Monthly Archives: May 2015

June 6: West Los Angeles Sawtelle Neighborhood Council Community Clean Up Day

May 30, 2015

cleanup

 

  • 1645 Corinth AveLos Angeles, CA, 90025United States

Come join us on June 6 from 9AM to 11AM to cleanup our neighborhood. We will be picking up trash on Sawtelle Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard along with cleaning up the areas around the West Los Angeles Regional Library, the civic center, and senior center. We will also be reporting graffiti and bulk item pickup to MyLA311 for cleanup.

We will meet at the West Los Angeles Municipal Building on 1645 Corinth Avenue. We will have coffee and donuts to start your morning and also have supplies for you!

Thanks in advance for helping to keep our neighborhood clean!

Satsuma Imports

May 28, 2015

Satsuma Imports Exterior

Satsuma Imports Exterior

Mr. and Mrs. Sakai

Mr. and Mrs. Sakai

Walk into Satsuma Imports and you’ll see several family pictures hanging from the walls.  Owners Mr. and Mrs. Sakai are always busy at work here.  Whether it be answering questions about the Japanese makeup line Shiseido, wrapping gifts (a free service of the shop), or ringing up orders, this adorable couple are very helpful to their customers.  Satsuma Imports has been open for business for a few decades.  The shop items as the store name says are imported from Japan, and they truly make unique and authentic gifts.  Some of the most popular gifts are listed below:

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Vintage Japanese Kimono

Vintage Japanese Kimono

1. The Japanese Kimono –  If you are looking to buy a vintage silk Kimono, you can purchase one here for roughly $150.00 and there are a variety to choose from.

2. Sake Sets – These make great gifts for friends and family, not to mention to have at home when entertaining.

3. Japanese Dish Sets – These come complete with a set of chopsticks.  They are lovely Japanese dish sets that are actually made in Japan, not in China.  Be sure to get them wrapped in the fancy wrapping paper before you leave the shop.

4. Tea Pots and Kettles – Beautiful designs and unique items for gifts or to just simply dress up your kitchen with color.

Shisedo Makeup

Shisedo Makeup

5. Shiseido – Satsuma Imports carries the Japanese line of Shiseido cosmetics and they have two other lines that are not carried in other stores.

When planning your visit, be sure to visit during the week.  Shop is not open on weekends.

Tea Kettles

Tea Kettles

薩摩インポート

薩摩インポートには 本物でユニークな日本製の製品が揃えられています。店に入ると家族写真が飾られオーナーのさかい御夫妻は資生堂化粧品への質問に答えたり、ギフトを包んだり(料金なし)発注したりと何時も忙しく働いています。この日本から来たオーナーはお客様に大変親切で数十年間商売をしており店の名前が示すように日本から輸入した本当にユニークで確実な品揃えはしギフトに最適です。

Japanese vases

Japanese vases

ギフト人気商品

1.着物

ビンテージ着物は$150位で種類も色々あります。

2.酒セット

友人へのとても良いギフトや自宅でのお客様をするのにも最適です。

3.日本食器セット(箸付)

食器は日本製で中国製ではありません。

4.美しい急須ややかん

ギフトにもキッチンを飾るのに最適です。

5.資生堂化粧品他店にはない化粧品2種。

ギフトは美しい紙でギフトラップしていただくことがおすすめ。

店は週末は開いていませんので週日に訪ねて下さい。

Satsuma Imports is located at:

2029 Sawtelle Blvd Los Angeles, California 90025

Hello Kitty Exhibition Closing Reception

May 25, 2015

Hello Kitty Exhibition

Hello Kitty Exhibition

Wall of Hello Kitty  Backpacks

Wall of Hello Kitty Backpacks

On Friday, I attended the closing reception party of the “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles.   The Hello Kitty exhibit was held as part of the Hello Kitty’s 40th-anniversary celebration.   The closing reception occurred in advance of the actual exhibition ending date of May 31, 2015.  In addition to the displays of Hello Kitty products through the years,  a selection of artworks inspired by Hello Kitty by contemporary artists were on display.  I am a big fan of Sanrio and grew up with Hello Kitty items so I was excited see the exhibit.

Hello Kitty Bento

Hello Kitty Bento

Various Hello Kitty Products

Various Hello Kitty Products

The exhibit was filled with items that I either owned or recognized and it brought me back to my childhood.   Back in the late 70s, my family was one of the few Japanese families living in Houston, Texas and I recall my friends crowding around me whenever I brought a Hello Kitty item to school.  At the exhibit, there were several displays of Hello Kitty consumer products including a wall of backpacks, bento items and electronic products.

