For over a year I have been on a “central council” of members from the Southern Arizona Japanese community which has been organizing in the attempt to form an inclusive group to promote Japanese culture. The group is composed of Japanese Americans, Japanese Nationals, their families, and anyone else interested in the language, arts, culture of Japan.
The Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC) is established to unify the greater Japanese community in Tucson and Southern Arizona. The SAJCC shall be an organization for Japanese American families and individuals, Japanese Nationals and their families, people and organizations promoting the Japanese language, arts, and cultural activities, and anyone interested in Japanese culture. The SAJCC is meant to be inclusive.
As part of the SAJCC, we have launched a website, www.southernazjapan.org, highlighting the January 2013 grand opening of the Yume Japanese Gardens at 2130 N. Alvernon Way, where our group has been meeting. We hope to be able to sponsor events at that beautiful garden created by Executive director/founder Patricia Deridder, who lived in Japan for 15 years.
The website has a directory of Japanese cultural and educational groups as a resource, a calendar of ongoing activities and flyers of upcoming events, information about Japanese culture in Southern Arizona, such as the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site on the road up to Mt. Lemmon.
I’ve posted a few of my previous articles from the www.Tucsoncitizen.com/community on this website, as I’ve been covering Japanese cultural issues for over three years now, such as the annual speech contest in April, dance & taiko performances, the monthly origami club meetings, koi association tour events. I also teach hanafuda (flower card game) at the Tucson Japanese Culture & Origami Meetup group on the 1st Saturday of the month (or when I able to attend).
Upcoming: Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) concert at the Yume Japanese Gardens on March 8, and the 11th Annual Japanese Speech Contest on April 20 at Pima Community College West campus. The latter will have booths/exhibitions from the various aspects of Japanese culture: go board game, origami, koi, temari balls, food, martial arts, kyudo (archery), calligraphy, ikebana, taiko drumming, etc. I look forward to eating arare snack crackers every year at this speech contest, and listening to the talented young people speak Japanese.
Please check out our SAJCC website and please let us know of any events or topics of interest to the Japanese community, such as movies, art shows, cultural events.