Musubi (rice ball) making workshop on Nov. 2

Musubi Workshop Flyer-page-001

“Please join us this Sunday, November 2nd at 10 am, for our first musubi (rice ball) workshop. Come and learn the history of rice balls in Japan, learn how to make them, and enjoy eating your creations along with some miso soup! The workshop costs $35 (does not include garden admission). Advanced reservation is required. Reserve your spot for this fun and tasty workshop by calling 520-425-1628 or emailing us at”

Music concert at Yume Japanese Gardens on Oct. 25

Outdoor Japanese Music Concert Flyer 2014 (2)-page-001


“Every culture has its beloved folk songs, and the Japanese are no exception. The singing duo of Yukihiro Ibuki & Mieko Iventosch will be accompanied on piano by Shiho Takeda in a repertoire of traditional melodies. Admission is $15 for members, $17 for non-members, and $20 at the door”. Concert is from 5 to 6 p.m.

You can purchase tickets online at Yume Japanese Gardens website:

Yume Japanese Gardens reopening with kimono exhibit

Photo of kimono  courtesy of Shakunetsu no Kimono

Photo of kimono courtesy of Shakunetsu no Kimono


TUCSON, ARIZONA  –Yume Japanese Gardens – the area’s first and only authentic Japanese gardens – will welcome visitors with major improvements and an exhibition of kimonos and wood block prints when the Gardens reopen for the Fall/Winter season on October 1. The non-profit Gardens are located at 2130 Alvernon Way, immediately south of the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

 Returning visitors already know that the Gardens consist of independent landscapes incorporating different styles of classical Japanese garden design, as well as a house and other structures highlighting traditional Japanese building materials and techniques.

New this season, however, are a museum and exhibition space, a bookstore and gift shop, and an outdoor patio where visitors can relax.

The new exhibition space will be inaugurated with a display of vintage and modern kimonos, the traditional Japanese robe. Kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have long been regarded as great works of art. Accompanying the kimono exhibit will be a display of 18th and 19th century black-and-white woodblock prints.

“Since we opened in January of 2013, visitors have repeatedly expressed interest in learning more about Japanese culture. We’re now satisfying this curiosity with new facilities that will give people a better opportunity to profit from their visit,” said Patricia Deridder, founder, designer, and executive director of the Gardens.

“Over the past year we’ve had monthly musical and dance performances, seasonal festivals, Japanese language classes, and flower arranging workshops and exhibits that have been very popular,” added Deridder. “We wanted to expand on those offerings by developing a permanent museum and exhibition space to bring more aspects of Japanese culture to the public.”

Visitors to the new exhibition space will be able to inspect more than a dozen different kimonos made of silk or cotton and gain an appreciation of the characteristics of this garment and its many variations in color, fabric, and style. The presentation runs from October 1 to November 23 and will be followed throughout the year by a series of rotating exhibitions highlighting other expressions of classical and contemporary Japanese culture.

Free reception for this exhibit on Tues. Sept. 30, 5 to 7 p.m. at the gardens.


Japanese Vocal and Chant Workshop with Toronto artist Aki Takahashi at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory on September 6.

Aki Takahashi, photo courtesy of Odaiko Sonora

Aki Takahashi, photo from Odaiko Sonora’s website

Odaiko Sonora (taiko drumming group) hosts this event on September 6, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“In preparation for All Souls Procession (ASP) on November 9, Odaiko Sonora invites you to join the first ever Viral Chant Group. We’ve commissioned the chant from Toronto artist Aki Takahashi, who you may remember from February’s amazing shamisen concert at Yume Japanese Gardens.

We want the chant to spread through the crowd in the last few minutes of the ASP finale. For this, we need some volunteers to “seed” the crowd. Aki, who is one of Odaiko Sonora’s guest artists for the finale, has agreed to come in advance to train people in Japanese vocal technique and learn the chant. The Chant Workshop runs 12:30-2:00pm and is FREE (though we’ll pass a hat).”

Aki will be performing a traditional minyo (Japanese folk) style chant.

The Rhythm Industry Performance Factory is located at 1013 S. Tyndall Ave. (just south of the SE corner of E. 20th and Tyndall Ave., west of Campbell Ave.)

