Nisei Week Lets the Good Times Roll

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From left: Aaron Takahashi, Rodney Kageyama, Seena Akita and Chris Tashima participate in the “First Bowl.”

From left: Aaron Takahashi, Rodney Kageyama, Seena Akita and Chris Tashima participate in the “First Bowl.”

By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Nisei Week Japanese Festival, the Nisei Week Foundation held its first bowling tournament on Jan. 18 at the X Lanes in Little Tokyo with more than 200 people attending.

Co-chaired by Lauren Kinkade-Wong (2001 Nisei Week Queen) and Silvia Yoshimizu-Yee (2001 First Princess), the tournament was part of a series of Nisei Week events planned this year.

Girls Junior Winner Torri Yoshida (Courtesy Nisei Week Bowling Tournament Committee)

Girls Junior winner Torri Yoshida (Courtesy Nisei Week Bowling Tournament Committee)

Proceeds from the tournament — more than $12,000 — will go to the Nisei Week Foundation and to an annual scholarship awarded by the Japanese American Women’s Giving Circle, a subcommittee of the foundation, to a young woman who has demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy and service for the Japanese American community.

The tournament was dedicated to Robert Chun, better known as Uncle Bobby, a long-time Nisei Week Foundation board member, who passed away on Jan. 10 at the age of 84. He and his wife Marian established the Hospitality Committee and were instrumental in developing relationships with the Hawaii Cherry Blossom Festival, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Japanese Queen Scholarship Organization of Washington, and community queen programs in Chicago and New York.

Following the Junior Tournament for bowlers 18 years old and under, the Adult Tournament started with a “First Bowl” by distinguished community members:

• Actors Aaron Takahashi, Rodney Kageyama and Chris Tashima

• 2014 Nisei Week Queen Tori Nishinaka-Leon, First Princess Lindsey Sugimoto, Miss Tomodachi Ashley Arikawa, Princess Tiffany Hashimoto, Princess Melissa Kozono and Princess Dominique Mashburn

• 1975 Nisei Week Queen Dulcie Ogi Kawata, representing the Nikkei Women Legacy Association

• Jamie Hagiya, former USC basketball star, Miss Tomodachi of the 2010 Nisei Week Court, and CrossFit competitor

• 97.1 AMP Radio DJ Seena Akita, First Princess of the 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom Court

Boys Junior winner Ashton Wong (Courtesy of Jay Ng)

Boys Junior winner Ashton Wong (Courtesy of Jay Ng)

• LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara, Nisei Week Foundation president

• Ellen Endo, president of the Little Tokyo Business Association

• Joyce Nakashima, president of the Japanese American Optimist Club

• Vicky Tsuda-Murakami, communications production manager for the Japanese American National Museum

• Bill Seki, board chairman of Go For Broke National Education Center

• Mike Murase, director of service programs for the Little Tokyo Service Center

• Shin Ito, director of Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches•

• Yoshio Lee Aoki, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California

• Kimberly Hayashi, president of Cold Tofu Improv

• Mickie Okamoto-Tsudama, board chair of Kizuna

Seena Akita, 97.1 AMP Radio DJ and 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom First Princess.

Seena Akita, 97.1 AMP Radio DJ and 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom First Princess.

• Alan Miyatake, owner and photographer of Toyo Miyatake Studios

• Brandon Uchimura, president of USC Nikkei Student Union

Teams represented various community organizations. The bowlers had different levels of experience, with some getting mostly strikes and spares and others mostly gutterballs, but a good time was had by all.

The winners were:

Girls, 10 and Under: Torri Yoshida

Boys, 10 and Under: Ashton Wong

Adult Female Individual: Jazmin Estrada

Adult Male Individual: Greg Kadoguchi

Women’s Team: 2010 Nisei Week Court

Men’s Team: Team MNF

Co-Ed Team: Alley Dawgs

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo (unless otherwise noted)

The 2010 Nisei Week Court was the winning women’s team. From left: Jamie Hagiya, Lani Nishiyama (queen), Christy Sakamoto, Erin Yokomizo and Brynn Nakamoto.

The 2010 Nisei Week Court was the winning women’s team. From left: Jamie Hagiya, Lani Nishiyama (queen), Christy Sakamoto, Erin Yokomizo and Brynn Nakamoto.

Members of the 2005 Nisei Week Court (team name: Old 5). From left: Michelle Ito Hatsushi (and daughter Kaila), Steffanie Tamehiro-Takahashi (and daughter Isla), Kristyn Hayashi.

