Hillsides Children Visit Little Tokyo and Learn Japanese Culture

Top Quote Konnichiwa Little Tokyo, a volunteer lead effort in partnership with organizations and businesses in Little Tokyo, hosted a cultural enrichment outing for vulnerable children living at Hillsides, a Pasadena foster care children's charity. End Quote
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) September 09, 2010 - The day's activities included a guided walk through locations of historical significance such as the Japanese American National Museum, talks provided by guest speakers, participation in musical and artistic workshops, as well as an opportunity to taste Japanese foods and beverages.

    "Prior to living at Hillsides, our children do not have many opportunities to experience culturally enriching activities," said Joseph Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer. "We understand the value and importance of exposing our children to diverse cultures and are grateful to Konnichiwa Little Tokyo for inviting us to learn about the Japanese culture. Arigatō."

    When Hillsides children arrived in Little Tokyo they participated in Taiko-drumming and origami workshops. Each child was given a chance to play the Taiko drums and follow along with the leader in group drumming. One young boy approached a volunteer and said he wondered when he was coming back because he really enjoyed it and remembered "making the little t-shirts out of paper."

    Children were also given a tour of the Japanese American National Museum to learn about Japanese Americans by docents, who were able to share their personal experiences about being held in the Japanese American internment camps of the 1940s. After the tour, the children were taken to a Japanese buffet and enjoyed a tasting of mochi, a Japanese ice cream.

    "Konnichiwa Little Tokyo Day makes children feel like they are in a different country and I believe exposing children to different cultures when they are young is important for their human growth," said Risako "Saki" Takahashi, who is grateful for the day's sponsors: Japanese American National Museum, Mikawaya, Oiwake Restaurant, and Zenshuji Soto Mission. Actors Rhea Pearlman and Danny DeVito initial gift to the volunteer lead organization enabled them to get support from others in the community.

    For many Hillsides children who had not been to Little Tokyo, the outing offered a different perspective of life as Americans, from injustices Japanese Americans endured to learning about the culture. Each child came away with experiencing group drumming, creating origami, listening to the stories of life at the internment camps and tasting the food.

    To learn more about Hillsides, the children's charity, and how your organization or business can provide other culturally enriching outings for the children, visit www.Hillsides.org.

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