12th Annual Japanese Speech Contest at PCC Northwest on April 26

Mark your calendars for the upcoming 12th Annual Japanese Language Speech Contest on 4/26/14, from noon-5:00 p.m. at Pima Community College NW Campus, 7600 N. Shannon Rd. , Building G.
The afternoon features: speech contest, cosplay contest (first ever), exhibitions and performances. You don’t want to miss it. Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers and Suzuyuki Kai traditional Japanese dance group will be performing.
More info at:


“Japan’s Intractable Problems: The Issue of Territorial Disputes” talk on March 27

Free Lecture by Dr. Minoru Yanagihashi, retired UA professor, East Asian Studies Dept., at Himmel Park branch library, 1035 N. Treat Ave. (SW corner of E. 1st St., south of Speedway Blvd.), 6:30 to 8 p.m.

sponsored by Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC)

This talk will analyze “the current tensions between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese), between Japan and South Korea over Takeshima (Dokdo in Korean), and between Japan and Russia over the four southernmost islands of the Kuril. The origin, reasons, and prospects of these disputes will be covered”.

European & Japanese Classical Music concert at Yume Japanese Gardens

European and Japanese Classical Music concert by Christine Vivona at Yume Japanese Gardens on March 28

“Join us for evening of European and Japanese classical music from award-winning harpist Dr. Christine Vivona. Dr. Vivona studied with the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City and has held the position of second harp with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra since 1986. She frequently performs both solo and ensemble classical and jazz programs for concert series and varied venues throughout Arizona and has a teaching studio in Tucson”.
European and Japanese Classical Music[smallpdf-1.com][1].pdf-page-001

Girls’ Day Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens on March 1 (Cancelled)

Girls Day Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens on March 1
2/27/14 UPDATE: Due to a winter storm, this event has been cancelled.
Girls Day 2014

“On March 3 Japanese parents honor their daughters by celebrating hinamatsuri or Girls Day. To mark the event, families display a set of ornamental dolls representing the EmperorEmpress, attendants, and musicians arrayed in traditional court dress of the ninth to the twelfth centuries, the Heian period. View the sumptuous costumes of a full set of handmade dolls and stay for an origami workshop in which you and your children can learn to make paper dolls as well as horses in this Year of the Horse.

There will be different types of  Japanese dolls exhibited for Girls Day (coming up on March 3rd), and a 7 tier doll setup will be displayed in the Japanese house.

Admission includes origami materials and entrance to the Gardens”.  Tickets $15 adults, $5 children, buy online at Yume Japanese Gardens website, www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org, 520-332-2928.

An Enchanted Evening at the Gardens on February 28 (postponed to April 11)

Enchanted Evening 2014 Poster-1
2/27/14 UPDATE: Due to a winter storm, this event has been postponed to Friday, April 11– 6:30 p.m. Check Yume Japanese Gardens website for updates.
“Prepare to be enchanted as you transport yourself to the ambience of old Japan with a nighttime stroll through Yume Japanese Gardens by the light of candles and handmade Japanese lanterns. View origami creations (some lit up) representing butterflies, horses, and other animals as you sip several delicious Japanese teas.” There will be different types of  Japanese dolls exhibited for Girls Day (coming up on March 3rd), and a 7 tier doll setup will be displayed in the Japanese house.
The entire garden will be lit up with hundreds of lanterns and candles!
6:30 p.m. on February 28, $10 members $12 nonmembers.  Purchase tickets online at www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org. (Click on News &  Events). Call 520-332-2928 for information, 2130 N. Alvernon Way.

Shamisen player Aki Takahashi to perform at Yume Japanese Gardens on Feb. 15

Japanese shamisenl Music

Aki Takahashi is a Japanese traditional shamisen (lute) player and folk singer. She studied traditional folk music in Kyoto, and has given shamisen and vocal performances at numerous venues and events. Since arriving in Canada, Aki has furthered her pursuit of traditional Japanese music with the addition of taiko drumming. Now Associate Artistic Director with pre-eminent Canadian taiko drumming group Nagata Shachu, she teaches taiko drumming, shamisen and voice. She is the founder of the Japanese Folk ensemble ten ten, and has performed with numerous artists from a variety of other cultural backgrounds and traditions. She also creates her own original compositions and has choreographed dance pieces to accompany her music. (from Odaiko Sonora’s Facebook page),  Websites: www.tentencanada.com, www.nagatashachu.com.

Guest Kyle Abbott, founder of www.Bachido.com will be performing as well.

Sponsored by Odaiko Sonora, taiko drumming ensemble, and the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition.

Tickets $15 members,  $17 nonmembers, $20 at the door.  www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org, or 520-332-2928.


Japanese language classes for children and adults offered at Yume Japanese Gardens, starting January 11

Japanese language classes – for children and adults — starting January 11 at Yume Japanese Gardens (updated)

Ever wanted to learn to speak Japanese? Children’s classes offered twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays; adult classes on Saturdays, both for 5 weeks. See hour & fee schedule below.  Yume Japanese Gardens is at 2130 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson.  Website: www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org, 520-332-2928.



New Year’s mochi pounding celebration at Yume Japanese Gardens on Jan. 4, 2014

Join in with members of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC) to pound mochi and sample some different types of mochi  (sweet, colorful chichidango) at Yume Japanese Gardens on Jan. 4, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at 2130 N. Alvernon Way in Tucson.  Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers will be performing as well (1 to 1:30 p.m.)

“Mochi is Japanese rice cake made of a short-grain Japonica glutinous rice.  The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape.  In Japan, it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki.  While eaten year round, mochi is traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.

SAJCC will be demonstrating how mochi is made by pounding with a wooden mallet (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu).  Two or more persons alternate the work, one or two doing the pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi.  Today, mochi making by most families is done with a mochi making machine,

1:00-1:30 Odaiko Sonora Japanese taiko drummers
1:30 Welcome & introductions by Ross Iwamoto, Pres. SAJCC
1:45-2:00 Presentation by Min Yanagihashi on the importance of mochi/rice in Japanese culture
2:00-2:15 The pounding demonstration
2:15-2:30 Making mochi with automatic mochi maker
3:00 Making Chichidango - colorful sweet omochi
(From 2:15-3:00 we will be grilling mochi samples for guests)
Guests will tour the gardens throughout the afternoon.

Admission for this event – $9 adults, children  under 5 years will be free.  More info at www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org.  Contact M Craig for more information or if you want to volunteer to help cook and prepare the mochi, at morigami2@yahoo.com.

SAJCC Mochi Celebration Flyer FINAL-page-001

3 Day Ikebana exhibit at Yume Japanese Gardens on November 29 to December 1, plus gala dinner



“For more than 500 years, Japanese have been arranging and displaying flower arrangements in the disciplined art form known as ikebana – “giving life to flowers.” More than simply an arrangement of blooms, ikebana brings nature and humanity together and attaches equal importance to other parts of the plant, such as stems and leaves, while drawing attention toward shape, line, and form. The exhibition features dozens of arrangements from five schools of flower arranging spanning the traditional to the modern. Entrance is free with regular admission to the Gardens”.  Hours of the gardens are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org.

“Enthusiasts of Japanese flower arranging will not want to miss a gala evening on Nov. 29,  6:00 p.m. that opens this three-day exhibition of ikebana flower arrangements. Japanese food and lantern light will set the mood for viewing flower arrangements located throughout the Gardens, including in our new Japanese house. Admission is $35 for non-members and $30 for members. Please RSVP by November 20 at yume.gardens@gmail.com.”