Kozyndan

Kozyndan

Yoskay Yamamoto

Yoskay Yamamoto

The best part of the reception was that attendees could get their official exhibition program signed by the artists who contributed artworks to the exhibition.  When talking to some of the artists about this blog, many of the artists indicated that have exhibited artworks at Sawtelle Japantown business Giant Robot or GR2.  In fact, husband and wife artist team of Kozyndan was the first art exhibitor at Giant Robot back in 2002.  Artist Yoskay Yamamoto, an artist known for fusing urban art with traditional and mythical Japanese elements, will be exhibiting at GR2 with other Japanese artists sometime in October (check Giant Robot’s schedule of events for Yoskay’s upcoming show).

Simone Legno of Tokidoki

Simone Legno of Tokidoki

Another artist who has shown at Giant Robot is Simone Legno, creator of the Tokidoki brand, an innovative line of apparel, handbags, and accessories.   Tokidoki is known for collaboration projects with other companies such as Sanrio and LeSportSac.  Legno created a large sculpture called Kittypatra at the exhibit using trademark Tokidoki imagery. Legno has strong ties to Sawtelle Japantown as he lives nearby and has an affinity to Japanese culture.

Souther Salazar

Souther Salazar

Martin Hsu and Mark Nagata

Martin Hsu and Mark Nagata

Signed Page by Mark Nagata

Signed Page by Mark Nagata

The artists that signed my program were: Becca “Hello Kitty Hello”, Edwin Ushiro “Shading in a Heavy Line”, Jeni Yang “Merry Go Round”, Kozyndan “Kitty Visions”, “Hello Kitty Kaiju”, Martin Hsu “Hello Kitty Transcendence”, Michael Courville “Hello Kitty in Bloom”, Nicole Maloney “Hello Kitty All Stacked Up!”,  Simone Legno “Kittypatra”, Souther Salazar “Radiant Kitty”, and Yoskay Yamamoto “Space Kitty”.

Sanrio's First Collaboration with Paul Frank's Julius

Sanrio’s First Collaboration with Paul Frank’s Julius

In addition, Sanrio did its first collaboration with the monkey Julius by artist Paul Frank. He was on hand to sign programs.

I am glad that I was able to attend the exhibit before the ending date. And for those of you who have not attended the exhibition, you have until May 31st before the exhibit officially ends.  If you like Hello Kitty, this is a must go see exhibit!

For more photos from the Hello Kitty Closing Reception, go to SawtelleJapantown.com’s Facebook Page.

ハローキティ

金曜日ロスアンジェルスダウンタウンのジャパニーズアメリカンナショナルミュージアムで開催されていた超可愛いハローキティの世界という展示会終幕のパーティに出席しました。この展示会はハローキティ40周年のお祝いの一環として行われた。クロージングレセプションは最終日2015年5月31日の前に行われた。

今までのハローキティ製品に加え近代アーテイストによるハローキティに影響されたアート作品も展示された。私はサンリオファンでハローキティ製品と共に大きくなったので感激した。展示会では私の持っていた物や気が付く物で埋め尽くされ子供時代に戻った。70年代にテキサス州ヒューストンには日本人はとても少なくて学校にハローキティ製品を持っていくと友達が群がったっことを覚えている。展示場にはバックパック、弁当、電気製品等も飾られた。

この展示に協力したアーテイストがプログラムにサインしてくれてうれしかった。このブログを書くために作品提供者のアーチストとお話したところ多くがソーテルジャパンタウンにある店ジャイアントロボッㇳ、GR2に出展したことがある。2002年 コジンダン夫妻の作品が最初の展示をした。10月には日本の日本テイストが入ったヒュージョンの絵を描くヨースケイヤマモトが他の日本人アーテイストと共に展示する。(詳細はGR2スケジュール参照)

洋服、ハンドバック、ジュエリートキドキブランドのクリエーターサイモンレグノもGR2に出品。彼はサンリオやルスポーツサックとコラボする事でも知られている。彼は又オキドキのイメージを使いキティパトラという大きな彫刻も作った。サイモンはソーテルジャパンタウンの近隣に住み日本文化への造詣もある。

プログラムにサインしたアーテイストと作品はベッカ作ハローキティハロー、ウシロ作シェーデイングインァヘビーラインヤング作メリーゴーランド、コジンダン作キテイビジョン、ナカタ作ハローキティ怪獣、スー作ハローキティㇳランセンダンス、クビーユ作ハローキティインブーム、マロニー作ハローキティオールスタックアップ、レグノ作キテイパトラ

終わる前に展示を見られて良かった。見ていない方には31日まで展示されている。 ハローキティ愛好会には必見お勧め。

The Japanese American National Museum is located at:

 

 

Unique LA Event

Unique LA

May 20, 2015

 

When starting this blog about the Sawtelle Japantown area, it was important to engage in social media so that I can alert people of happenings around Sawtelle Japantown.  Up until 8 weeks ago, I had never sent out a tweet.  However, starting a Twitter account has opened up a new world of meeting interesting people, reading up on various subject matters, and finding out about the latest events.

