Category Archives: Fundraising

TCJACL Booth at the Lantern Festival

The Como Park Lantern Festival, the largest Japanese festival in Minnesota, is inspired by the Obon Festival in Japan. This is a 500+ year old Buddhist-Confucian custom which remembers and expresses gratitude to ancestors. In Japan families hold reunions and visit ancestral graves during a time when it is believed their spirits revisit us. They celebrate with a folk dance called Obon Odori. At the end of the Obon festival, families bid their ancestor’s spirits off under the guidance of fire in a rite called Okurubi. At the Como Park Lantern Festival people line the banks of Frog Pond hours before dusk waiting for the launching of lighted floating lanterns into the evening darkness. Shorts and T shirt clad festival goers intertwine with kimono adorned women to join in the Odori street dance.

This year the TCJACL entered a booth in the Lantern Festival to raise funds to benefit our 2017 educational programs. These programs will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. Carolyn Nayematsu, Amy Dickerson, Ben Hartmann and Karen Lucas staffed our booth selling Japanese cultural merchandise such as koi, kokeshi dolls, ukioye themed fans, origami paper and hachimaki while Steve Lucas helped transport booth merchandise and supplies.

The Lantern Festival has been growing over the years and the footprint has been enlarged to accommodate several martial arts groups, food vendors, art and antique sellers, other vendors and service groups, childrens games, and a performance stage with several taiko groups and dance groups performing throughout the day.

Exploring this new venue for our organization was very rewarding. The weather was ideal. Several attendees wandered the grounds dressed in manga costumes right out of fad trendy Harajuku. Thousands of families and young adults arrived with a specific shared interest in Japanese culture (paid attendees numbered just under 12,000). An unusual concentration of race blended “hapa” and “kwota” young adults and interracial couples were drawn to our booth and we engaged several Japanese Minnesotans in compelling conversations generating contacts for potential new members!

It was profitable and enjoyable enough to start making plans to return next year!!


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Volunteer at the 2015 Festival of Nations

Click here to sign up!

The 2015 Festival of Nations will be held Thursday, April 30 – Sunday, May 3, 2015, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre at 175 West Kellogg Boulevard (map).

We will be having a merchandise sales booth. This is our chapter’s biggest fundraiser and primary source of income for the year and we appreciate all of your help.

As a volunteer, you will add up purchased items, take cash and make change without a cash register, and restock display tables. Items for sale include decorations, toys, crafts, kitchen items, and other trinkets.

Thursday, April 30

  • 9:00-12:00 5 Sales people 2 more sales people needed
  • 12:00-3:00 4 Sales people 1 more sales person needed

Friday, May 1

  • 9:30-2:00 5 Sales people 3 more sales people needed
  • 2:00-6:00 4 Sales people 2 more sales people needed
  • 6:00-10:00 4 Sales people 2 more sales people needed

Saturday, May 2

  • 10:00-2:00 4 Sales people
  • 2:00-6:00 4 Sales people
  • 6:00-10:00 4 Sales people 3 more sales people needed

Sunday, May 3

  • 10:00-2:00 3 Sales people
  • 2:00-6:00 3 Sales people

Click here to sign up!

We are also looking for help in setting up the booth Wednesday April 29 from 5-9 PM as well as take down Sunday May 8 from 6-9 PM.

All volunteers will be given an admission ticket for the day as well as a $5 credit on a merchandise item from the booth (total value over $20.00).

FREE Metro Transit passes are also available for all the days of the festival starting one hour before and ending one hour after. These will be able to be downloaded from their web site festivalofnations.com under INFO tab and select transportation.

Questions? Send us a message!

Top photo: 2014 Festival of Nations TCJACL sales booth


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2014 Normandale Garden Festival

Lucy Kirihara & Margit Jordan at the Normandale Garden Boutique
Lucy Kirihara & Margit Jordan at the Normandale Garden Boutique

Who remembers the sukiyaki dinners? Those were some good times.

The Japanese Garden Committee held a festival on Saturday, June 14, in the new Normandale student center. While there was unfortunately no sukiyaki this time, there were delicious bentos, Japanese dance and taiko performances, origami demonstrations, and bazaar and informational booths.

Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM), the Normandale Japanese language program, and Bloomington Sister City Organization were just a few of the many exciting organizations present.

Unfortunately, the weather was stormy, which put a damper on the fun. Nevertheless, Kogen Taiko packed the auditorium for their epic final performance!

Gloria Kumagai, Karen Lucas & Lisa Shakerin at the Normandale Garden Boutique representing the JACL
Gloria Kumagai, Karen Lucas & Lisa Shakerin at the Normandale Garden Boutique representing the JACL

Gloria Kumagai, Lisa Shakerin, Karen Lucas, and Jan Monson graciously volunteered their time to represent JACL with a bazaar booth. Our booth offered items such as Koinobori wind vanes, bracelets, and charms.

We also introduced Ramune soda this year! I first had Ramune while studying abroad in Japan many years ago. It is a children’s beverage that tastes delicious and comes in a clear bottle with a glass marble lodged in the top. The plastic cap comes off and must be used as a plunger to push the marble into the bottle. It is a bit hard to describe, but very fun.

Many thanks to everyone who attended and volunteered for the event. I am looking forward to next year!


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Volunteers Needed for the Festival of Nations!

We will be having a sales booth as in previous years and will have a special origami instruction area this year too. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we appreciate all of your help. We are looking for volunteers for the following jobs and times:

Volunteer Descriptions

Inventory Delivery

Coordinate a truck and driver to pick up inventory from a garage in Minneapolis and deliver it to the booth at the
Festival. Setup the cords and lights on the booth.

Booth Setup

Unpack and setup the booth displays.

Sales People

Add up purchased items, take cash and make change without a cash register, and restock display tables. Items for
sale include decorations, toys, crafts, kitchen items, and other trinkets.

Instructors

Teach kids and adults how to make a simple origami dog or cat, or a medium frog or crane. Instructions and materials for these projects will be provided. This is a great opportunity for younger members to learn teaching and communication skills.

Booth Takedown

Pack up remaining inventory. Coordinate a truck and driver to bring inventory back to the garage.

Volunteer Schedule

Tuesday, April 29

  • Afternoon: 1 Delivery

Wednesday, April 30

  • Evening: 5 Setup

Thursday, May 1

  • 8:00-12:00: 5 Sales people, 4 Instructors
  • 12:00-3:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors

Friday, May 2

  • 9:30-2:00: 5 Sales people, 4 Instructors
  • 2:00-6:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors
  • 6:00-10:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors

Saturday, May 3

  • 10:00-2:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors
  • 2:00-6:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors
  • 6:00-10:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors

Sunday, May 4

  • 10:00-2:00: 3 Sales people, 3 Instructors
  • 2:00-6:00: 4 Sales people, 3 Instructors
  • 6:00-8:00: 4 Takedown

All volunteers will be given an admission ticket good for the whole day and a parking pass.

If you are interested in volunteering, please let Jenny Olsen know which day, timeslot, and job you’re interested in.

jenny.monchichi@gmail.com
612-280-3571

Photo above by Andrionni Ribo


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