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Culture & Community

5 Things I Learned at Yo! Camp (as an Adult)

Issue:
August 16, 2022

Typically when you think of an overnight summer camp, you think of all the benefits it will have for the campers – how it will help their personal development and understanding of their culture, ability to make new friends and have fun, and grow their appreciation for the outdoors, amongst many more. What a lot of people (myself included) might overlook, are the aspects of camp that also benefit the counselors, instructors, and staff.

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Yo! Camp - Make Magic, Everyday

Issue:
May 20, 2020

Our inaugural year of Yo! Camp was something magical. Let's explore where that magic comes from.

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My JA Community: A SoCal Transplant in NorCal's Summer

Issue:
October 21, 2020

I moved to San Jose three years ago; this is my story of experiencing community in both NorCal and SoCal.

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If you're Happi and you know it...

Issue:
October 15, 2021

Happi coat sewing tutorial

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Walk the Farm - Part One: Harvesting Hope

Issue:
August 13, 2022

How one farm in Irvine, CA created an annual tradition that continues to bring the community together and change people’s lives around the world.

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Obon Will Always Be Obon

Issue:
June 15, 2022

Obon, like many Japanese American cultural practices, exists in the intersections of race and religion. Although Obon is a more widely accepted cultural-religious practice, this was not always the case.

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Summer Camp - Parents, Your Questions Answered

Issue:
May 20, 2020

When it comes to summer camps and programs, parents and kids often underestimate the importance and value of these opportunities. Let's explore the deep value of the summer camp experience.

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Japanese Fashion Through the Years (Infographic)

Issue:
May 20, 2020

The full infographic to accompany the "Japanese Fashion Through the Years" article.

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Did Tom Cruise Teach Us How to Be “Japanese?”

Issue:
December 18, 2021

There are three movies/TV shows I watch annually: The Last Samurai, Lost In Translation, and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown (specifically season 8, episode 6 entitled “Japan with Masa”).

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Casual with a Purpose: My Experiences with Fashion in Japan

Issue:
July 11, 2020

The color palettes, articles of clothing, and silhouettes that I've tried out here are trends that I would never have been willing to try out in America.

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Japantown Style | An Interview with Darin Maki of CRFT by Maki

Issue:
January 10, 2022

Meet Darin Maki: founder of CRFT by Maki, a culture brand based in Little Tokyo.

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Japangeles: Story of Community

Issue:
March 6, 2022

Continuing our two-part article series, this second article focuses on the unique community, design, and impact of Japangeles beyond just the business aspects.

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Japanese Fashion Through the Years

Issue:
October 21, 2020

There’s a lot more to Japanese fashion than you can imagine. Let’s take a look at some major points of fashion in Japan.

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Just Another Wednesday

Issue:
July 26, 2020

What could gentrification taste like? How might erasure alter sight and sound? This story was originally written for the 2021 Little Tokyo Historical Society's annual short story contest.

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Japangeles: Story of Business

Issue:
March 6, 2022

In this two-part series, stories of Japangeles, from business to community, will be shared about the company we have now know. Learn about the growth, story, and success of the well-known brand in Southern California, connecting us all to Little Tokyo.

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Antiques Kinoedo: The Romance of Japanese Antiques

Issue:
October 21, 2020

My dad has been antiquing for years, specializing in buying and selling Japan-made goods. I went behind the scenes to learn about his business.

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3 to 1: Cultural Arts

Issue:
June 15, 2021

How do generational differences affect opinions of cultural arts and their importance? You want to know, and so do we.

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Dear Ji-Chan

Issue:
January 18, 2022

Thank you Ji-chan for teaching me and exposing me to Japanese art forms. Your efforts to teach me about my Japanese culture have not gone unnoticed.

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This is the Way

Issue:
June 15, 2021

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true; something greater will.

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What is Ikebana?

Issue:
March 15, 2022

Ikebana is a long practiced Japanese art. This is my experience practicing it.

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Going Bananas During Quaran-bean: My 6-Day Enforced Quarantine in Japan

Issue:
March 9, 2022

With the sudden surge of covid over winter break, Japan has completely shut down their borders to foreigners, and made it very difficult for Japan passport holders to enter Japan. Here's my story.

