2010 / Nisei Week Japanese Festival to open Aug 14

Come share in the Japanese American community spirit and attend the nation’s longest running ethnic festival of its kind, in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, at the 70th Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival, August 14 – 22.  Held every summer, this year’s nine days of free Japanese cultural events, activities and exhibits are packed with a variety of music and entertainment, food and fun for all age groups.

2010 Nisei Week Nebuta Parade Promotion

2009 Nise Week Queen Dana Fujiko Heatherton, right, and 2009 Princess Aimee Teruko Machida in Haneto dancer costumes of Aomori Nebuta Festival, pose in front of Nebuta float for the promotion of 2010 Nisei Week Grand Parade. (Cultural News Photo)

The second annual free Tanabata Festival (August 13-16) will color Little Tokyo’s Central Avenue and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Geffen) between Temple and First streets with large, assorted streamers (kazari). This year special karari from Sendai, Japan will be on view as well as food, game booths, and activities for the family. Other free events to be held August 14-16 include a Car Show (100 S. Alameda Street), Plaza Faire, cultural exhibits and sumo demonstration (Japanese American Cultural and Community Center).

Routed through the streets of Little Tokyo on Sunday, August 15, the Grand Parade begins at 5:30 p.m., featuring several smaller-scale Nebuta, Nebuta floats are made of colorful Japanese paper and lights whose origins come from Aomori, Japan. The Nebuta are being designed, created and paraded by local community organizations, including the parents and students from the Los Angeles Unified School District. Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu is this year’s parade marshal. Grand Marshal is long-time Nisei Week volunteer Hideo Kikuchi.

The second weekend (August 21-22) continues with more free exhibits and cultural events. On August 21 the Nisei Week Film Festival (National Center for the Preservation of Democracy) will screen Japanese American history and pop culture films (admission required). Watch or participate in the 4th Annual Dae-Lee Foods Gyoza Eating Contest on Competition Day (August 21 – JACCC), where world eating champion Joey Chestnut has won three consecutive years in a row.

On Sunday, August 22, listen and watch some of LA’s best taiko groups perform during the day’s taiko gathering (JACCC). To close another year of Nisei Week, Ondo street dancing will be held on August 22 at 3:30 p.m. on Little Tokyo’s First Street. The public is encouraged to join in this Japanese street dancing ritual. Nisei Week activities will be held in various locations throughout Little Tokyo, including the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) at 244 S. San Pedro Street.

Both weekends feature live entertainment, food and fun for the entire family. Take part and experience one of LA’s premier summer cultural events. For further information, visit www.NiseiWeek.org or call the Nisei Week office at (213) 687-7183.