Two weekends ago, I attended the Unique LA event, a show where vendors sell unique handmade items. The event occurred at the California Mart in Downtown Los Angeles.  I found out about the Unique LA event through a Twitter follower, Jella Roson Woodward, a jewelry designer who was exhibiting at the event and had sent out a tweet about the event.  The exhibition floor was filled with many vendors each selling one of a kind items.

Vendors included:

Honey My Heart

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Honey My Heart Jewelry

Honey My Heart Jewelry

Jewelry designer Jella Roson Woodward, a resident of the West Los Angeles area, makes all of her jewelry by hand under the brand name Honey My Heart.  All of her pieces are delicate and unique.

Tomoro Pottery

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Tomoro Pottery

Tomoro Pottery

Tomoro Pottery’s Tomoko Morisaki makes simple, earthy and modern pottery with Japanese zen like sensibility.

Minion Me

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Minion Me

Minion Me

Artist Kris Kehasukjaren draws cross over characters using the character the minion from the Despicable Me movies as the base.  Kris can make a minion out of any character.   His popular “minionized” characters are Star Wars characters and Disney princesses.

Naoshi

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Naoshi

Naoshi

Artist Naoshi makes cute fantasy type characters using a technique called sunae or sand art. She cuts out the top layer of sticky paper and covers it with various colors of sand to make one artwork.  Her technique is amazing and an instructional video can be found on her website.

ILootPaperie

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ILootPaperie

ILootPaperie

Sisters Alice and Doris Lieu of ILootPaperie design, make and sell whimsical greeting cards and prints.

Yuki Fujita

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Yuki Fujita

Yuki Fujita

Illustrator Yuki Fujita makes prints, cards, towels, t-shirts and tile coasters with her watercolor art. Her watercolor art depicts laid back California lifestyle images of surfboards, vintage cars and palm trees.

Hepp’s Salt Company

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Hepps Salt Company

Hepp’s Salt Company

Owner Brian Hepp makes gourmet sea salt combined with different spices, herbs and peppers. Hepp’s Salt Company is based in West Los Angeles.  Through a distributor, Hepps sells salts to Sawtelle Japantown restaurant Plan Check for incorporation into dishes and cocktails.

I wished that I had more time to check out the other vendors at Unique LA as so many things caught my eye. I am happy to learn that Unique LA will have a  summer event on August 8th and 9th which I will be sure to attend!
For more photos from Unique LA, go to our Facebook page.

We want to engage with our SawtelleJapantown.com readers! Follow us Twitter @SawtelleJT!

 

ユニークLA

ソーテルジャパンタウンのブログを始めた時私にとって大切 だったのはソーシャルメデイアによりソーテルジャパンんタウン 周辺で何が起こっているかをお知らせすることだった。8週間前まで私はツイートした事がなかった。ツイートを始めることにより新しい人びとに会い色々な事に関して読んだり最新イベント情報を得た。ユニークなハンドメイド製品を売る    ユニークLAというイベントに先週末行った。LAダウンタウンにあるカリフォルニアマートで開催されたこのイベントは私のツィッターフォロワーの宝石デザイナージェラローソンウッドワードさんから知った。彼女は自作販売していた。展示会場は一つしか無いようなユニークな品を
売る沢山のベンダ=で埋まっていた。

ベンダー

Honey My Heart

上記ウエストサイド在住ウッドワードさんは全てのジューリーを手作りしている。彼女の作品はデリケートでユニークだ。

Tomoro Pottery

陶芸家森崎ともこさんはモダンで禅感覚の陶器を出展している。

Minion Me

アーテイストクリスケハスカレンさんは映画デスピカブルミーキャラクターミノンを土台としてクロスオーバーのキャラクターを描く。クリスさんはあらゆるキャラクターからミノンを作る。ミノン化したキャラクターにはスターワーズワースキャラクターやデズニーキャラクターがある。

Naoshi
アーティストナオシさんは砂絵のテクニックを使いファンタジーなキャラクターを作る.ステッキーな紙上部を使い色々な色の砂で作品を作る。素晴らしいテクニックで彼女のウエブサイトで指導ビデオが見られる。

