Saturday, July 17, 2021
Enter our custom-built virtual world where you can explore a digital Little Tokyo, get a sneak peek into Terasaki Budokan or have a moment of Zen in the beautiful Japanese garden. Pick an avatar and interact with other attendees and entertainers! You’ll bump into old friends and meet new ones, learn about sake, and enjoy musical performances, entertainment and activity booths. We’ll have a silent auction with great items for you to bid on and fun games to play. We even have Sake tasting kits and bento boxes available for pick up. It’s only happening once, so be sure to get your tickets before they sell out!
Purchase a sake tasting kit and bento dinner to enhance your virtual event experience! Must pick up in Little Tokyo or South Bay.
South Bay Pickup: Friday 7/16 from 4pm – 7pm at opens in a new windowGardena Valley JCI
Little Tokyo Pickup: Saturday 7/17 from 11am – 3pm at opens in a new windowNishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple
*Must be 21 or over to purchase sake tasting kits
Sake on the Couch is hosted on a unique online platform and is best experienced using a laptop or desktop computer, with headphones, on the Chrome or Firefox browser.
*The platform does not support mobile device or tablets
At Sake on the Couch you’ll get to experience a live, expert-led sake tasting session from the comfort of your couch. Buy your sake tasting kit today! Each kit includes a flight of 3 bottles of sake carefully curated by our friends at opens in a new windowMutual Trading Company. Buy a VIP Bundle for a flight of 3 premium sakes!
Pair your sake with a tasty omakase (chef’s choice) bento* from Don Tahara ( opens in a new windowFar Bar/ opens in a new windowSake Dojo) with mochi (sweet rice dessert) from opens in a new windowFugetsu-do. This is your chance to bring the flavors of Little Tokyo home!
*Vegetarian option available
Buy your sake tasting kit and bento when you opens in a new windowget your ticket to Sake on the Rocks!
In the course of a remarkable career, Kevin de León has been an educator, activist, community organizer, and the first Latino leader of the California State Senate in 130 years. For the last decade, Kevin represented Senate District 24, which overlaps a significant portion of our city council district.
Prior to joining the Los Angeles City Council, Kevin was a professor, senior analyst, and distinguished policymaker-in-residence at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; as well as a Distinguished Fellow for Climate, Environmental Justice and Health with the USC Schwarzenegger Instituted at the University of Southern California.
Kevin de León was elected to the California State Senate in 2010, and in 2014 he was elected by his colleagues to lead the Senate, making him the first Latino to serve as President pro Tempore in over a century. Before his election to the Senate, Kevin served four years in the State Assembly.
Kevin is the son of a single, immigrant mother, who supported her family working as a house-keeper, among other jobs. Kevin was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college. He attended U.C. Santa Barbara and graduated from Pitzer College with honors.
Stop AAPI Hate: In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate coalition on March 19, 2020. The coalition tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the UnitedStates. Our approach recognizes that in order to effectively address anti-Asian racism we must work to end all forms of structural racism leveled at Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
Stop AAPI Hate Website: opens in a new windowhttps://stopaapihate.org/
Social Media: @StopAAPIHate
Manjusha P. Kulkarni (“Manju”, she/her) is the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), a coalition of 40+ community-based organizations that serves and represents all 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County. A 2014 recipient of the White House Champions for Change award, she is also a lecturer in the Asian American Studies Department at UCLA. In 2020, Manju and her team at A3PCON joined Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University in co-founding Stop AAPI Hate. Born in India and raised in Montgomery, Alabama to Indian immigrants, she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.
The Kansha Fund was established in 1983 as a way to give back to the community. It was founded by the employees of Inouye, Masunaka & Co., an insurance agency located near downtown Los Angeles. The pledge among the Kansha fund members is to do more collectively than any one of us could do on our own, and give back to the community we serve. Colleagues made voluntary donations to the Kansha Fund, and Inouye, Masunaka & Co. matched the contributions. The mission was and still is to help those in desperate need of a helping hand, when all other forms of social welfare have been exhausted. The Kansha Fund was made available to LTSC to identify recipients in need and extend monetary support on an anonymous basis.
In 1989, Inouye, Masunaka & Co. merged into Marsh & McLennan, the world’s leading insurance brokerage firm, and Marsh graciously continued support of the Kansha Fund. It is now led by Chris Inouye, Managing Director of Marsh. Over the almost 40 years of its history, the Kansha Fund has helped hundreds of people, often in dire straits and at the depths of despair, with resources to help turn their lives around.
Learn about sake from Mutual Trading Co.’s experts! As pioneers in sparking the trend in America to become the premier importer of Sake, Mutual Trading brings the pride and joy of artisan breweries, delivered through their carefully crafted brews. Embarking into the world of Sake is a joyful exploration into Japanese culture, cuisine, and the brewing art.
