Maybe you heard the catchy music coming out of our hall and classroom and started tapping your feet to the music. Or maybe you were in one of Emily's awesome class?
Emily is a senior at West High and she chose the GVJCI to complete her Girl Scout Gold Award project! 💃 With her love and background of dance, she chose to have dance/exercise classes for children and seniors! Her class was so popular that many of her students were sad when her class came to an end!
But don't worry, she's got the choreography for both her kid's class and senior's class on video for you to practice from the comfort of your home! 🏡
By Christy Wong, GVJCI Social Media and Community Outreach Intern
I bet your mouth will drop when you open the weather app in your phone and saw the temperatures in the coming week… 93 Degrees!? Serious?! And even 100 degrees if you are up north.....
Need something to cool down yourself but lazy to go out? Beat that late-summer heat with this homemade Japanese coffee jelly!!
Coffee jelly, or Kohi Zeri in Japanese, is a light gelatin dessert that is served in many coffee shops in Japan, particularly during summer. It is very cold, refreshing, and not so sweet that makes it a great snack to help people cool down in this hot summer weather. Coffee and gelatin desserts are also very popular in Japan. Combining the two things together makes coffee jelly THE awesome dessert. Besides, it only takes a few easy steps to make it at home! So let’s get started!
To make this Japanese coffee jelly, you will need: 3 tablespoons of water, ½ cup of sugar (The amount of sugar needed depends on how sweet you want your jelly to be!), 1 ½ tablespoons of unflavored gelatin, and 16oz of hot coffee. It is important that you use hot coffee so that you can combine all the ingredients together!
Step 1: In a large bowl, pour water into the gelatin and let it soak for around 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the hot coffee into the gelatin and mix thoroughly.
At this point, you may see some clumps of gelatin not dissolving into the mixture. The mixture will also have a lot of bubbles on the surface due to constant stirring. But don’t worry! We will take care of this in the next step!
Step 4: In this step, you will need a sieve, a thin pan/dish, and a soup ladle. Hold the sieve on top of the pan and carefully pour the coffee gelatin mixture through the sieve to get rid of the clumps of gelatin!
Step 6: Cover the mixture with a plastic wrap and let it refrigerate for at least 4 hours to let the liquid set and become jelly. We know this is hard since the food is so attracting… But be patient everyone!
Step 7: 4 hours later… the wait is over! It’s almost time to enjoy! Use a knife the cut the jelly into small squares.
Step 8: Scoop out the jelly into the small bowl and you are ready to serve!
And there you go! A refreshing and cooling Japanese coffee jelly! You can lightly whip up some heavy cream with sugar and pour the cream over the jelly. You can also pair up the jelly with sweetened condensed milk! You can even cut the jelly into very small rectangles to make “coffee boba” and add them into your cup of ice coffee!
Enjoy! :D And stay cool in this hot weather everyone! ><
By Christy Wong, Social Media and Community Outreach Intern
Mount Fuji, or Fujisan, is the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the most famous mountains in the world!
Well, to be exact, it’s an active volcano. But don’t worry! It hasn’t erupted for a very long time. The last time it erupted was way back in 1707!
The mountain is located on Honshu Island of Japan, approximately 60 miles from Tokyo. Many people, from professionals to amateurs, come all the way to Japan to challenge themselves to climb Mount Fuji. The official climbing season for Mount Fuji is from Early July to mid-September (which is happening RIGHT NOWWW!!) as the weather in the mountain is free of snow and not as severe as other times throughout the year.
Given that the climbing season is soo short, Mount Fuji attracts thousands and thousands of professional and amateur climbers to challenge themselves and climb Mount Fuji. The climb maybe very long and tiring, but it is very rewarding when you see the sunrise from the summit of the mountain. Climbers become friends with one another easily as they support each other to reach their goals. In Japanese culture, Mount Fuji is associated with good luck too! So it is said that people will feel calm or even good fortune when they see the Mount Fuji!
In an effort to celebrate this special 2 month-period time of the year, why don’t we make a cute Mount Fuji origami decoration!!!
To make a Mount Fuji Origami, you will need: a piece of origami paper, some tape, and a few of your favorite watercolor pen!
Step 1: Fold the paper in half to make a triangle shape twice.
Step 2: Lift up the flap of one side of the triangle and press it down to form a trapezoid. Repeat the same step on the other side to form a sqaure.
Step 3: Fold the corners of the opposite side of the square to the mid-point of the square. This creates 2 triangles within the square. Repeat the same step on the other side to form a rhombus.
Step 4: Open up the triangle that you formed just now and press it down to make a rhombus-like shape. Repeat the same step on the 4 triangles that you made in the last step.
Step 5: Open up the flap that is between the sides you are working on. Fold it into half to make a line on the middle of the paper. Fold two opposite side corners to the middle line, just like the picture shown below. Repeat this step on the other flap to create a rhombus.
Step 6: Now we will work on the triangles that we folded just now in step 5! Fold the tips of the triangles down a little bit and fold the longest corner of the rhombus up to make a small triangle, just like the picture shown below. Repeat this step on the other side of the paper and the sides that are in between, which is totally 4 sides!
Step 7: Get 4 small pieces of tape and roll it up so that they are like double-sided tapes. Set it aside for now since we will use them in the next step!
Step 8: Secure the place of the small triangle using the double-sided tape you made just now! Repeat this step on the 4 small triangles you made in step 6.
Step 9: Almost done! This is probably the easiest and the most fun part :P Decorate the red circled part with your favorite water color pen as it will be the summit of Mount Fuji!
Step 10: This is the final step! Carefully open up the origami and press down the sides to make a square base.
