Beginning Ohara Ikebana 4 part class at Tucson Botanical Garden starting January 24 to Feb. 14, 2024

“Create beauty and reduce stress through Ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of arranging flowers in the style most pleasing to the eye. Learn from the Ohara School of Ikebana whose instruction is the result of 600 years of evolving artistic development in Japan. Develop your practice incrementally over four sessions. Price includes a container and kenzan to take home and flowers for each session.”

CLASS DATES: Wednesday, January 24, 31, Feb 7, 14, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Class capacity is 12 – register early!

Hosted by the Arizona Chapter of the Ohara School of Ikebana

In Person Education Building ClassroomThese classes take place In-Person in the Education Building Classroom

Register Here

$165 Member / $130 Member

When you register for the January 24th class you are registering for the series.

Japanese New Year festival on January 13, 2024 at Yume Japanese Gardens

  • Saturday, January 13, 2024
  • 11:00 AM to  3:00 PM
  • Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson

“Celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dragon (辰, tatsu) and experience the magic of tradition at the Japanese New Year Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens!

Join us for an unforgettable experience filled with cultural delights, vibrant performances, and the spirit of togetherness.

Enjoy live performances featuring Japanese music and the annual ritual of mochitsuki (the pounding of rice to make mochi), and savor the flavors of authentic Japanese cuisine with a variety of food, snacks, and drinks.

Advanced ticket reservation is required. This is a limited admission event. “




Admission Tickets: 

Adults: $18 – Members: $10 – Children: $6 – Children under 5: FreePurchase Tickets

Yume Japanese Gardens is at 2130 N. Alvernon Way, south of Grant Rd.

Odaiko Sonora Director to perform Taiko at Pima County Historic Courthouse on Dec 15 – updated

As part of the lunchtime concert series at the historic Pima County Courthouse, Odaiko Sonora’s founder and director Karen Falkenstrom will be performing on Taiko drums. She is half-Korean American and has travelled several times to Japan to play Taiko.

UPDATE: 12/14/23 Karen F. has contacted covid, so unable to perform. A roots music duo Nicholas McCallion & Danny Krieger will perform instead.

Friday Dec 15, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free, bring your lunch. 115 N. Church St. Take the free Sun Link streetcar and get off at E. Congress Ave. x Church St. and walk one and a half blocks north. Or take the free Sun Tran bus # 3 and it will take you on W. Alameda St. just north of the courthouse.

Karen Falkenstrom, Director of Odaiko Sonora

New Anime Wonder Festival at Rillito Park Race Track on Dec. 9 & 10

Sat. Dec. 9, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sun. Dec. 10, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Historic Rillito Park Race

4502 N. 1st Avenue, 85718.

“Anime Wonder Festival is a 2-day Outdoor Anime & Japanese Food / Pop-Culture Festival taking place on December 9 and December 10 at Rillito Park Race Track in Tucson, AZ.The AW festival experience will be showcasing the arts with Exhibitors and Artist Vendors, Anime & Video Game Voice Actors, Japanese & Asian Food, Itasha Car Displays, Guest Cosplayers, Cosplay Competitions, A Saturday Night Rave, Main Stage Entertainment, Music, and more! Our festival breaks the barriers of a usual in-door Anime convention.Join us in the 2-day escape in fresh air and jump into the awesome world of Anime.TICKETS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT THE DOOR. MUST PURCHASE IN ADVANCE. All tickets & vendor fees are non-refundable. All sales are final, transfers, cancellations or exchanges. Dates, venues and schedules are subject to change.”

Many new photos in 3rd edition of “Wounded Tiger” novel

It’s Pearl Harbor remembrance day. As a 3rd generation Japanese American/Sansei born and raised in Hawaii (but after Dec. 7, 1941), I am indirectly affected by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. My mother was a nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu and heard the bombs dropping, and my father was a dental student at USC in Los Angeles (and was forced to flee to Chicago in the aftermath of E.O. 9066). An Uncle and a cousin served honorably in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

But this post is about author T. Martin Bennett who did meticulous research and writing to bring forth this amazing true story about Pearl Harbor, the US Air force Doolittle Raiders who bombed Japan in April, 1942, and an American missionary family who lived in Japan and the Philippines. Bennett even traveled several times to Japan to do his research over a 3 year period.

Just released a month ago on November 7, 2023 is the 3rd edition of this powerful book, with many B/W photos of the 3 parallel lives during WWII.  These are 3 ultimately intersecting stories of Flight Commander Mitsuo Fuchida of the Japan Imperial Navy, Sgt. Jake DeShazer, a bombardier of the Doolittle Raiders who bombed Tokyo and other nearby cities (and became a Japanese P.O.W. in China), and the Covell family who tried to escape Japanese forces invading the Philippines.

My previous book review published in Blog for Arizona was written in March, 2014 and is still online (check our Culture/History link): 

What I wrote back then still holds true today: “It is about war & peace, extreme courage, suffering & redemption, and finally spiritual understanding. The message of love and humanity is very powerful and fulfilling in all these 3 stories.”

This 3rd edition has now numerous black & white photos of these protagonists and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and following battles, and is thereby an accurate historical document of what happened in 1941 to 1950. The additional photos truly add to the gripping drama portrayed in this historical novel. The original 1st edition published in 2014 included only a few maps.

I highly recommend this latest, improved edition. Bennett is a former Tucsonan but is now based in Tennessee. He has been trying to get this truly inspiring, epic novel, which he originally wrote as a screenplay, into a major motion picture. All info at

Ultimately, this is a story of transformation from hatred to love, and a spiritual message for all of us. (I am publishing this review simultaneously today in