Sumi-e drawing class on August 16 at Tucson Johrei Center

sumi-e painting by artist Joy Mills

sumi-e painting by artist Joy Mills


Join local Tucson artist Joy Mills at the Johrei Fellowship Tucson Center on August 16, 1:30 to 4 p.m. at 3919 E. River Rd. for a beginning sumi-e brush painting class. Teacher Joy Mills provides tools and materials for $30, and discounts the class to $25 for those who bring their own. Registration deadline is August 13.

Contact Karey to register at, 520-403-4408. Deadline to register is August 13.

“Monthly session in artful mindfulness meditation with ink, brush and paper: priceless!”  Joy has been teaching a monthly sumi-e painting class at the Johrei center, and recently had a exhibition of her lovely sumi-e art at the Ravenscroft Gallery at the St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church:

A thirty-year veteran art teacher, Joy has taught at Pima College, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, The Drawing Studio, The Chinese Cultural Center and Joh Rei Fellowship. Her artwork has been recognized with a number of prestigious national awards.

Tanabata Festival in Sierra Vista on July 6

in Sierra Vista, Arizona

Date: JULY 6, 2014
Place: Veterans Memorial Park (Ramada 1)
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Taiko drumming performance  by Odaiko Sonora of Tucson.


Singles: $4 with a Dish,  $10 without a Dish

Family: $8 with a Dish, $20 without a Dish

If attending, please kindly respond by June 26 to Noriko Blair at
Bottled water, plastic utensils, paper plates, and napkins provided by Sakura no Kai

Join us in “Bon Odori” – “Yukata” dress is welcomed.Please bring a folding chair – limited seating at the ramada


Tucsonan publishes book “Wounded Tiger” about Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor



T. Martin Bennett wrote a screenplay, then a “nonfiction novel” about three intersecting stories that took place during WWII. The main protagonist is Commander Mitsuo Fuchida of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s air force who survives the Pearl Harbor attack and the Hiroshima bombing on August 6, 1945, and many years afterward. He is the “wounded tiger” of the title.  The 2nd story is about a Baptist missionary family who lived in Japan for almost 20 years, then had to flee to the Philippines once WWII broke out.  The 3rd story is about a “Doolittle Raider” Jake DeShazer who was captured by the Japanese during WWII and spent the war in captiviity as a P.O.W. More I won’t say, as I don’t want to disclose the ending of any of these amazing true stories.

After reading an advance copy  I wrote a book review for the and published it on December 7, 2013 (the 72nd anniversary of the infamous bombing in my home state of Hawaii), but that online review was removed when Gannett Publishing abruptly shut down the Tucson Citizen online news source on January 31, 2014.

So I just republished my book review in the political blogsite Blog for Arizona (click here).  If you would like to read more about this compelling book or purchase it, contact the author at

Japanese Children’s Day celebration at Yume gardens on May 3

Join in the celebration of Japanese traditional Children’s Day on May 3rd at Yume Japanese Gardens (1 to 4 p.m.)

Goldfish netting will test their dexterity, summer yukatas will keep them cool and colorful, origami lessons will give them a chance at making their own paper creations,  and there will be more traditional Japanese toys than ever to intrigue them.
This event will end our Spring garden viewing season, so come for a last look at the gardens before we close for the summer.To purchase tickets go to: Tickets prices: $10 member adults, $15 nonmember adults; children under 10 years are  free.
Children's Day Festival Poster 2014

Childrens’ Day is celebrated in Japan on May 5th, which used to be Boys’ Day.  Girls Day is still celebrated on March 3rd with doll displays.  In Hawaii the Japanese tradition of Boys’ Day is still alive, so families fly the koinobori (koi fish wind socks) on bamboo poles outside their homes, representing the number of boys in the family.  Special treats are also served for the boys in the families.

Enjoy Childrens’/Boys’ Day.

Shakuhachi concert at Yume Japanese Gardens on April 30

Shakuhachi concert by Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos at Yume Japanese Gardens on April 30, 7 p.m.

“We’re proud to once again present Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos at the Gardens for a premiere performance of soulful Japanese bamboo flute music. Alcvin’s 2013 concert was a sell-out, and little wonder: he is a Dai Shihan (“Grand Master”) of the shakuhachi, born and trained in Japan, where he selects and cuts his own bamboo for his flutes. He has taught and performed in North America, Europe, and Japan and will be playing a selection of traditional melodies as well as ones of his own composition.” This is a limited seating event — don’t miss it! Admission is $15 for members, $17 for non-members, and $20 at the door. For extra convenience, buy your tickets online at Yume garden’s website.
Shakuhachi 2014 Poster