OCTOBER PROGRAMS FOCUS ON 'KOKESHI' CLOSING, TARGET FREE FAMILY SATURDAY OCT. 10: Alan Pate to Discuss History of Hina-Matsuri (Girls' Day) Dolls on Oct. 4


Chris Komai - ckomai@janm.org - 213-830-5648

Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum is featuring a variety of programs that are family-friendly in October, beginning with a sushi making workshop on Saturday, Oct. 3, a lecture discussing the meaning of the dolls used for Girls’ Day on Sunday, Oct. 4, and the popular Target Free Family Saturday program set for Saturday, Oct. 10, with the theme of "Toy Shoppe!"

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the Sushi Chef Institute will conduct a special workshop from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the art of making sushi. The institute was founded by Chef Andy Matsuda, the first person authorized to serve as a sushi instructor by California's Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Institution. Participants will learn the basics of preparing and creating the various rolls and pieces and the skills for cutting fish, skills that participants can use to make sushi at home. Supplies are included. Fees are $40 for National Museum members and $50 for non-members. To learn about the Sushi Chef Institute, go to www.sushischool.net.

The following day, Sunday, Oct. 4, beginning at 2 p.m., East Asian scholar Alan Pate will discuss the history and traditions of Hinamatsuri or Girls’ Day, which is celebrated every March 3 in Japan. This program is scheduled for the closing day of the National Museum exhibition, Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy, developed in collaboration with the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusements (LATDA) Museum. Pate, who has written a book and curated an exhibition with the title, Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll, observed, "The doll in Japan holds layers of meaning and symbolism which anchors it more deeply in Japanese culture than its Western equivalent." Some Japanese American families continue to display their Girls’ Day dolls in March, but the history and significance of them is often unclear. Pate will clarify this subject. This program is free to National Museum members or with admission.

The October Target Free Family Saturday event continues the series of free programs at the National Museum with "Toy Shoppe!" on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hands-on arts and crafts activities include Ruthie’s Origami Corner and this month’s project, "Boo! Make Your Own Origami Ghost" for Halloween; create and mold your own character using air-dry clay; and fabricate your own furry friend.

From 1 to 4 p.m., Kidding Around the Kitchen will show families how to make a fun and edible art project. This month, participants will make their own fruit buddy. Kidding Around the Kitchen encourages families to make and eat food together and provides tips on smarter shopping and healthier choices. For more information on Kidding Around the Kitchen, go to www.kiddingaroundthekitchen.com.

At 1 p.m., author Ken Mochizuki will read from two of his books: Be Water, My Friend, the story of Bruce Lee’s childhood; and Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story, which tells the remarkable story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat during World War II, who issued life-saving visas to many Jews escaping from the growing threat of the Nazis. Lee is known as a martial arts cinema pioneer, but Mochizuki focuses on his early life, growing up in Hong Kong as a short, skinny, nerdy boy with poor eyesight who frequently got into trouble. Through mental and physical discipline and the slow process of understanding the philosophies behind the martial arts, Lee makes himself into the person who became world famous in the 1970s.

At 2 p.m., a workshop will be given on hula-hoops with a twist, using Hiphoops. Hiphoops are fitted from high-grade, polyethylene plastic and then hand-wrapped with specially designed cloth tape. Their large size and heavy weight makes for easy maneuverability, while cloth tape provides additional friction. Anyone who has had trouble keeping a hula-hoop spinning around their waist will find this simple and fun. For more information or to book a party, visit: HipHoops.net.

Jersey Jim will perform magic beginning at 3 p.m. Jim has been a magician since the age of 12, when he received his first magic kit. By 14, he was performing at birthday parties and challenging local police officers to handcuff him like his hero, Houdini. Jersey Jim's Comedy Magic show is a labor of love. Jim draws on his experience as a graduate of the prestigious UCLA film school and as a working screenwriter to create original and hilarious routines that you will see from no other magician. For more information or to book your own show, visit: http://www.jerseyjimmagic.com/.

As part of the Target Free Family Saturday, the National Museum is conducting a toy drive to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Since admission is free to this event, the National Museum is encouraging visitors to bring a toy, which should be new and wrapped. New books are acceptable, too. For more information on the toy drive, please call (323.361.2371) or visit them at www.childrenshospitalla.org.

Target Free Family Saturdays are scheduled on the second Saturday of most months of the year at the Japanese American National Museum. Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with fun activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together. For more information on this series, call the Japanese American National Museum at (213) 625-0414 or go to www.janm.org.