Swaying with the Sakura

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hulaThe East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center and the City of West Covina held the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival on March 29 at a new venue — the parking lot of South Hills Plaza, an outdoor mall that includes a Marukai supermarket. An estimated 3,000 people attended. Entertainment included hula by ESGVJCC Napua Lehua (above and below).

hula2 city officialsParticipants in the opening ceremony included (back row, from left) State Sen. Dr. Ed Hernandez, West Covina Councilmember Mike Spence, West Covina Councilmember Fredrick Sykes, West Covina Mayor Steve Herfert, Marukai Facilities Manager Kenny Enomoto, West Covina Councilmember Corey Warshaw, Community Services Director/Deputy City Manager Chris Freeland, West Covina Police Chief David Faulkner, Assistant City Manager Mike Lee; (front row, from left) West Covina Councilmember James Toma, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, ESGVJCC President Phillip Komai, South Hills Plaza Property Manager Pamela Ozell, West Covina City Manager Christopher Chung, Field Representative Evelyn Reyes (on behalf of Rep. Grace Napolitano), Greater West Covina Business Association President Monica Farias.

kuramoto-cornwellHiroshima’s June Kuramoto and Kimo Cornwell performed on koto and keyboards, respectively.

karateStudents of Eibukan Goju Ryu Karate Do.

kendoMembers of Covina Kendo Dojo face off.

judoDemonstration by West Covina Judo Dojo. West Covina Shinkendo and Aikido performed earlier in the day.

taiko

Kishin Taiko was the final act on the stage.queen-leisure clubLeft: ESGVJCC Queen Melissa Kozono served as emcee. Right: Members of the ESGVJCC Leisure Club were among the volunteers in the booths.

shave iceShave ice, served by West Covina Judo Dojo, was a popular item.

student exchange programMembers of the ESGVJCC Student Exchange Program sold cake and pie.

teriyakiCooking teriyaki was hot work on a hot day.

akitaDogs from the Los Angeles branch of Akitainu Hozonkai (Akiho) drew a lot of attention.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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