Members of the 2005 Nisei Week Court (team name: Old 5). From left: Michelle Ito Hatsushi (and daughter Kaila), Steffanie Tamehiro-Takahashi (and daughter Isla), Kristyn Hayashi.

The 2014 Nisei Week Court (form left): Queen Tori Nishinaka-Leon, Princess Melissa Kozono, Princess Dominique Mashburn, Princess Tiffany Hashimoto, Miss Tomodachi Ashley Arikawa, First Princess Lindsey Sugimoto.

The 2014 Nisei Week Court (from left): Queen Tori Nishinaka-Leon, Princess Melissa Kozono, Princess Dominique Mashburn, Miss Tomodachi Ashley Arikawa, Princess Tiffany Hashimoto,  First Princess Lindsey Sugimoto.

The Little Tokyo Service Center team. Standing, from left: Shin Ito, A3M; Jessica Kanai, Social Service; Kevin Oyama, Fiscal; Michi Lew, Admin; Scott Ito, Budokan; Tak Suzuki, Real Estate Development; Mary Huang, former staff; Silvia Yoshimizu, former staff and tournament co-chair; Kim Kawasaki, Budokan. Kneeling: Mike Murase, Budokan and Social Services.

The Little Tokyo Service Center team. Standing, from left: Shin Ito, A3M; Jessica Kanai, Social Service; Kevin Oyama, Fiscal; Michi Lew, Admin; Scott Ito, Budokan; Tak Suzuki, Real Estate Development; Mary Huang, former staff; Silvia Yoshimizu, former staff and tournament co-chair; Kim Kawasaki, Budokan. Kneeling: Mike Murase, Budokan and Social Services.

Cold Tofu Improv’s Team SAJE (from left): Jully Lee, Aaron Takahashi, Elaine Kao, Steve Brady.

Cold Tofu Improv’s Team SAJE (from left): Jully Lee, Aaron Takahashi, Elaine Kao, Steve Brady.

LAPD Deputy Chief and Nisei Week Foundation President Terry Hara and Lauren Kinkade-Wong, 2001 Nisei Week Queen and tournament co-chair.

LAPD Deputy Chief and Nisei Week Foundation President Terry Hara and Lauren Kinkade-Wong, 2001 Nisei Week Queen and tournament co-chair.

Left: The tournament was dedicated to the late "Uncle Bobby" Chun. Right: Kristi Yamaguchi donated items for the silent auction.

Left: The tournament was dedicated to the late “Uncle Bobby” Chun. Right: Kristi Yamaguchi donated items for the silent auction.

From left: Linda Hatakeyama-Nakagawa, 2003 Nisei Week Princess; Tiffany Hattori, 1998 Nisei Week Queen; Joann Cordeiro, 1996 Nisei Week Queen.

From left: Linda Hatakeyama-Nakagawa, 2003 Nisei Week Princess; Tiffany Hattori, 1998 Nisei Week Queen; Joann Cordeiro, 1996 Nisei Week Queen.

Former USC basketball star and 2010 Miss Tomodachi Jamie Haigya.

Former USC basketball star and 2010 Miss Tomodachi Jamie Hagiya.

Actor Kurt Kuniyoshi, a member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

Actor Kurt Kuniyoshi, a member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

From left: Little Tokyo Business Association President Ellen Endo; actress/singer Gina Hiraizumi; actor/filmmaker Chris Tashima.

From left: Little Tokyo Business Association President Ellen Endo; actress/singer Gina Hiraizumi; actor/filmmaker Chris Tashima.

From left: Kimberly Hayashi, 2002 Nisei Week First Princess; Monika Teuffel, 2007 Nisei Week Queen; Nicole Cherry-Yu, 2003 Nisei Week Queen.

From left: Kimberly Hayashi, 2002 Nisei Week First Princess; Monika Teuffel, 2007 Nisei Week Queen; Nicole Cherry-Yu, 2003 Nisei Week Queen.

2014 Nisei Week Queen Tori Nishinaka-Leon and Japanese American Optimist Club President Joyce Nakashima.

2014 Nisei Week Queen Tori Nishinaka-Leon and Japanese American Optimist Club President Joyce Nakashima.

Members of the Japanese American National Museum team (from left): Mia Monnier, Vicky Murakami-Tsuda, Sylvia Lopez, Vedette Philip. Not pictured: Evan Kodani.

Members of the Japanese American National Museum team (from left): Mia Monnier, Vicky Murakami-Tsuda, Sylvia Lopez, Vedette Philip. Not pictured: Evan Kodani.

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