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With Love for Our Community: Building Community with J-Town Action と Solidarity

Issue:
February 11, 2022

It’s hard to explain why working with JAS is so important to me. Showing up in action and solidarity with love for our community and a revolutionary vision for the future just feels like the right—and sometimes the only—thing to do.

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Date Guide: Little Tokyo Edition

Issue:
January 10, 2022

Add these iconic Little Tokyo spots to your date-rotation. Bonus points if you hit them all in one go!

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We Have to Talk About Queer Love in the JA Community

Issue:
July 26, 2020

February in the JA community is filled by two major holidays: Day of Remembrance and Valentine’s Day. Let's honor both by re-evaluating how we look at gender, pronouns, love, and identity with our youth.

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Adding Love to Grocery Store Flowers

Issue:
February 12, 2022

With just a few tips, you can enhance your local grocery store flowers (or flowers picked from your backyard) into a thoughtful arrangement that will reflect your true feelings.

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Fierce Vulnerability with Gia Gunn

Issue:
June 28, 2020

Gia Gunn chats about her journey from dancing Nihon-buyo as a child to RuPaul's Drag Race to self discovery and activism.

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Ozoni from Around the World

Issue:
May 20, 2020

No two ozoni are alike. Join us as we explore the variety of mochi from around the world.

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Yo! Records - A New Branch of Yo! Magazine

Issue:
March 5, 2021

We are excited to announce “Yo! Records”, an independent record label based in Los Angeles. Our goal is to release music from up-and-coming Asian American artists and celebrate our unique community. 

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What’s in an Osechi?

Issue:
October 21, 2020

An entire arrangement of traditional Japanese foods, and yet most of us don't know where it came from or what the foods represent.

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Have You Been to a Traditional Mochitsuki?

Issue:
December 18, 2021

Traditional mochitsuki is a long-time tradition of the Yasukochi Family. Here's a family members perspective of the annual event.

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The Non-Definitive List of How to Avoid Faux Pas at Asian American Functions

Issue:
June 11, 2020

With the holidays coming up, there will be plenty of potlucks, parties, dinners, etc. that many will be attending, so here's a non-definitive list of how to avoid faux pas at Asian American gatherings.

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Meet Lindsay Arakawa | @blindsaay

Issue:
June 13, 2020

Join me as I dive into an interview with Lindsay Arakawa, a yonsei/gosei creator born in Hawaii, living in Tokyo, Japan, doing some amazing work.

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Asian Halloween Costume Ideas 2021

Issue:
June 13, 2020

Struggling to decide what to be for Halloween this year? Here are some ideas for Asian Halloween costumes!

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Giving Voice to Asian American Seniors Through Film

Issue:
September 7, 2021

I couldn't imagine retirement offering much more to my life, but a digital histories film class has proven to be a challenging, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally rewarding experience for me.

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For You/Me/Us Page: Identity Building Through TikTok

Issue:
June 13, 2020

How is the Nikkei community represented on TikTok, and how will digital identity- and community-building affect our current generation?

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How Should Japanese American Parents Talk to Their Kids About Race and Racism?

Issue:
September 5, 2020

Explore some of the conversations Japanese Americans have had with their kids about racism, what they wish they'd talked about earlier, and how the dialogue may have evolved over time.

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Has Marie Kondo Gone Too Far?

Issue:
May 20, 2020

For the past decade, Marie Kondo has built a base of followers, guided by her principles in decluttering and streamlined material possession. But has capitalism steered her away from her original purpose?

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Delivering Community Care One Meal at a Time: Little Tokyo Eats

Issue:
June 13, 2020

Worried about some of our more vulnerable community members, many non-profit groups came together to help deliver delicious foods to local Little Tokyo seniors. This project, Little Tokyo Eats, benefited not only the seniors, but also the family and legacy-owned small businesses in Little Tokyo. After more than a year later, the program is ending.

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Old Good Things

Issue:
November 24, 2020

What are we going to do with all this old stuff?

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Speak Your Truth

Issue:
May 1, 2020

Being Japanese American, I grew up with the expectations of not being a “burden” to other people, and living in the pandemic has sometimes felt like treading in deep waters without rest. 

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So What's The Deal With Japanese Americans & Fishing?

Issue:
June 11, 2020

Fishing has always been popular in the Japanese American community and understanding our community's history, it makes sense.

