Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Youth exposure to technology in Little Tokyo

When I met a group of high school students and graduates this afternoon, I wished, for the first time, I was a teenage. They are interns from the Information Technology Agency within a ten-week internship program sponsored by the UCLA. The trip to Little Tokyo was their exposure to technology and get an idea of what is available in the downtown. Armed with laptops, they learnt to test the wireless internet network speed and surfed the web at different locations around Japanese Village Plaza. The kids appeared to be excited with this kind of hands on experience. I was impressed with their eagerness to learn when I saw them answer Davis, the Director of the Little Tokyo Unplugged Project,'s quiz with not much difficulty after listening to his presentation about the project. Technology was not kind of dry and complicated topic as they thought before. I felt envious with them as they had the learning opportunities I did not have when I was at their age. The experience inspired me to organize a youth mentorship program which develops youth leadership skills to help the community with a focus on technology.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Obon at Higashi Honganji Temple

So goodbye to the long-waited Obon at Higashi Honganji Temple. This is my second time to get to know ensemble taiko drumming. For the first time, taiko came as a traditional Japanese art form. This time, it came in a new breath, a breath of American pop rhythm and hip hop dance.

Particularly impressed were kids performing classic Japanese dances. In cute kimonos and maiko's dance steps filled with classical Japaneses music, the Lumbini Kids on the Stage showed that you did not have to make a trip to Japan to enjoy Japanese culture.

In their own language, HereandNow group brought art closer to the community. Using story-telling, HereandNow has induced the audience to reflect on issues of modern day Asian American - origins, traditions, and integration.

Culture is living when it is transfered to young generations - that was the message from the Matsumoto Martial Arts group.

Thanks Higashi Honganji Temple for the great shows and great food. A well-organized and culturally rich Obon.