ILootPaperie
姉妹アリスとドリスルーさんが軽快な感じのカードやプリントを自作販売する。

Yuki Fujita
イラストレーター藤田ゆきさんは水彩画でプリント、カード、タオル、タイルコースターをつくる。絵はサーフボード、ビンテイジカー、やパームツリーのカリフォルニア風景だ。

Hepp’s Salt Company
オーナーのヘップさんは海塩にスパイス、ハーブ、ペパー入れたグルメソルトを作る。へプスソルト会はウエストLAにありソーテルジャパンタウンのプランチェックレストランのカクテルや料理に入れるため卸し経由売っている。

もっと他の店を見られる時間があると良かったが 次回8月8日、9日にユニークLAサマーイベントがあるので幸いだ。

 

Westside Family YMCA To Be Torn Down to Build 73 Residential Units

May 17, 2015

Rendering of 1947 Sawtelle Project

Rendering of 1947 Sawtelle Project

Exterior of Westside YMCA

Exterior of Westside Family YMCA

The following article was co-authored by Steven Sharp, editor of the Urbanize LA blog.  For more information on the latest Los Angeles urban development projects, visit Urbanize.LA and follow Urbanize LA on twitter @ubranizela.

CA Landmark Group (CLG), a Los Angeles-based real estate developer, has purchased the Westside Family YMCA at 1947 Sawtelle Boulevard with the intention of building a residential-retail complex on the site.  Plans filed with Department of City Planning call for a five-story structure featuring 73 residential units and 7,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space.  The YMCA will relocate to a new 60,000-square-foot facility near the University High School campus.

CLG’s mixed-use plan on Sawtelle is consistent with current zoning and will bring new rental housing, including below-market affordable units to West Los Angeles.  The company has more than 25 years of development experience on the Westside.  Since submitting plans to the city last year, CLG has been reached out to neighbors seeking feedback on the project through an ongoing series of monthly mixers.

The Sawtelle project is being designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios with a contemporary architectural theme similar to buildings in modern day Tokyo.  Plans call for a plaza at the corner of Sawtelle and La Grange Avenue, flanked by cherry blossom trees.  The building’s height profile will gradually pare down to a series of two-story townhomes as it approaches the adjacent single-family zone to the west.

Construction of the residential-retail complex is anticipated to begin in mid-2016, with delivery tentatively scheduled for one year afterwards.

Google Map View of YMCA Site

Google Map View of YMCA Site

ウエストサイドYMCA

ロスアンジェルスの不動産開発会社CA LANDMARK GROUP(CLG) 1947 SAWTELLE BOULEVARD にあるウエストサイドYMCAを住宅と商業施設建築の為購入した。 都市計画書には5階建て73戸の住宅と7,700スクエアーフィートの一階商業施設が建てられると登録されている。YMCAはユニバーシティー高校のキャンパス近隣に6,000スクエアーフィートの施設として転居する。

CLGの現ゾーニングに合わせ混合使用計画でより安い価格を含む貸家がウエスト
ロスアンジェルスに出来る。25年以上のウエストサイド開発経験を持つ。計画書を
提出以来CLGは近隣の人々の意見を聞き会合を毎月つ続けてきている

ソーテルプロジェクトはリオスクレメンティヘイルスタジオによりデザインされ現在のモダンな東京にあやかり現代的建築となる。ソーテルとラグランジアベニューの角にはプラザを作り桜の木をちりばめる予定もある。建物の高さは西側の1戸建てに向かって徐々に2階建てのタウンハウスとなる。

現在この複合施設建築は2016年中旬に始まり一年後に出来上がる予定。

The Westside Family YMCA is located at 1947 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025

 

Tsujita LA Annex Artisan Noodles

May 13, 2015

Tsujita LA Annex Exterior

Tsujita LA Annex Exterior

By Kristie Hang*

Sawtelle has never had a shortage of authentic ramen houses, but Tsujita has always been deserving of the ramen powerhouse spotlight. In fact, Tsujita has been so popular that there are two branches almost directly across from each other on Sawtelle. If you ask ramen aficionados, each will have their own Tsujita preference since the food is very different at both. I personally prefer Tsujita Annex over the original Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle location. Here’s why…

BBQ Pork Tsukemen

BBQ Pork Tsukemen

Pork Broth

Pork Broth

The BBQ Pork Tsukemen or dipping noodles is the most popular dish to order at Annex. The cha siu BBQ pork melts in your mouth and is very tender. The most obvious difference is that the ramen noodles at the Annex location are much thicker, roughly twice as thick than the ones at Artisan.