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My Journey to Minidoka

Issue:
June 15, 2021

Park Ranger Kurt Ikeda shares his love of national parks and the legacy he carries on at Minidoka as a Japanese American.

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Doing a Good Turn Daily: Japanese American Boy Scouts

Issue:
May 20, 2020

Exploring the lasting legacy of youth development in the Boy Scout programs of the Japanese American community.

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Changing the Tides on Mental Health

Issue:
May 9, 2021

Learn more about the Changing Tides (CT) Crew, which consists of 6-8 AAPI young adults who strive to destigmatize mental health and create safe and accessible spaces for the community.

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Japanese Wellness Words That Will Make You Feel Good

Issue:
June 26, 2020

The Japanese language includes numerous and varied wellness concepts, many of which no word in English can adequately convey.

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Japanese American Basketball - The Community Behind the Game

Issue:
May 20, 2020

Where did JA ball come from? More importantly, where is it going?

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Want to Understand the History of Anti-Asian Racism? Read These Books

Issue:
May 3, 2020

The Atlanta area shootings come after a recent wave of anti-Asian attacks attributed to the pandemic, but violence against Asians and Asian Americans dates back centuries. We've curated a reading list to provide historical context.

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Anzen Hardware Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Issue:
June 14, 2020

This year will mark the 75th Anniversary of my grandparents' hardware store, and I don’t know what its future holds. 

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Revolutionary BTS

Issue:
July 26, 2020

What might be even more revolutionary than seeing AAPI masculinity on screen is the idea that Asian men—like k-pop boyband BTS—can subvert gendered concepts of beauty and desire altogether.

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Nikkei Diaspora: Oshogatsu

Issue:
June 14, 2020

Starting the new year with friends and family... around the world.

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New Years Traditions

Issue:
October 21, 2020

Counting down to midnight is a worldwide tradition of New Years Eve. We asked our friends what else they do to ring in the new year, every year.

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Osechi Top 8

Issue:
January 2, 2021

Read one author's family ranking of traditional Japanese New Year's foods - the Otera Osechi Top 8, ranked by how satisfying the prep experience is.

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Kentakki Fried Christmas

Issue:
November 24, 2020

Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas. This is a thing in Japan.

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Light Up Your Holidays With Hikari

Issue:
December 26, 2020

To reclaim some of that missing holiday spirit this year, read about one author's visit to Tanaka Farms’ Hikari – A Festival of Lights.

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Hearing (And Sharing) Our Grandparents' Stories

Issue:
June 11, 2020

Deep down, we know it's important to make an effort to hear our grandparents' stories, but starting those conversations can sometimes be challenging. Here's another reminder that it's definitely worth trying.

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The Language Barriers and Links in a MultiLingual Family

Issue:
December 1, 2020

Growing up with multiple languages and cultures can mean barriers between family. But, there is beauty in finding common ground where there are gaps.

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Verbalizing Love in our JA Families

Issue:
May 23, 2020

We love and appreciate our families, but as Japanese Americans, it can be hard to verbalize our feelings.

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Learn About Kinrōkanshahi 勤労感謝の日, or Labor Thanksgiving Day

Issue:
June 14, 2020

Since 678, Japan celebrates a holiday around this time of the year by giving thanks to laborers and the fall harvest.

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Haunted Japantowns

Issue:
May 23, 2020

The historic Japantowns have served our community for over 100 years, but there are many untold stories that reveal a spooky side of these neighborhoods.

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A Very Brief History of Halloween in Japan

Issue:
June 14, 2020

Halloween in Japan is rather new. Like many western influences that jumped the Pacific, the Japanese are slowly making it their own.

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My Japanese Superstitions

Issue:
October 21, 2020

Americans have likely heard the "don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back" superstition. But other countries have their own silly phrases, including Japan.

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Asian Costume Ideas

Issue:
May 3, 2020

While there are no Halloween parties to look forward to this year, we have some easy and cheap Asian/Asian American costume ideas for your Zoom party at work or with friends.

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Hidden Ecologists: The Rise and Fall of Sustainable Agriculture in Japanese American Farming

Issue:
July 26, 2020

Land and micromanagement and precision agriculture techniques are perceived as innovations by environmentalists in the late 20th century. Actually, Japanese American farmers implemented these techniques in the 1900s with remarkable success...until racism intervened. 

