As part of its year-end holiday sale, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i is offering 40% off everything in its Gift Shop to JCCH members from Tuesday, Dec. 15, through Wednesday, Dec. 23. Non-members from the community will receive 30% off all store items during this holiday sale.

Gently used items most liked by JCCH members are ceramic art (such as vases and large plates/platters) and textile art (such as kimono and obi), shares manager Ken Yoshida about his store’s sales. Yoshida reveals the shop’s most popular (new/unused) books on Japanese culture and AJA history are “A Resilient Spirit: The Voice of Hawai‘i’s Internees” (compiled by Claire Sato and Violet Harada) and “Kokoro: Cherished Japanese Traditions in Hawai‘i” (by the Japanese Women’s Society of Honolulu). These beloved items might make thoughtful Christmas, Makahiki or oseibo gifts (winter items given in gratitude to colleagues, clients, supervisors, landlords and service professionals) for your arty or well-read boss, coworker or personal-services provider.

Brand new items for sale include illustrator SumoFish’s “Year of the Ox” t-shirt in black or turquoise (see sumofish.net/products/year-of-the-ox), which might be on-trend for kids or hipster grownups.

Other books for sale that Yoshida recommends are “The Adventures of Ichi & His Friends: The Journey to Mountain Temple” (by writer-illustrator and practicing martial artist Michael Matsuda), because the story “teaches the social values of the martial arts to children from first-grade on up.”

Yoshida also thinks adult family members might enjoy receiving “Today’s Thought: Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man and His Message” (by son Norman H. Osumi) for Christmas, especially if they grew up loving Rev. Osumi’s “Today’s Thought,” regularly published in The Honolulu Advertiser for 35 years (which The Hawai‘i Herald reprints in its Japanese American comic art/Japanese-philosophy page at the end of each is-sue). Longtime fans of the minister’s simple but deep aphorisms could be moved by reading his inspirational speeches given in churches across the islands, while also learning of the spiritual advice-giver’s incredible life story — including his and his family’s internment in Gila Relocation Camp during World War II.

All Gift Shop visitors must wear masks, undergo a temperature check and fill out a contact-information sheet. Within the shop, they must respect social-distancing and store-capacity
guidelines, and, of course, hand sanitizer is provided. Three store-goers is the maximum allowed to peruse the Gift Shop’s items at one time; others can wait in the beautiful, peaceful grounds of the Cultural Center, an artfully designed oasis in urban Mö‘ili‘ili where benches offer a respite from the noisy holiday season outside.

SumoFish’s “Year of the Ox” tee, available in black and in turquoise, is one of the items available at 40% off for Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaiʻi members (30% off for nonmembers) during the JCCH Gift Shop’s year-end holiday sale ending on Wednesday, Dec. 23. (Photo courtesy of the SumoFish.net website)

JCCH Gift Shop hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. Parking at the Cultural Center (2454 S. Beretania St.) can be validated at the Gift Shop with $10 in purchases. A common “life hack” of many logistically clever Nikkei seniors is that they go to Diagnostic Laboratory Services (located in the Center next to the Gift Shop) around 8:30 or 8:45 a.m. — after the initial morning rush that starts at its 6 a.m. opening is over — to get their bloodworks taken, then pop by the store to purchase Japanese and other artistic items for themselves (with a few brave souls even crossing a busy, wide S. Beretania St. to visit Longs, a third multi-tasking step we would not recommend due to its riskiness!). If your grandpa or grandma can indulge in stopping by the Gift Shop and treating themselves while on their daily errands, why not you?

For more information on the sale or store items, call (808) 945-7633 or email yoshida@jcch.com. To become a JCCH member, see jcch.com/general-membership.


This Oshögatsu (New Year), Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu-Tenmangu recommends the relatively safe options of early-selection, pre-order and/or mail-order for shrine visitors who want to make donations in order to receive their 2021 juyohin 授与品 (Shintö or Buddhist spiritual items).

Popular juyohin at this shrine well-known for its colorful diversity of such items include omamori (good luck, protective and other amulets), ema (painted wooden prayer-plaques) and ofuda (paper-slip talismans), which are typically sold to large crowds of people seeking 12 months of good fortune on New Year’s Eve and Day.

Such diverse pick-up options encourage shrine-goers to enjoy what the Shintö institution calls a “more relaxed and leisurely experience” than the conventional New Year’s visits — where dense throngs of people buying juyohin in the small preschool hall across from the shrine could potentially become COVID-19 super-spreader events.

Most of these juyohin (a term which Hawai‘i Nikkei often simplify into “omamori,” as younger, Americanized JAs tend to buy this type of juyohin only, rather than ema or ofuda) will be available for donation/pickup for five days at the end of December before Oshögatsu, except for some of the more limited Year of the Cow/Ox ornaments. Generally, all juyohin have been “consecrated in religious ritual,” according to Kotohira Jinsha’s website. They are also sanitized with UV light and packaged for shrine-goers’ safety.

Early Selection. Early selection of, and donation for, juyohin will occur from Saturday, Dec. 26, through Wednesday, Dec. 30, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Kotohira Jinsha shrine (1239 Olomea Street). Those who want to take this option should wear masks and be prepared to have their temperature taken. Credit-card transactions will be acceptable.