For those unfamiliar with Tsukemen, it’s like the ramen version of zaru soba. In essence, the hot ramen noodles come in a bowl alongside a separate bowl of soup. The noodles are eaten after being dipped in the broth. The shoyu/tonkotsu broth they use for Annex’s broth has a sweet and vinegary flavor whereas Artisan uses the salty broth. The broth at Annex is filled with layers of delicious pork fat. It packs much more flavor. Most importantly, Annex’s broth comes out piping hot unlike the lukewarm broth from the original location.

Putting the noodles in the dipping sauce

Putting the noodles in the dipping sauce

Annex also serves up tonkotsu shoyu (soy sauce) ramen while the original Artisan location does not. They also have different condiments for their noodles. Each table is stocked with freshly minced garlic, black pepper, and Japanese chili powder (onikasu). Aside from typical shortcomings such as being cash only and having meter only parking, Tsujita Annex almost gets full marks for their food. I say almost because one of the most important toppings for a good ramen is a properly cooked soft boiled egg. Annex’s soft boiled egg is not consistent enough. When it’s done just right, the runny yolk is a delectable experience for the senses. There has been times when the egg has been slightly overcooked. The good thing is however, if the egg isn’t done right the staff will happily replace it for you until it’s done right. Another quip about Annex is that the tsukemen broth may be too rich for ramen traditionalists. If you’re used to typical ramen and have never had dipping-ramen, this may be overly flavorful for you. The best way to find out if it’s for you is to give it a try.

Overall, Tsujita Annex knows how to serve up an authentic bowl of BBQ pork Tsukemen that everyone should try. The lines out the door are warranted. Check them out!

* Contributing writer Kristie Hang is a globetrotting tv host, journalist, and food writer based in Los Angeles.

Condiments

Condiments

つじ田 アネックス

ソーテルには本格派ラーメン店は沢山あるがつじ田は中でもダントツだ。事実その人気を受けてお向かいに二軒の支点(ラーメン、すし)を作った。ラーメン通に聞くと二軒の味はかなり違い各々自分が好む店があるようだ。私はオリジナルのつじ田本店よりアネックスが好きだ。

理由はアネックスでの一番人気は焼き豚つけ麺で焼き豚は口の中に溶ける位柔らかい二つの店のつけ麺の一番の違いは麺の太さがアネックスのほうが倍近く太いことだ。

つけ麺とは温かい麺にスープと具がざるそば状態で別々に提供される。麺はスープにつけながら食べる。アネックスのしょうゆ味豚骨スープは甘めで酸味がある。つじ田本店は塩味だ。アネックスのつけ汁はたっぷりの味の良いブタの油に覆われアツアツで出されるがオリジナル店のつけ汁は室温だ。

アネックスには本店に無い豚骨しょうゆ味ラーメンがある。又ガーリック、ブラックペパー、七味などがテーブルに備えられている。キャシュのみとかメーターパーキングしかない不便さはあるが

食事に関してはほぼ満点だ。私がほぼという理由は温泉卵がたまに固すぎて黄味がトロッと出ないことがある。その場合頼めばスタッフが笑顔でとりかえてくれる。伝統的ラーメンに慣れた人はここのつけ麺は味が強すぎると感じるかも知れないがお試しになって決めたらいかがでしょう。

つじ田アネックスでは試食してみるに値する本物の焼き豚つけ麺が提供されいつも行列のあるレストランです。

Tsujita Annex is located at:

2050 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning With Jack Fujimoto

May 10, 2015

Dr. Jack Fujimoto

Dr. Jack Fujimoto

By: Joel Epstein*

One of the best things about writing about Los Angeles and the West is the interesting people I get to meet and talk with about their lives. Today was no exception.

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jack Fujimoto, a longtime resident of Sawtelle Japantown in West LA.

Sitting in a quiet corner at the back of Teddy’s Cafe at Pico and Bundy, Dr. Fujimoto generously shared his life story and wisdom in a free ranging conversation about Japanese Americans, life in the West and change.

At 87, Dr. Fujimoto is a picture of the clear minded octogenarian I hope to be someday. Born in 1928, Masakazu Jack Fujimoto was the first Asian American to serve as president of a major college or university in the mainland U.S. But as he shared with me, the job didn’t come easy, given the subtle discrimination that was part and parcel of the times in 1977 when he became president of Sacramento City College.

“I was in Kauai on vacation with my family when this guy from Sacramento called and said, ‘Would you like to be considered for the presidency?’ It was clear he wanted me to say no. But I came back from Kauai and interviewed and then interviewed again, and finally, I got a call from the only African American on the Board and he said, it’s yours.”