Website: opens in a new windowwww.mtcsake.com
Lisa Aihara is an artist, graphic designer, writer, and mama based in Los Angeles. An MBA-turned creative, she founded Ellette Studio to create unique brand identities for female entrepreneurs, while also working as a freelance graphic artist. Whether she’s painting pretty watercolors or drawing silly cartoons, writing about motherhood or designing happy patterns, she brings her signature humor and playful aesthetic to every project. Lisa lives with her two babies (an almost 3-year old son and brand new 3 month old daughter), husband, and pup.
Website: opens in a new windowhttps://www.lisaaihara.com/
Social media: @lisaaihara
Elena Nihoa and Melia Asucan are a mother-daughter duo who perpetuate their Hawaiian culture through dance. Elena Nihoa is a Hawaiian native from Oahu and former competitive hula dancer. She has over 30 years of experience in dance styles ranging from the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, and Tahiti. Her daughter, Melia Asucan, dances with Halau Hula Moani’a’ala Anuhea and is a teaching assistant for hula students.
Kuniharu is a Japanese Calligrapher, Hip-hop Dancer, Teacher and is 1/4th of the concept-art collective In the Attic, based in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
He collaborates with artists to combine sublime arts, merging traditional with the contemporary. Respect between different cultures is the foundation of Kuniharu’s unique work, designed to intertwine not just art but also audiences. He finds art is a great way to increase understanding amongst people of various backgrounds while communicating one’s culture in a simple and easy to understand manner.
Most notably, his works have been included in Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum’s Uneo Art Exhibition with Tamayura-kai and Atelier Cosmos, he has done lectures at Netflix, and most recently was the Little Tokyo Service Center’s (LTSC), +LAB Artist in Resident, where his project First Street North won Best Documentary Short in the 2019 Asian Film Festival of Dallas.
POINT LOBO is the musical and visual project of Miles Senzaki, drummer for legendary hip hop group The Pharcyde and composer for the hit podcast The End Of The World with Josh Clark (of Stuff You Should Know). When the wavy lo-fi pop aesthetic of Men I Trust and Toro y Moi meets the colorful energy of David Byrne and Siouxsie and the Banshees, you get Point Lobo’s world: a soulful, riotous synthpop/post-punk soundtrack to a strange dream you had after a late night anime binge.
As a singer-songwriter/composer, Point Lobo has written/produced music for film, TV, and digital media, including the new album by comedian Josh Johnson (The Daily Show/Comedy Central) and videos for Hulu, Rocketjump, and Adult Swim. As a drummer, Point Lobo has backed up artists from Syl Johnson to Barbara Morrisonto Crash Richard (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros).
Yohei is a composer and producer from Tokyo, Japan, based in Los Angeles. He makes his music outside in the garden with friends. In addition to his solo effort, Yohei created My Hawaii and is a part of Moonie Moonie. He also composed and produced the music for the feature film “Hee” (directed by Kaori Momoi).
Urban Voices Project creates supportive community spaces with music to bridge vulnerable individuals to a sense of purpose and improved health. UVP engages men, women and families across the greater Los Angeles area with music workshops in partnership with social, civic and healthcare organizations.
Urban Voices Project’s outreach choir is comprised of performers from the Skid Row neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, most of whom have experienced or are experiencing the condition of homelessness. Throughout the year, they bring the healing power of music to audiences inside and outside the Skid Row neighborhood, sharing their stories and successes of integrating music and community singing into a holistic approach to combat the homelessness crisis. These performances in turn help to shift the narrative and perception of homelessness in today’s society.
Los Angeles-based pianist/
Over the years, he has had the good fortune to perform with a “dizzying variety of collaborators” across a multitude of genres, including Richard Bona (keyboards 2015-2018), Colbie Caillat (keyboards/bandleader 2015-present), Natalia Lafourcade, Tortured Soul, Patti Austin, GZA (Wu-Tang Clan), Bennie Maupin, Sadao Watanabe, Wayne Krantz, Virgil Donati (keyboards 2014-2017) and many more. He has toured extensively since 2014, having performed in over 30 countries.
As a bandleader, McGregor has released two albums – Resonance (2017) and Live at the Baked Potato (2012) – that have both received a warm global reception from critics. Bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin and saxophonist Seamus Blake make guest appearances on Resonance, along with the core quartet that McGregor has recorded with on both albums: Evan Marien (bass), Gene Coye (drums) and Deen Anbar (guitar). McGregor is proud to to be an artist endorser for opens in a new windowNord Keyboards, opens in a new windowMono Cases and opens in a new windowMogami Cables.
Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a musician, composer, educator, and author who plays the drums, vibraphone, ukulele, and studied at Berklee College of Music. He competed in the highly prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition and has worked with many different artists such as Eric Marienthal, Eric Reed, Kamasi Washington, Katisse Buckingham, Lalo Schifrin, Barbara Morrison, Michelle Coltrane, Jake Shimabukuro, Kenny Endo, and continues to be an in-demand session musician in Los Angeles. As a solo ukulele artist, Abe is a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award recipient and has released multiple albums in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. He has headlined many ukulele festivals throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Abe is also an active educator who has conducted workshops, currently teaches private lessons, and is an instructor for the Fender Play series. He is the author of Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies (Berklee Press & Hal Leonard), which is available in stores worldwide and on Amazon. He currently endorses Canopus Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Beato Bags, Ko’olau Ukuleles, Analysis Plus Cables, Fusion Gig Bags, and Roswell Pro Audio.
Photo Credit: Christian Silver Susa
Azusa Oda is an avid home cook, food blogger, and designer. Raised in both Tokyo and the Bay Area of California, she had a bicultural upbringing that shaped the way she views Japanese culinary traditions and techniques.
She created her blog, humblebeanblog.com, in 2008 to share her contemporary variations on Japanese dishes and to show that simple and delicious Japanese food can be made at home with relative ease. While cooking is one of her passions, she nurtures an equal interest in design and has an MFA from California College of the Arts. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
SAKE DOJO is located on Little Tokyo’s Historic First Street. DOJO is a hall or space for immersive learning or meditation. The term literally means “Place of the Way” in Japanese. SAKE DOJO is the “Place of the Way” to educate and enjoy an amazing dining and drinking experience as if you were stepping into a cool modern Tokyo establishment. Be prepared to immerse yourself in a dining and drinking sanctuary in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo with authentic Japanese-style food with a modern culinary twist and a large selection of craft Japanese sakes, whiskeys and beers.
Social Media: @sakedojola
Dr. Debra Cherry is a clinical psychologist and the Executive Vice President of Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, a community-based non-profit dedicated to supporting people living with dementia and their caregivers. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brooklyn College and then completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Southern California and a postdoctoral fellowship in Geriatric Psychology at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. Throughout her career, Dr. Cherry’s work has focused on improving access to dementia care for under-served ethnic communities and on improving dementia health care. She has published numerous articles on this work and is a contributing author of California’s evidence-based Guideline for Alzheimer’s Disease Management, a practice guideline for primary care providers. She serves on several advisory bodies including the NAPA Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services.
Kristin Fukushima is the Managing Director of the Little Tokyo Community Council – the nonprofit community coalition of businesses, residents, nonprofits, and other vested stakeholders, representing the interests of the Little Tokyo community. She previously served as the Project Manager for Sustainable Little Tokyo (SLT), and continues to help lead SLT in its mission to sustain Little Tokyo for future generations. Kristin has also served as the Public Policy Coordinator for the Pacific Southwest District of the Japanese American Citizens League and as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies at the Claremont Colleges. She is a co-founder of Kizuna, a Japanese American youth development and empowerment organization, and is active with Nikkei Progressives and other Little Tokyo, Japanese American, and Asian American organizations and spaces in Los Angeles. Kristin received her Masters of Public Administration concentrating on Non-Profit Management from California State University at Northridge, and her Bachelors degree from Pomona College.
Born in Thailand and raised in Los Angeles, Martorell studied political science and public law at UCLA where she received her B.A. and her M.A. in Urban Planning with a specialization in Urban Regional Development/Third World Development.
Engaged in social activism for the past 35 years, Martorell is currently the Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center, a non-profit organization she founded in 1994 in an effort to improve the lives of Thai immigrants through services that promote cultural adjustment and economic self-sufficiency. Because of her deep commitment to creating positive change, she has also become a leading practitioner in the field of community development engaged in ongoing affordable housing development, small business promotion, and neighborhood revitalization projects. Her experiences leading to the founding of Thai CDC include work as a planner, as an aide to Congressman Mel Levine, and work with other local and state legislative offices. In the aftermath of the 1992 Civil Unrest, she co-authored the Mid-City Plan for the Coalition of Neighborhood Developers which sought to address the historic lack of economic resources in an inner city area of Los Angeles. The pivotal event also led her to documenting the demographics and social and human service needs of Thais in Los Angeles for the first time in a landmark community needs assessment study as a way to advocate for more resources in underserved communities.
In 1999, under her leadership, Thai CDC played a pivotal role in the eight-year long community organizing campaign which raised community consciousness and led to the designation of the first Thai Town in the nation right here in East Hollywood. For Martorell, the designation of Thai Town was the first step of a multi-faceted, economic development strategy to revitalize a depressed section of Hollywood while enriching the City’s cultural and social fiber.
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Kanai Foundation Fund
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Aihara & Associates Insurance Services Inc.
Little Tokyo Towers
Onishi & Associates
Kiyohara & Takahashi, CPAs
Wells Fargo Advisors/Jonathan Tanaka
Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
East West Players
Citi Community Capital
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Low Income Investment Fund
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KIWA Workers for Justice
Nikkei Senior Gardens
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