Monday, October 31, 2005


At long last, the Little Tokyo Mural "Home is Little Tokyo" was officially unveiled on Saturday. The mural is simply--amazing. From the streets of J-town and 500 volunteers, to Sergio's backyard over the winter, to our garage this summer, it was surreal to see all 20 panels assembled and together on the wall in J-town. Roughly 150 people came to the unveiling, including 16 members of both our families.

I will put more pictures on the main website when I have more time, but here are a few of the many pictures we took on Saturday at the Unveiling ceremony and celebration.

Everyone in front of the mural immediately following the unveiling

The Kuida's and the kiddies

Tony's dad Larry with his cousins Marlene and Bob from Riverside

Tony, Jenni and Maiya enjoy the celebration

Nobuko, PJ & Yoko after performing at the Unveiling

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Journey with The Triangle Project

My latest Rafu column is on the Great Leap website. My Journey with The Triangle Project. Hope you will click the link and read my article. Then email or call to buy your ticket to the show! Of course, the article is also about my favorite topic, Maiya!

Also, update is that the J-town mural is up!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

6 Teeth and Busy Days

Just wanted to show off Maiya's 6 teeth. And yesterday, tooth #7 came in. Can't believe our girl is going to be 9 months old next week. If you told me she would be this active a few months ago, I wouldn't have believed it. She is into everything. Like a Jack Russell terrier or the Energizer Bunny, the girl just goes and goes and goes.

We have been busy. Yesterday, we went to lunch with Iku, then we spent the afternoon at Ikea. I was returning a $15 item, and somehow wound up with 3 bags of stuff, spending over $60. Ya know how that just happens. Today, we went to the Little Tokyo Community Council meeting. Lots of comments and questions about Maiya in the sling. She was pretty good, although I did walk outside with her a few times.

Maiya took her afternoon nap while I walked through J-town with Nancy, who organized the Little Tokyo mural. She is working so hard to arrange the final installation of the mural, plaque and the unveiling program. As of this afternoon, they had put up the framing for the bottom of the mural, along with some of the brackets that will hang it. The unveiling program is set for this Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 am, corner of First and Central. Email me if you want a free parking pass.

Before heading to the office, we went to the JACCC box office to pick up some tickets for The Triangle Project: Journey of the Dandelion, featuring Nobuko Miyamoto, Pj Hirabayashi and Yoko Fujimoto. I have tickets available for $20 each (value $22 or $25) if you want to buy them through me. Or you can pay full price on the Great Leap website or through the JACCC box office. The show is Nov. 5th.

I hope you'll come to both the mural unveiling and the performance. Kuida-Osumi have been working hard on these projects, and you can see Maiya and her 7 teeth at both events.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

2 Baby Activists in 1 Week!

Welcome to Rockett Ito Wong, born October 18th! Congrats to parents Les, Steve and Auntie Noelle! And then a big welcome to Tula, born at a birthing center in Detroit on October 21st! Good work, Scott and Emily! I see little API artist/activists running around very soon.

So excited for our friends, can't wait for them to become friends with Maiya!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Family News, Good and Bad

The good news, actually the great news, is that Tony's mom Fran has finally found her sister Barbara, who lived about 10 miles west of New Orleans. Through other relatives, we had heard that Barbara, her husband Fred and their kids were at a hotel west of New Orleans, then a shelter in Baton Rouge, then we heard they were staying with Fred's son's family. Anyways, Fran has been searching for Barbara for the last month and a half, and googled upon a feature article in the Times-Picayune, that ran on Sunday. Fran finally talked to Barbara and Fred in the last two days. Everyone is fine. What a relief. The article "Shelter from the Storm" tells Barbara's family's story since Katrina.

The bad news, actually the sad news, is that we just heard Tony's Great Uncle Chi passed away. We visited with Uncle Chi and Auntie Aiko back in August when we went up to visit them in Washington for our vacation. Uncle Chi was a farmer in Central Washington for many decades. Our condolences to the family, especially Auntie Aiko.

Uncle Chi & Auntie Aiko in 2002

It's been a rough day and I'm exhausted. I think Maiya is teething again--her 7th tooth is showing and her bottom molars are looking kind of swollen with some white things sticking out of the sides. Poor thing... she's fussy, she wants to nurse constantly and barely naps. It's after midnight and she FINALLY just fell asleep. We have a pretty busy day tomorrow. We'll have to play it by ear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Get your Triangle Project tickets today!!!

This is Great Leap's big production for 2005. Nobuko, PJ & Yoko have been working on developing this piece for 5 years. It is the culmination of 90 years of experience as professional/community artists. I hope you will come. It is going to be a transformational, spiritual moment, that will be seen one night only in Los Angeles on November 5th. And, for you Northern California folks, catch it at CS¨ Monterey Bay on October 26th. See the Great Leap website. Get your tickets today! Jenni

Unites Three Renowned Women Artists of Japanese Descent

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) presents THE TRIANGLE PROJECT: Journey of the Dandelion, an international collaboration featuring Yoko Fujimoto - principal vocalist of KODO, PJ Hirabayashi - Creative Director of San Jose Taiko, and Nobuko Miyamoto - Artistic Director of Great Leap; and directed by Kevin Higa.