In spite of the subtle discrimination he experience in the hiring process, Jack is proud of what he achieved during his time at Sacramento City College. He points proudly to his support for gays and lesbians at the school (at a time when this was uncommon) and to a program he started for learning disabled students.

Born in National City to an Issei father and Nisei mother, Jack calls himself a second generation and a half Nisei. The oldest of six children, he grew up in the Encinitas and Cardiff areas where his father was a truck crop farmer selling peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. “He was basically a sharecropper because he couldn’t own land since he wasn’t a citizen.” One of only about a dozen Japanese Americans in his high school, Jack’s youth was rudely interrupted by Executive Order 9066.

The order which prescribed certain areas of the U.S. as military zones, was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. It forced some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans into internment at ten concentration camps in the interior in the West. “The order was signed February 19th and by May 19th I was in Poston Camp in Arizona. Poston was probably the largest of the camps. We were allowed to carry only two bags of hand luggage. What would you take, I used to ask my students? I was 13 years old. It was terribly traumatic.”

“At Poston the camp school was terrible. I had a teacher who we called Prune Face. She looked like a cartoon character from the time. But I got a good Japanese education and I also worked part-time at the camp in the motor pool, in the machine shop and sometimes we went off camp to Parker. I was pretty big and could take 60 pound blocks of ice and transfer the ice from  the train to semi-trucks that hauled the ice to Poston for refrigeration purposes. Another year I worked in agriculture picking watermelons. The best part was when you picked a watermelon and dropped it and got to eat it.”

Jack told me that there was some resistance to Executive Order 9066 from people like Fred Korematsu. And there was a lot of quiet, unsung resistance from those in the camps.

As much as he has been through, for Jack, one of the most important events in his life was “when my old man said I don’t expect you to follow me into farming. I wanted to be a teacher and I would have been a terrible farmer. I couldn’t make a living at it. I can teach but I can’t farm or garden.”

Despite his experience interned at Camp Poston from 1942 to 1945, Jack volunteered to serve in the U.S. military during the Korean War. After studying Japanese at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, and at a counter intelligence school in Baltimore, Jack traveled to Japan where he served from April 1950 to July 1952. “Those were terrible times, when North Korea invaded the south,” he told me. “I was one of the privileged ones, out of a unit of 15, I was able to stay in Japan during the war. I’d have had my tail shot off, the North Koreans decimated entire companies of soldiers.”

Japanese Institute of Sawtelle

Japanese Institute of Sawtelle (Photo by SawtelleJapantown.com)

In 1952, Jack returned to California and settled in Sawtelle. “Under the McCarran-Walter Act my parents got naturalized so they could buy property. The tanomoshikō, a sort of credit union (or traditional Japanese mutual financial assistance group) helped a lot. Restrictive covenants were still in place and realtors would be careful what they showed you. When we were relocated to Poston, my parents left their house and everything to a Mexican employee. They lost everything. Other people knew to put their house in trust with the banks or groups like the Red Cross which took over the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle during the Executive Order. When I was in high school in Encinitas I was to be the star of the high school play. I lost that, but think about the guys who were at Berkeley and Stanford, a semester away from graduating, and they couldn’t graduate. It was traumatic for the young people. For everyone.”

About resistance to the Executive Order, Jack said “The Japanese American Citizen League told us to go to the camps. Others said no. Some moved east of Highway 99 but then they had to move again. Lots of Issei parents had no desire to stay in the U.S. Of the 120,000 who were interned the government probably paid reparations to only about 50,000 or 60,000 alive in 1990 (others put the figure at $1.6 billion in reparations to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs).”

Sawtelle Japantown Sign

Sawtelle Japantown Sign (Photo by SawtelleJapantown.com)

Regarding Sawtelle Japantown, Jack told me that for a long time he had thought about all of these Nisei and Sansei and the stories they have to tell about their lives in the neighborhood, in the camps and beyond. This idea gave birth to the oral history project at the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle. “Then last year some of the younger people said let’s create a [virtual presence for Sawtelle Japantown] that recognizes the historic Japanese character of the area.” Concurrently the group sought City Council recognition of the area bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard to the north, Pico Boulevard to the south, Centinela Avenue to the west and the 405 freeway to the east as “Sawtelle Japantown.” On February 25, 2015, the Council unanimously approved the designation.