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Mottainai: Culturally Embedded Sustainability

Issue:
May 20, 2020

More than just a word, mottainai holds deep cultural and historical meaning. Let's explore how this word can be a critical rallying call for this generation.

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Pruning the Bonsai: How the History of Japanese American Gardeners Lives on Through Their Descendants

Issue:
May 3, 2020

Though gardening was a common profession for Japanese American immigrants pre and post-war, their era is now over. How do their descendants perceive and preserve their family's history today?

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Bonsai Tree Roundup

Issue:
June 14, 2020

Pandemic babies, pandemic dogs...how about a pandemic bonsai? Take a look through our Bonsai roundup.

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Chasing the Japanese Whaling Fleet as a Japanese American

Issue:
September 25, 2020

My experience chasing the Japanese whaling fleet as a Japanese American ocean activist led me to realize that we can't approach conservation issues without also considering the historical, racial, and geopolitical context that comes along with them.

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Japanese Gardens in the States and Around the World

Issue:
June 14, 2020

Whether it be a space for cultural exchange or to find a moment of peace, Japanese gardens (and elements of it) can be enjoyed around the world.

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Card Games and Board Games Played in Camp

Issue:
June 11, 2020

In an effort to provide a fun way to connect with family and even get a different glimpse of camp, we've gathered a list of common card games and board games played in Japanese American concentration camps.

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Japanese Cultural References You May Not Have Noticed in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Issue:
May 3, 2020

There are a lot of Japanese cultural Easter eggs in Animal Crossing — some obvious, some well-hidden — that are worth digging into.

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Finding Escape in Cards

Issue:
May 23, 2020

Life in the Japanese American concentration camps was far from ideal, but as bad as the circumstances were, Japanese Americans tried to make the best of their situations. Having outlets like sports, dances, and especially card games helped children do exactly that.

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Dream With Me: Life Without Oppressive Systems

Issue:
June 13, 2020

The CSU Board of Trustees approved a one-class ethnic studies graduation requirement, citing the need for individual schools to plan out coursework to meet the requirement. Is that something marginalized communities asked for? Is that action enough?

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5 Books by Asian/Asian American Authors to Read This Fall

Issue:
May 3, 2020

Just because you’re not in school doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things! We’re turning to several books that were published this year by Asian American authors.

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Yo Mural – It’s an Opening Ceremony!

Issue:
May 1, 2020

Let your imagination run wild! What do you think the Tokyo opening ceremony be like?

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Get Your Dance On – Olympic Style

Issue:
May 1, 2020

Learn the background of the popular Olympic odori dance, Tokyo Gorin Ondo!

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Creating a Sense of Community in Idaho

Issue:
May 1, 2020

When you don't fit in with the majority's culture, it is difficult to find your voice. Learn how one person is rooting themselves back to Idaho and creating a sense of community.

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Kotonks & Buddhaheads: How Japanese American Experiences Differ on the Mainland and in Hawai'i

Issue:
May 3, 2020

As a Japanese American who grew up with family ties in Hawai'i but came of age in California, I've encountered some cultural differences based on experiences and history. Here, I attempt to unearth some of that history.

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Diaspora: An Infographic

Issue:
May 20, 2020

Where exactly is the Japanese diaspora? Check out our visual depiction of where the Nikkei community has settled around the world.

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A Space for Ourselves: Thoughts from a Black Yonsei

Issue:
July 26, 2020

What is it to be a Black Japanese American? What should I tell you? What should you know? 

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Nikkei Diaspora: A Photo Essay

Issue:
June 14, 2020

A collection of photos capturing family, friendship, cultural preservation, isolation, and the Japanese diaspora.

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Historia de AELU con Jimmy Shimabukuro

Issue:
April 26, 2020

Una introducción a la AELU, un lugar de reunión para la comunidad Nikkei y Japonesa en Lima, Perú.

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Normalizing the term "Nikkei"

Issue:
May 23, 2020

As Nikkei Japanese Americans, some of us are used to calling ourselves "JAs." However, the term may unintentionally divide our community, posing the question of if we should begin to normalize the term "Nikkei" instead.

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Our Family Journey Map

Issue:
June 11, 2020

With this journey map activity, you’ll be able to gather some clues about your family’s history. Perfect for all ages - take a look and see what’s inside!

