you just might hear sounds of ghosts, turkeys and a faint “ho-ho-ho!”

As seasons change, there is definitely an urge to shop. Whether it’s a sale rack, a discount coupon, free shipping or just window shopping—bargains are out there for those who dare to care.

Take my dare. Make it a point to attend an Asian arts and crafts show and spend some of your hard earned money. Add it to your go-to list along with those foodie spots that you’re dying to try. Let me know about your experience.

So many imaginative and talented craftspeople gather to share their quality wares at these fall and winter shows, from Cali to Washington. Absolutely cool stuff, many with an Asian twist and good prices—unique giftables, wearables and edibles certainly not seen in mainstream zines and stores.

Use that phone app to keep your gift list handy or scribble it down on real paper. Think of it as a work in progress—add to or delete, as you take care of business. With this roller coaster of an economy, planning ahead can help save your sanity and cash flow.

Shoppers, here we go! The first show of the fall/winter season kicks off in the San Francisco Bay Area. Midori Kai, a non-profit group of JA professional gals, hosts their 11th annual fundraiser that gives back to NoCal non-profits.

With one lucky $5 raffle ticket, three winners will walk away with a vintage haori, handmade quilt or original woodblock print. Chow down while being entertained by the Lotus preschoolers and hula dancers, all at the Mt. View Buddhist Temple gym.

Be dazzled by the glass art pieces from Gregg and Barbara Nakao of Meiji Designs, an eight-year-old business with one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces accented with Swarovski crystals.

The process starts with Gregg, a speech pathologist by day, who fell into a lamp work bead-making class. Knowing that the required tools are a gas torch and flame, Barbara deferred to Gregg, who realized that he’s good at it.

“Working with glass is in itself very interesting and beautiful,” he said. “The variety of beads that can be made is endless, only limited by one’s creativity.”

Head back to the 19th century where glass bead-making started. A labor-intensive technique, the maker melts down a narrow glass rod with a torch, then that thread is spun around a metal rod. When the base bead is formed, other colors of glass are added, one-by-one, to create unique patterns.

Trends? That’s what Barbara is all about. She’s keen on what’s in and knows what she likes—yea, she’s a shopper! With a flair for color combos, this retired teacher takes Gregg’s beads up a notch. As they travel abroad to places like Australia and Asia, she makes mental notes of colors, designs and shapes.

Shoppers, make it a point to clip this list out and keep it handy.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Midori Kai Arts And Crafts

Mt. View Buddhist Temple Gym
575 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mt. View
925-596-1770, Phyllis Osaki

Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
UJCC Asian Craft & Food Faire
United Japanese Christian Church
136 N. Villa Ave., Clovis
559-322-0701, Vivian Takeuchi

Saturday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Jan Ken Po Gakko Arts & Crafts Fair
Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation
9040 High Tech Ct., Elk Grove
408-839-6023, Renee Kumamoto

Saturday, Oct. 1, 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. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kokoro Craft Affair
Japanese American National Museum
369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles
213-625-0414, ext 2222

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

Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Crafty Foxes Holiday Boutique
Joan Pisani Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave., Saratoga
408-356-2764, Carol Yuki

Sunday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites Fall Boutique #1
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Oct. 30, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
WLA JACL Aki Matsuri Boutique
Venice Japanese Community Center
12448 Braddock Dr., Culver City
310-936-3182, Marisa Tamaru

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 4-6, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Touch of Nature Home & Holiday Décor Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
909-594-5964, Lily Saito

Saturday, Nov. 12 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Japantown Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose
408-888-8798, Gail Sugiura Bush

Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Avenue So., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
imaginAir Crafts Boutique
Toyota Meeting Hall
3330 Civic Center Dr. North, Torrance
310-719-8697, Deanna Takahashi

Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites Christmas Boutique #2
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
St. Mary’s Christmas Boutique
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
963 S. Mariposa, Los Angeles
213-215-3883, Fifi Newcomb

Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kimochi’s Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire
The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St., San Francisco
415-931-2294, Sakura Suzuki

Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
A Time for Sharing Christmas Boutique
Gardena Elks Lodge
1735 W. 162nd St., Gardena
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama



  1. Please come to the Pasadena Buddhist Women’s Association craft fair, CRAFTASTIC, Sat. Oct. 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 20+ vendors, free admission and parking. Our new cookbook also on sale! 1993 Glen Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103.

  2. Great original craft with Japanese flair along with tasty food to eat while shopping or to go. Please come to Kiku Craft and Food Fair presented by West Covina Buddhist Temple on Sunday November 6, 2011, 10am -3pm at the East San Gabriel Japanese Community Center Gym 1203 Puente Rd. West Covina Ca. Raffle on the hour.

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