“A Time” poem in memory of the WWII Japanese American internment camps

“A Time”

by Fred Yamashita (whose family was interned at Heart Mt. Internment Camp in  Wyoming)


A time to be or not to be

To reiterate my show of loyalty

My love of life and land

Is like that of any other man

Then why should we be denied?

We can’t trust the “slanty eyed”

This can’t be real, this tale of fiction

Still I salute the contradiction

That waves so bold red, white and blue

It stands for freedom and justice, for who?


A time to see or not to see

What has happened to my family

To my people so strong, so proud

The tears they shed aren’t heard aloud

But anger and confusion seeps through the soul

And what we want America to know

Is that we will endure despite and within

The laws you have forged to fence us in

We will fight for you

Unlock these yellow hands

And with our blood, prove to be

True Americans.


Fred Yamashita at the Pima County Democratic Party HQ

Fred Yamashita speaking at the Pima County Democratic Party HQ

Fred Yamashita is the Southern Az Director of UFCW 99, United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 99, in Tucson, Arizona. He recited this heartfelt poem at the SAJCC tour of the Gila River Internment Camp/Relocation Center memorial in Gila River, Arizona on January 24, 2015.


Beautiful ceramic sculpture show continues at Yume Japanese Gardens till Feb. 28

“In mostly earth-toned colors, and with clear lines and mass, these works by Phoenix artist Ping Wei stand on their own as sculptures and also invite people to arrange flowers in them in the Japanese art form called ikebana.”

Exhibit dates: Jan. 19 – Feb. 28, 9:30 to 4:30 daily. Free with regular admission to the Gardens. See. www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org.

Ping Wei Ceramic Sculpture Exhibit Flyer


Visit to Gila River Internment Camp (remnants & memorial) on January 24

Visit to Gila River Internment Camp on January 24

Gila River Internment Camp during WWII, courtesy of Dr. Karen Leong

Gila River Internment Camp during WWII, courtesy of Dr. Karen Leong

All day tour of remnants of Gila River Internment Camp (Gila River, AZ – south of Phoenix) & memorial.

Reservations REQUIRED. Contact DirectorRoss Iwamoto at sajcc@yahoo.com for information. This was one of the large Japanese American internment camps caused by E.O. 9066 during WWII. Over 10,000 Japanese Americans, 2/3 of whom were U.S. Citizens were interned here from 1942 to 1945.

Tour date: Saturday, January 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. $10 for lunch or option to bring our own. We will be car pooling to this tour site from Tucson and Phoenix.


Katachi exhibit at Yume Japanese Gardens

Katachi exhibit at Yume Japanese Gardens opened on January 5 and continues  to May 5, 2015


“An untranslatable term, katachi connotes the essence of Japanese design. But one does not have to be an artist, designer, or connoisseur of Japanese art and culture to grasp it. As a concept, it expresses the appealing beauty, the refined shapeliness, the time-tested functionality, and the fine workmanship of traditional Japanese crafts that have persisted for centuries. We present 50 objects embodying these qualities”.

Exhibit dates: Jan.5 – May 5, 2015 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily.

Free with regular admission to the Gardens. www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org.

Carolyn’s note: a set of my hanafuda cards are on loan at this exhibit.

Celebrate New Year at 2nd Annual Tucson Mochitsuki on January 10

For photos of this event go to our Culture page, or Facebook page.

SAJCC Mochi Celebration Flyer 2015-page-001

Join us at 2nd Annual Mochi Pounding Festival on January 10, 2015 sponsored by Southern AZ Japanese Cultural Coalition, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  There will be mochi pouinding & samples, Japanese games (including Hanafuda, Kendama, Fukuwarai, Ayatori, and Go/Igo), origami, raffles prizes from local businesses,  Japanese music by Odaiko Sonora (taiko drumming) and singer Yuki Ibuki.

NEW location for 2015: Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, home of Odaiko Sonora (taiko drummers), 1013 S. Tyndall Avenue in Tucson (2 blocks north of E. 22nd St.)

More information/photos at www.facebook.com/tucsonmochi (public facebook site).

Event schedule below:


Celebrate New Year of Ram/Sheep at Yume Japanese Gardens

2015 is Year of the Ram/Sheep

2015 is Year of the Ram/Sheep

Saturday, January 3,  from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson.

“Pick up your brush and greet 2015 — the Year of the Ram — with a Japanese ink brush painting (sumi-e) and New Year’s card that you create yourself. Zen Tribe wellness instructor and calligraphy artist Yoshi Nakano will show you how to write your name and New Year’s greetings in Japanese and how to create an image of a ram with deft brush strokes that you can mail to friends or frame for your wall.

Carolyn Classen will teach you games played with traditional flower-decorated hanafuda cards as you eat Japanese sweets and sip green tea. Then, take in a gallery of Yoshi’s inspirational abstract calligraphy that he calls “brush art meditation.” All activities are free with regular admission to the Gardens”,www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org.

Sansei Carolyn Sugiyama Classen learned to play hanafuda as a small child in Hawaii, has taught it at the Tucson Origami Club and to the APASA (Asian Pacific American Student Assn.) at the University of Arizona.


Hanafuda cards

Hanafuda cards

Full Moon Tales of Kaguya Hime at Yume Gardens on Dec. 6

Full Moon Tale Flyer

The full moon will set the scene on the evening of Saturday, December 6 for an original theatrical performance of the beloved Japanese folktale Kaguya Hime — The Bamboo Princess. Children and adults alike will be enchanted as performers in masks engage in storytelling, dance, and shadow play to the sound of traditional bamboo flute music and taiko drums.

Curtain time is 6:00 pm and admission is $15 for members, $17 for non-members, and $20 at the door. Admission does not include entrance to the Gardens. For convenience, buy tickets online at www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org –  Click on “News and Events” and then “Buy Tickets.”

Furoshiki gift wrapping workshop on Dec. 6

Japanese Stlye Gift Wrapping Workshop Flyer

You won’t want to miss visiting Yume Japanese Gardens on Saturday, Dec. 6 for a special holiday gift wrapping workshop.

Learn how to make stylish showstoppers of seasonal gifts by wrapping them in traditional Japanese furoshiki. These intricately knotted and colorfully printed squares of cotton will make any present a sight to behold. And if you’re buying Japanese items at our gift shop to give at Christmas, nothing could be more appropriate than to package them in furoshiki.

Date: Dec. 6 Time: 1 – 3 pm Cost: $18 (includes all materials, but not admission to the Gardens). Registration is required; call 520-332-2928 or email yume.gardens@gmail.com For convenience, buy your ticket online at tucsonjapanesegardens.org (Click on “News and Events” and then “Buy Tickets.)

Talk on the Japanese Constitution on December 2

Learn about the Japanese Constitution by Dr. Min Yanagihashi at Himmel branch library.

The Japanese Constitution: “Alien Document” and “Peace Constitution” “Constitutional revision has been an ongoing controversy in Japan. Any changes or reinterpretations could have profound impact on national identity, domestic politics and world politics, especially Japan’s relations with its neighbors and with the United States.” Dr. Yanagihashi is a retired professor who taught at University of Arizona, Canisius College, University of Kansas, University of Colorado, and University of Michigan. He is a Nisei from Hawaii. Sponsored by So. AZ Japanese Cultural Coalition