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Greek Life & Dating in the 1970s: A Sansei Perspective

Issue:
July 11, 2020

For many Sansei who grew up and attended college in Southern California at universities like UCLA and USC, Asian fraternities and sororities were the best way to meet and intermingle.

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What's Your Obon Known For?

Issue:
June 28, 2020

By no means an "official" list - peruse through our crowd-sourced list to explore the new, and reminisce on the familiar from obon's across the country.

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“Isn’t It Good?”: How an Obon Dance was Created for Community

Issue:
May 3, 2020

"Ei Ja Nai Ka" is a popular obon dance loved by many, but unlike other dances, it's not directly from Japan. Learn more about how PJ Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko created the dance to be for the Japanese American community.

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The Christian Conundrum of Obon

Issue:
May 23, 2020

The Buddhist origins of obon festivals pose a predicament for some Christians, noted as being in conflict with their religious beliefs, while others view them simply as a cultural event to celebrate Japanese American heritage.

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Japan's Hottest Summer Festivals (That Aren't Obon)

Issue:
June 26, 2020

The Japanese summer festival season has a lot more to offer than obon. Learn more about the various food and fun-filled events that are held throughout Japan every summer.

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Ultimate Obon Food Bracket

Issue:
June 26, 2020

We've created the ultimate obon food bracket for you to download and enjoy with friends and family. We hope this bracket brings you joy and reminds you of the delicious tastes of obon.

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How One of the Largest Obons Celebrates at Home

Issue:
April 26, 2020

This year, many temples and community centers are faced with the big challenge of capturing the spirit of obons and matsuris while at home. San Jose Obon's committee member Matt Ogawa shares how the largest obon in North America transitioned to having "Obon@Home."

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Keep'n It Simple - Japanese American Dad Fashion

Issue:
June 11, 2020

Japanese American dad fashion: you know it when you see it and you definitely love to poke fun at it, but you also wouldn’t change a thing.

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One Japanese Person's Thoughts on Government Responses to COVID-19

Issue:
June 14, 2020

Though we have our own thoughts on the U.S. government's response to COVID-19, we were curious about what Japanese people thought about us, as well as their own government's response.

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A Crash Course on Holding Difficult Conversations

Issue:
June 13, 2020

Having a conversation with someone who doesn't see eye-to-eye with you can be daunting, but we have several tips that may help in navigating discussion surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement as Asian Americans.

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Black Lives Matter Resource Roundup

Issue:
June 11, 2020

Explore our Black Lives Matter Resource Roundup, in solidarity with Black communities in the ongoing fight for racial justice. Click through the different resources, bookmark them for later, or share them with your family and friends to help stay informed on issues in the Black Lives Matter movement.

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More Than Just A Name: Embracing Our Names with Our Culture

Issue:
May 23, 2020

When I was younger, my Japanese middle name was a source of shame, especially since I was surrounded by kids with American names. Now, I've learned how our names are innately tied to our culture.

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Family Ki (Tree) Investigation

Issue:
April 26, 2020

This month as we celebrate our heritage, we have assigned you a mission: find out more about your ancestors. We can take advantage of this time to share stories about our families and reconnect with relatives.

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You Probably Didn't Know These Things About Okinawa

Issue:
April 26, 2020

Vegetable superheroes, snake liquor, and fried doughnuts are just some of the things that make Okinawan culture amazing. To learn more about some of the things that make Okinawa's culture so rich and vibrant, read on.

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How Sansei Dances Revived the Asian American Cover Band Era of the '60s and '70s

Issue:
May 3, 2020

The Sansei dances that many Japanese American parents in Southern California enjoy today hark back to a period in the 1960s and 1970s known as the Los Angeles Asian American dance scene.

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Are These Japanese American Antiques and Heirlooms Familiar to You?

Issue:
May 20, 2020

We've collected and listed 20 of the most commonly mentioned Japanese American antiques and heirlooms that families have found in their cupboards, shelves, kitchens, and attics.

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Ningyo kuyo: In Japan, unwanted dolls receive a funeral send-off

Issue:
May 3, 2020

It's natural for kids to outgrow their dolls when they age, but in Japan, to throw your doll away without thanking them is disrespectful. Learn more about ningyo kuyo, or doll funerals held at Shinto temples in Japan.

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