‘Beautiful Rice’ at Japan House Los Angeles

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“Beautiful Rice: For a Sustainable Future,” a fun and educational exploration of rice cultivation traditions in Asia over the last thousand years, is on view through Oct 19 at Japan House Los Angeles, 6801 Hollywood Blvd. (at Highland), Level 5, Hollywood.

Visitors learn how the flow of materials and resources connect humans with nature, and they are then asked to think about questions of sustainability in the future.

The round centerpiece of the exhibit is an interactive guide through the stages of rice production. It shows how rice cultivation traditions throughout Asia, including Japan, have created bonds between people and nature via the four stages of “receive,” “produce,” “eat,” and “return.”

Various activities involved in rice cultivation, such as irrigating a rice paddy, or growing legume plants and mixing them with soil, are illustrated through models. Behind that, the flow of materials and resources is explained from a scientific perspective.

”Beautiful Rice” also illustrates various folk customs, such as typical table settings from around Asia. The side panels provide in-depth information and invite visitors to think about how we can employ technology to carry on the tradition of delicious rice into the future.

Planning and production for this exhibition was provided by Miraikan – the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Originally produced at Miraikan in November 2017, “Beautiful Rice” was conceived to coincide with the 2017 Science Center World Summit, held for the first time in Asia that year.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed for private event on Oct. 18 from 12 to 6 p.m. Free admission.

For more information, visit www.japanhouse.jp/losangeles/.

Related events:

• Koda Farms presentation and onigiri workshop on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Koda Farms is a family run-farm that has innovated rice-cultivation technology since the 1920s, and now proudly offers several brands of rice, including their famed Kokuho Rose. Founded by Keisaburo Koda, who emigrated to California in 1908, Koda Farms is still owned and operated by the grandchildren of Keisaburo.

The event will feature a presentation about Koda Farms, introducing the oldest family-owned rice farm and mill in California, imparting on participants a new-found appreciation for rice and its journey from the fields to our tables.

Following the presentation, Sonoko Sakai, a cooking teacher, food writer, author, and producer based in Los Angeles and Tehachapi, will teach the class how to make delicious onigiri rice balls. Come broaden your knowledge of rice and participate in a fun cooking workshop.

Complimentary. Participants also have the opportunity to view “Beautiful Rice: For a Sustainable Future.”

• Japanese Food Lab Chef’s Series on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Michelin-starred chef Mori Onodera will lead a workshop on rice and show why it’s the most essential part of a Japanese meal. As a sushi master, Onodera once told Los Angeles Magazine, “Rice is 70 percent, fish is 30 percent,” highlighting the importance he places on the quality of rice he serves, which he also exhibited by growing his own short-grain rice in partnership with Tamaki farms in Uruguay, making him of rice connoisseur.

As a workshop participant, you’ll enjoy a behind-the-scenes kitchen experience as Onodera shares his rice preparation method, starting with the basics with rice grain selection tips and a step-by-step rice cooking demonstration. The workshop ends on a tasty note, as freshly cooked white rice with Japanese condiments and pickles will be served. You’ll also receive a sample of uncooked rice to recreate the experience at home.

The event includes an opportunity to view “Beautiful Rice.” Participants must be 18 or older to join this workshop. Fee: $15. To register, click here.

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