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 norikoblair@hotmail.com
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 Tucsoncitizen.com 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 www.woundedtigerbook.com.

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: www.tucsonjapanesegardens.org. 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

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.