Hooray!! You have made yourself a Mount Fuji at home! :D It can be a great decoration on your work table or a cute pen/pencil holder! :P
By Ha Eun (Lina) Kwon, GVJCI Social Media and Community Outreach Intern
What does Nisei mean to begin with? Nisei means 2nd generation in Japanese and the festival was originally meant to attract the first American-born Japanese in the region. Today, Nisei Week no longer targets solely on Japanese Americans (JAs) but rather expands its reach to all ethnicities. According to Nisei Week Foundation president, Michelle Suzuki, the festival is now "the opportunity for people of all backgrounds to celebrate Japanese heritage and culture."
History of Nisei Week in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles:
Its history dates all the way back to the severe worldwide economic downturn in the 1930s, era of the Great Depression. With the gradual aging of Issei (一世), 1st generation Japanese immigrants, and Little Tokyo falling into stagnation, Nisei week was once a celebration intended to attract Niseis and to help generate more youthful energy in the area. Nisei Week was also created to promote "ethnic solidarity." Utilizing Nisei Week's cultural environment, as mentioned before, Issei wished to bring Nisei back into the cultural fold of the older generation. Issei hoped Nisei to become better connectors between Little Tokyo and the communities around it.
The first festival was held on August 13th in 1934, founded by the JACL, and has continued to be held annually ever since. Nisei week typically continues for a week, from August 19 through 27 this year, consisting of various events such as the grand parade, baby shower, car show, pioneer luncheon, queen coronation and ondo.
Is everyone ready to celebrate Nisei week on the 19th with family and friends? If you are looking to celebrate Japanese American culture and history in Little Tokyo, LA, do not miss out on this awesome opportunity to connect with the Japanese American community, experience the culture and meet new people! It only comes once a year so mark your calendars now!
Happy early Nisei Week everyone!
By: Patty Hori, Nikkei Community Intern
When people think about Japanese games, people tend to think about Nintendo, Pokemon, and other popular video games. But what did Japanese children play before the invention of electricity? Well, with school about to start and new friends ready to be made, now seems like the perfect time to tell you guys some games to play with these developing friendships. Let's take a look at some of these cultural and traditional Japanese games, may of which are still played today: Karuta, Otedama, Ohajiki, and Hana Ichi Monme.
Before there was the Nintendo franchise, there was a game called Karuta that involved players to possess the same quick reflexes, ability to memorize, and ample amount of free time. Karuta is a great way for children and adults of all ages to improve on their basic Japanese language skills, keep everyones' mind sharp, and most importantly socialize with friends and family.
Karuta is a traditional Japanese card game introduced by Portuguese traders in the 16th-century. There are two types of Karuta: Uta-Garuta and Iroha Karuta.
Uta-Garuta literally translates to "poem cards" and is made up of a deck of 200 hundred cards with half being waka poems (type of classical Japanese poetry). Half of the deck is for reading, and the other half is for grabbing. The most popular type of Uta-Garuta is Hyakunin Isshu, meaning "one-hundred people, one poem."
Iroha Karuta is the easier version of this game meant for children. "Iroha" in Japanese is synonymous to the American "ABCs." I-ro-ha demonstrates how the old Japanese kana were arranged, so "Iroha Karuta" could easily be translated as "ABC Karuta." In this version, there are only 96 cards, in which half have proverbs written on them.
Through the port of Nagasaki in the mid-1500s, Portuguese sailors introduced European playing cards to the Japanese Samurai Class. These cards were called carta, which through the ears of the Japanese, turned into karuta. Finally, during the Edo Period (1600-1868), Karuta became a distinctly recognizable Japanese custom. At first, painting these cards was a painstaking process, but eventually, they became easy to mass produce because of the invention of wood block printing, making karuta cards affordable to the average family.
Here's how to play:
First of all, you need to get your hands on a Karuta Deck; this can mean borrowing them from a friend or going out to buy them. You need one caller and at least two players (the more players, the more competitive). In Karuta, there are two types of cards:
Yomifuda: "reading cards" that have written information on them
Torifuda: "grabbing cards" that have pictures and/or a written language on them
**each yomifuda has a corresponding torifuda**
Alright, now you're ready to play and this is how it goes:
If you need a visual, here is a great Youtube video of school children playing Karuta and absolutely killing it!!! Have a fun time with this game you can play with family and friends!
Otedama was traditionally played by girls, but it is now enjoyed by girls and boys, children and adults. It is usually played with five ojami (small bean bags) and used to be made out of the scraps of kimonos and filled with uncooked azuki beans. This game reached its peak popularity right after WWII when other games were not available. How can we enjoy this game today? Well, this is how.
How to play Basic Otedama:
If this is too easy for you, try grabbing two ojami at a time. After you've mastered this, you can also check out this link for more difficult variations of Otedama.
How to Play:
Hana Ichi Monme
Now, for those of you who really don’t have the time to buy supplies or make pieces, Hana Ichi Monme is the perfect game for you!!! In Japanese, "Hana Ichi Monme" means "a flower is one Monme" (a monme is a Japanese Edo Period coin). Hana Ichi Monme is very similar to the Western game Red Rover; and like Red Rover, Hana Ichi Monme is mainly played by elementary and middle school students, but it's fun for everyone.
How to Play:
3. Each team then huddles together and chooses a person from the opposing team to come over. When they decide, they stand back in line and sing the following verse:
4. The two members of the team whose names were called step up and play janken. The loser then joins the winning team's line.
5. The games ends when one team loses all of their members.
With only a few weeks of summer left and school just about to kick off, these games are awesome ways to kill free time for the remainder of the summer and a phenomenal way to meet new friends when you get back to school!!! Try them out and tag us on social media or leave a comment down below!