The Triangle Project: Journey of the Dandelion is a meditation on peace that takes the audience beyond performance, invoking ritual through stories, taiko and dance, to bring light and harmony to our fractured world. Much like the resilient dandelion that endures the harshest environments, these artists explore their common roots and disparate experiences as Japanese and Sansei (third generation Japanese Americans) through dislocations caused by migration, war, and atomic holocaust. Using the vibration of their compelling musical experience they invoke a universal call for unity for a world rapt in violence.

These three women have made significant and lasting contributions to their individual art forms nationally and internationally for over 30 years. The physical exuberance and musicality of PJ Hirabayashi’s taiko has been the trademark of San Jose Taiko, inspiring taiko groups across the U.S. and abroad.  Nobuko Miyamoto’s songs pioneered a cultural voice for Asian Americans, continuing through her theater works that speak to deepen relations between diverse peoples. Yoko Fujimoto, with KODO, reclaimed Japanese folk songs and made it her own with her powerfully moving voice.

Hirabayashi, the initiator of The Triangle Project, explains, “I have been friends with Nobuko and Yoko for many years and have been profoundly inspired by each of their artistry. We first came together in 2000, with Nobuko and Yoko meeting for the very first time. The Triangle Project has been a gift for us to explore and distill our work to the basic essence of simplicity and beauty and to overcome the challenges of distance, language, and culture to form a universal expression of spirit and values.”

The Triangle Project: Journey of the Dandelion is a co-production of San Jose Taiko and Great Leap, Inc.  One performance only on Saturday, November 5, 2005, 8 pm at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.
$25 orchestra, $22 balcony, $20, $17 JACCC members and groups, $15 student rush, day of show. Charge by phone (213) 680-3700, Fax (213) 680-1872. Box Office Hours: 12-5 pm, Monday thru Saturday. or

"The seeds of the dandelion
Scatters in the sky
A wind born weed, a wildflower
Watch it fly…
Dancing on the wind, spinning to a world beyond the eye
Dancing on wind, new life begins…"

The Triangle Project: Journey of the Dandelion
November 5, 2005, Saturday, 8pm

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mural Unveiling Planned for Little Tokyo!

Last year, the most common question my wife Jenni heard while pregnant was, “When are you due?” This year I’ve been bombarded with, “When will the Little Tokyo mural be finished?” As the mural designer, it’s been a long labor, but this proud papa is relieved to report that all twenty 4” x 8” mural panels are finally finished and were recently delivered to the Little Tokyo sign hanging company, Three Star Signs.

Titled Home Is Little Tokyo, the colorful 16 x 40 foot mural combines images from Little Tokyo’s 100-year history into a festive scene complete with hanging lanterns and odori dancing. You’ll see images from Nisei Week, taiko drummers, the Redress Movement, and more. Along with welcoming visitors and beautifying the area, the mural captures and passes on J-Town’s rich history.

Currently, the mural is in the process of being assembled and hung at First Street and Central Avenue along the Japanese Village Plaza parking structure. On Saturday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m., a mural unveiling is planned and the public is invited. The program will include a mural dedication, as well as entertainment and refreshments.

Two years ago, we started the project by holding public meetings and getting mural ideas before any designs were drawn. Instead of using only experienced painters, we chose to be inclusive and encourage people of all ages to paint. Our goal wasn’t just to make a mural, but to build a sense of community. In total, almost 500 individuals, groups and organizations took part in planning meetings, public painting days and countless hours of behind-the-scenes work to make the mural come alive. With new development planned for Little Tokyo, the mural’s approach can act as a model for Little Tokyo’s active involvement in corporate and civic projects.

I want to thank all the people that came out and helped make the mural possible. While a mural plaque will acknowledge everyone, it won’t capture the energy and spirit of teamwork people brought to the project. One weekend, over 200 people came out to paint—including basketball teams, families, college students, seniors, shop owners, residents, and even tourists.

One of my favorite moments was when my 6-month old daughter Maiya “finger painted” the very last details of the mural. When she gets older she’ll know there’s a little bit of herself in the flames on the Day of Remembrance candles.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a community to paint a mural. So come out to the unveiling on October 29th to celebrate our history, hard work, and the idea that Home is Little Tokyo.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It's October!

Getting ready for Halloween!

Wow, hard to believe it's October already. The Kuida-Osumi household has been sick as of late. I've been sick for 15 days now. Ughh. Maiya had her first real cold, not too bad, but she had a runny nose for a week. Tony's been coughing the last few days. Last weekend, we went to the LA County Fair out in Pomona. We met Tony's dad and his friends there. There was so much to see and do, we probably only got about 1/4 of the way through it all, if that. It was fun, but exhausting!

At the Fair with Daddy and Grandpa Larry

Yesterday, we visited Mike, Laura and Amani. Today, Maiya and I went to the Pumpkin Patch/Fall Harvest Festival at Underwood Family Farms with my sister and brother's families. The kids had a lot of fun playing with the animals, riding the tractors, slinging corn, running through the corn maze, and drinking lemonade with a licorice straw. We bought pumpkins, too!

Darin, Saori and Kyle

Gayle, Lee, Kieth and Kaylee

Well, I'm going to run. Tony is making raspberries in the next room and Maiya is squealing like crazy! I'm going to get off the computer and go join in the fun!