Every New Year, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) hosts the annual Oshugatsu Family Festival, a free family event commemorating the New Year. 2015 is the Year of the Sheep, so the fine folks of Little Tokyo’s JANM incorporate sheep-themed activities, cultural performances and kid-friendly crafts to help foster public awareness to Japanese culture, on the first Sunday afternoon of 2015.
Before attending the celebration, my family and I decided to first grab lunch at one of our favorite kid friendly restaurants, Wurstkuche, known also as the local “purveyor of exotic grilled sausages.” Wurstkuche is also located in Downtown Los Angeles, at the nearby up-and-coming Arts District, just east of Little Tokyo.
After enjoying our fine meal, we decided to walk two blocks west towards Little Tokyo for the Oshugatsu Family Festival. Along the way, we admired the colorful urban murals that adorned the walls.
We finally arrived in Little Tokyo, where we were greeted by what seemed to be this enormous, interactive, Rubik’s Cube-like, art installation.
JANM did not disappoint with the arts and crafts! Check out my kiddies and their intense concentration towards making handmade Daruma dolls and paper/yarn sheep.
There was even a free sampling of authentic Japanese Udon, seaweed and fresh vegetables.
As promised, the highlights of the day involved demonstrations of the ancient Asian folk art of candy sculpting, mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration and various Taiko drumming performances.
We ventured off and away from the Festival and did some sightseeing on the main plaza of Little Tokyo. The children became enamored with what they thought were authentic Samurai and/or ninja katanas. They were later excited to see actual ceramic Daruma dolls, similar to the plastic ones they created at the Festival, being sold at a nearby gift shop.
The Oshugatsu Family Festival is an annual event, so if you happen to have free time this time next year and would like to take an adventure, check out what the Japanese American National Museum has in store.
2015 Japanese American National Museum’s Oshugatsu Family Festival
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012
Wurstkuche – Arts District
800 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
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