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Sake and Lions Welcome in 2010, the Year of the Tiger

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Saturday, January 02, 2010, at 04:14PM
IMGP9656 Ed Fuentes

Cracking open a cask of Sake with a wooden mallet is known as Kagamiwari. It's a tradition for major events, including welcoming in a New Year.

When one of two ceremonial sake barrels were cracked opened New Years Day at Weller Court, the impact from the hammer splashed a bit the rice wine on the faces of some dignitaries. It must have been a rough 2009.

In the "far east" of Downtown, 2010 was escorted in with taiko drums playing and lions dancing to ward off evil spirits. It was all part of Los Angeles' Os­hogatsu, an abbreviated version of Japan's new year holiday.

Festivities began on Friday with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce-sponsored New Years Day celebration, and end tomorrow, Sunday, January 3rd, with programming at the Japanese American National Museum (JANN) and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC).

JANM (located at 1st and Central) will hold a family festival on Sunday from 11 to 5 pm. They are offering the public free admission, including for the current show, "Giant Robot Biennale: 50 Issues." Among the activities will be Kinnara Taiko, the oldest taiko group in Southern California, who will perform their signature shi shi mai lion dance at 4pm, and crafts for children.

JACCC will also drum and dance on Sunday at 1pm as part of their Kotohajima program “Hatsu Egao (First Smile).” Performances include Nihon Buyo, a traditional Japanese dance style, by troupe Fujima Kansuma Kai, Korean dance by the Eung Hwa Kim Korean Dance Company, and modern "western" dance from the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute of the Colburn School. The highlight is ritual archery in a purification ceremony by IKKYU of the Los Angeles Kyudo Archery Group. Kotohajime at JACCC is $20 general ad­mission; $18 seniors, students and groups; $15 JACCC members. For more information, call (213) 628-2725.


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