With all the change taking place in Sawtelle Japantown, Jack hopes to see further efforts to recognize throughout the neighborhood, the contributions and experiences of Japanese Americans. One idea is to create a monument at the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle that commemorates the spot from which Japanese and Japanese Americans were gathered in 1942 for their transfer to the internment camp at Manzanar.

Discussing the transformation of popular Sawtelle Japantown, Jack points to the increased densification and the decline of Japanese American institutions like Troop 39 of the Boy Scouts of America and the Bay Cities Gardeners’ Association. It is also no secret that there are plans to build housing on the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle site as well as two adjacent properties. All the more reason, in Jack’s view, for the community to push for a memorial to the deportees of Executive Order 9066, and preservation and beautification efforts like the planting of cherry blossoms (sakura) along Sawtelle Boulevard. As Jack relates in his 2007 book on Sawtelle Japantown, it was local residents like Miyoko Shimahara who in 1994 initiated the campaign to import sakura for the beautification of Stoner Park.

I don’t always love Mondays but Jack Fujimoto made this one special. Thank you Jack for sharing your story and for the history lesson.

*Contributing writer Joel Epstein is a writer and communications strategist for business, government and non-profit clients. His writing focuses on Los Angeles and the West. For more about Joel visit joelepstein.com.

Dr. Fujimoto interviewed at the Sawtelle Japantown renaming celebration

Dr. Fujimoto interviewed at the Sawtelle Japantown renaming celebration (photo by SawtelleJapantown.com)

Dr. Fujimoto with West Los Angeles Neighborhood Chair Jay Handal

Dr. Fujimoto with West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Chair Jay Handal at the Sawtelle Japantown Renaming Celebration (photo by SawtelleJapantown.com)

富士本ジャック氏と過ごした月曜日の朝

ジョエル エプスタイン

ロスアンジェルスやウエストサイドについて書く一番好いことは色々な人と出会い彼らの人生について語りあえることだ。今日も例外ではない。

今朝は長い間ウエストサイドのソーテルジャパンタウンに在住する富士本ジャック博士にお目にかかった。

ピコとバンデイの角にあるテデイズカフェ(Teddy”sCafe)の静かなコーナーで日系アメリカ人や ウエストサイドの生活と変遷の人生の物語と知恵を自由に聞かせてくれた。

87歳の富士本博士はしっかりした心を持った私がいつかなりたい八十代だ。1928年生まれの富士本博士は初めてのアメリカ本土主要大学のアジア系 学長となった人だ。彼がサクラメントシティカレッジの学長になった1977年頃は希薄な差別が有り学長職は簡単に手に入らなかった。

カウアイ島で家族と休暇旅行中サクラメントの男性から電話が有り学長候補になりたいかと聞かれたが彼は私にノーと言って欲しかったようだ。しかし私は休暇から戻りインタビューを受け続け最終的には唯一の黒人の役員からの電話で仕事が決まった。

希薄な偏見経験の中でも博士はサクラメントシテイカレッジ(Sacramento City College)で達成した事には誇りを持っている。ゲイとレスビアンを認めたこと(当時は稀なこと)障害者への学びのプログラムを始めた事等だ。

博士は一世の父と二世の母を持ちナショナルシテイ(National City)で誕生。自分の事をニ世半と呼ぶ。六人兄妹の長男でエンシニタス(Encinitas)やカルディス(Cardiff)地域で育った。そこで父はペパー、トマト、レタスをトラックから売る小作人で私の高校の日系人十二人程の国籍が無いため土地を持て無い中の一人だった。博士の青春は大統領の行政命令9066により中断された。

1942年2月19日に発令されたアメリカのある地域をミリタリーゾーンとする行政命令はフランクリンデラノルーズベルトにより署名された。12万人の日本人、日系人が十ヶ所の西部地域で強制収容された。命令は19日に調印され私は19日には一番大きいアリゾナのポストン収容所にいた。2個の手荷物だけが許された。君だったら何を持っていく?と私は学生たちに質問したものです。私は13歳ですごい精神的衝撃となった。

キャンプの学校はひどかった。漫画に出てくるようなプラム色の顔色をした先生だったが日本の良い教育が受けられた。私はモータープールやマシーンショップでパートとして働きキャンプの外のパーカー(Parker)にも行った。体が大きかったので60kgの氷をキャンプへ送るように貨車にものせた。別の年にはスイカの収穫をし落とした時には中身を食べられのが良かった。

