2012 / Japanese American National Museum to hold Oshogatsu Family Festival, Jan 8

JANM Oshogatsu Shishimai Performance by Kinnara Taiko

Shi Shi Mai (lion dance) peformance by Kinnara Taiko

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles will hold its 2012 Oshogatsu Family Festival with the theme of “Year of the Dragon” on Sunday, January 8, from 11 am to 5 pm.

The Family Festival is free and open to the public. It features hands-on arts and crafts activities, food demonstrations and tastings and taiko performances.

The Japanese American National Museum is located at 369 East First Street, in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012. (213) 625-0414. www.janm.org

Throughout the festival, visitors will be able to construct a dragon hat, color and decorate a festive dragon streamer and participate in the creation of a dragon likeness on a wall, using hand prints.

Origami Corner: Ruthie’s Origami Corner will teach families how to fold their own origami dragon.

Sculpture Candy and Dying Art, noon to 5 pm: Famed candy artist Shan Ichiyanagi will be creating dragon sculpture candy. At 4 pm, the candy dragons will be raffled off to visiting children.

Balloon Dragons, 1 to 4 pm: A balloon artist will be making special balloon dragons as well.

Photo Session, 2 to 4 pm: A costumed dragon will be available for photographs.

The Onigiri (rice balls) Contest – Happy Rice, Lucky Rice, 11 am to 3 pm: Sponsored by Common Grains. Participants are given one cup of cooked rice and 10 minutes to develop their own original creation. The judges will consist of Russ Parsons, columnist for the Los Angeles Times; Lynn Chen, food blogger; Omusubi shop owner Keiko Nakashima and Sunny Blue. Common Grains is a Japanese food and culture project whose aim is to promote and celebrate Japanese grains.

Osechi-ryori or Japanese New Year’s food, 1 to 2 pm:  A limited supply will be available.

Kidding Around the Kitchen, 1 to 5 pm: Hands on cooking experience of zaru soba noodles.

Mochitsuki, or the pounding of the sweet rice at 2:30 and 4 pm: Kodama Taiko will demonstrate mochitsuki while performing on taiko.

Shi Shi Mai (lion dance) at 4:30 pm: This lion dance was often used to scare off pests from crops and ward off evil spirits. Kinnara Taiko will perform.

The sale of a fukubukuro (lucky bag) at the museum store: Fukubukuro sale is a Japanese department stores’ ritual during New Year’s Day shopping. The contents of the bag are not known to the purchaser, but at least one merchandize in the bag is valuable more than the price of the bag.