これまつフレッド氏のように9066の命令に抵抗した人もいた。キャンプ内でも沢山の静かな抵抗はあった。

色々あったが父が農民にならなくてもよいと言った日が博士にとって一番大きな出来事だった。私は教えられるが農耕は無理だった。

強制収容体験が1942年から1945年まであったが米軍に朝鮮戦争の時志願した。モンテレイにある防衛外国語学校で日本語をボルティモアで情報活動を学んだ。1950年4月から1952年6月まで日本で勤務した。北朝鮮が南朝鮮を侵略した時15人の隊の中で私は一人日本に残ることとなった。隊は北朝鮮により全滅された。本当にひどい時代だった。

1952年にカリフォルニアに戻りソーテルに定着した。両親はマクカラン、ウオルター条例により市民権を得土地を購買できた。Tanomoshikō という経済の日本人互助会が大いに助けになった。まだ買える場所に制限があり不動産屋は見せる場所に気ずかっていた。ポストンに移住した時両親は家や全ての物をメキシコ人の使用人に預けたが全てを失った。他の人々は銀行やレッドクロスに信任する事を知っていた。

エンシニタスの高校時代私は学校の劇でスターになるはずだった。それは成らなかったがバークレー校やスタンフォードで後一学期で卒業出来なかった学生たちの心痛は酷いものだった。若者全てにとって凄い精神的トラウマのある時代だった。

行政命令に対しての抵抗に関しては ジャパニーズアメリカンリーグはキャンプ行きを提唱他のグループは反対した。他の場所に移る人もいたが大変ではあった。一世は在米意欲が無くなり収容された12万人のうち国が補償金を払ったのは1990年生存者5,6万人でしょう。(他の数計は1.6ビリオンを82、219人の収容者やその家族に支払ったというものもある。)

ソーテルジャパンタウンに関しては長い間日系人の体験に関して思いをはせたが昨年ソーテルの日本協会歴史の語りべプログラムが始まり又若者達がこの地域の歴史的背景を組み入れたバーチュアルなソーテルジャパンタウンをつくろうと言う話がでた。同時に市議会に対して南北はサンタモニカからピコ東西はセンチネラから405フリーウェイに囲まれた地域をソーテルジャパンタウンとする旨を陳情した。市議全員一致で本件はきまった。

ソーテルジャパンタウンの発展に伴い博士はソーテルジャパンタウン近隣の日系人、日本人の貢献を知ってもらう事への努力と又1942年マンサナール(Manzanar)収容所へ送られる時の集合場所だった日本協会に記念碑建造を願っている。

変遷とともに街は混み合っている一方39ボーイスカウト,ベイシテイガードナーアソシエーション等は後退していると博士は語る。ソーテル日本協会と隣の二つの土地に住宅が建つ予定もある。博士の気持ちとしては 収容所に行った人々への記念碑建立、ソーテルブルバードにサクラなど植え地域を美化する事等地域住民が頑張り早急にやるべきと感じている。2007年博士著ソーテルジャパンタウンに記されているが地元民島原みよこ氏は1994年に桜の苗を日本より輸入しストーナーパーク(Stoner Park) の美化をはじめた。

月曜日は苦手だが富士本ジャック氏が特別な日にしてくれた。貴方の物語と歴史を共有させて頂きありがとうございました。

Joel Epsteinは作家、ビジネス、政府、非営利団体のコミニュケーションストラテジスト。彼はロスアンジェルス、ウエスト中心に書く。彼の情報はjoelepstein.com.。

 

1/3 Cut Nori (Seaweed) / 1/3 カット海苔

May 7, 2015

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Front and Back of Mizyuniya 1/3 Cut Nori

Front and Back of Mizyuniya 1/3 Cut Nori

I am always looking for items which make my life a little bit more convenient.  I buy the Yakinori 1/3 Size by Mikuniya.  There are 15 sheets of nori in one package. You can wrap the nori onto an onigiri or eat it on its own.  You don’t have to hassle with cutting the larger sheets of nori.  You can find this Nori at Nijiya for $5.99. It’s pricey, but worth it for me to pay this amount for the good taste and quality, and best of all not having to hassle with cutting the larger sheets.

Nori on a Onigiri (Rice Ball)

Nori on a Onigiri (Rice Ball)

1/3 カット海苔

私はいつも利便性をかんがえています。ニジヤマーケットで売っている三国屋1/3サイズ焼き海苔15枚入りを愛用しています。お握りに巻いたりそのままいただけます。海苔の味はとても美味しくパリッと噛み切れお値段は高めですがハサミをその度に出さなくてよいし 高品質を考えるとおすすめお便利商品です。

Mizuniya Nori Full Size Sheet

Mizuniya Nori Full Size Sheet

Nijiya Japanese Food Market is located at:

2130 Sawtelle Blvd., #105, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (in the Sawtelle Place strip mall)