Pre-Orders for Pickup. Pre-orders can be made from now through Wednesday, Dec. 30. People can then visit the shrine to get the items (again, wearing masks and agreeing to have their temperature taken) from Saturday, Dec. 26, through Wednesday, Dec. 30, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Orders can be pre-paid or paid at the time of pickup.

Mail Order. Perhaps the option with the least human contact, mail order, is available now through Tuesday, Dec. 29. All mail orders must be prepaid; the juyohin will be sent through the U.S. Postal Service’s Priority Mail, a service starting at $7.95 per box. The actual amount of postage will be given prior to shipping. After Oshögatsu, mail orders will resume again on Monday, Jan. 11.

Selection and shrine donation. See e-shrine.org/omamori.html for a list of the diverse types of spiritual items available for a donation, their monetary amounts as well as Chinese-Zodiac t-shirts available for sale (including an adorable “Year of the Cow” tee with that cartoon animal wearing a mask!).

For both pre-orders and mail orders, email your selection to kotohira@hawaiiantel.net; pre-payment can occur through e-shrine.org/giving.html.

This ain’t your obaachan’s (grandma’s) Hatsumode. This website also displays information on a rebooted Hatsumode (“first” shrine-visitation on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day or shortly thereafter) for 2021 such as Kotohira Jinsha’s new protocols for that visit. For instance: hand sanitizer will be provided instead of people using the washing basin near the shrine entrance; the traditional suzu bells and ropes will be removed to avoid cross-contamination; and visitors should pray on their own at the bottom of the shrine steps (“Japan style”), rather than mounting those steps and expecting the priest to wave a gohei wand or bell over their heads (“Local style”). “We want to impart positive energies, not the COVID-19 virus,” says the shrine’s website with as much humor as can be mustered in such a year.

More new rules, and other logistical details, for those who plan to participate in Hatsumode include not only mandatory mask-wearing and temperature-taking, but also that

  Groups of up to 30 people at one time can enter the pre-school hall (where juyohin are displayed for donations/pick-up) for 15 minutes, so long as they practice social distancing.

• No pets will be allowed in that hall

except actual service-dogs.

• The hall and its baskets for juyohin will

be disinfected in between groups.

• There will be NO —

oShuttle from Damien School to the shrine

o“Toshikoshi soba” (New Year’s good-luck noodles)

o“Omiki” (sacred sake or rice-wine samples)

oDrinks for sale

oShishimai (lion dance)

oBYOB bags

To follow safety protocols in the coronavirus era, the shrine also decided to cancel its most popular Oshögatsu menu items and food prac-tices. “(T)he grim reality of costs and rules as-

sociated with food service makes it impossible to offer Ozoni [New Year’s good-luck mochi soup] to the public on 1/1/2021,” explained the shrine. “[We] will be suspending our annual Mochi pounding and Ozoni service until we are able to return to normalcy — hopefully in 2022.”


The National Association of Japan-America Societies is again sponsor-ing Keizai Koho Center Teacher Fellowships, which support middle- and high-school teachers from the U.S. and Canada in visiting the Tökyö area (primarily) during the summer. These teachers learn more about Japan and take that knowledge home to their communities, according to a NAJAS announcement posted on Monday, Dec. 14 (us-japan.org/programs/kkc/k2021/index.html).

Roughly scheduled from Monday, Jun. 21, to Tuesday, Jun. 29, the 2021 KKC Study Tour to Japan, and related Fellowship Program for North American Social Studies Teachers, “aims to deepen participants’ understanding of Japan and contribute to international mutual understanding across the Pacific,” stated KKC. This program has allowed over 700 U.S. and Canadian teachers to visit the Land of the Rising Sun since 1980.

The social-science teachers will:

• Stay in the country with a friendly homestay family.

• Meet and converse with Japanese students in their schools.

• Exchange views with their Japanese teachers.

• Discuss Japanese society with scholars and educational-system experts.

• Meet senior executives of major corporations.

• Enjoy traditional as well as modern examples of Japan’s cultural events.

Participants are eventually expected to share the information acquired on this trip with their students, who “will build future ties with Japan” (en.kkc.or.jp/programs/stj/), and with professional and com-munity organizations. From 1980-2019, only three Hawai‘i fellows had been selected to go on the KKC Study Tour, compared to 10 from Maine, 56 from California, 12 from Florida and 18 from Missouri. Perhaps it’s high time to change our numbers!

Interested teachers, who hope to add substantially to their curriculum about Japan through such a trip, will have until Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, to apply for this fellowship. KKC will provide round-trip transportation from the home city of each participant to Japan, and pay for accommodations, ground transportation and meals associated with the program which is a little over a week long.

Applicants should have solid curriculum-development skills and experience, strong interest in Japan, as well as no past experience with living in or visiting the country on a similar study tour. They must teach economics, social studies, geography or history in grades 6-12 (middle through high school) and be willing to fulfill all of the post-study-tour requirements.

Application materials (electronic copies required) are:

1. Resume, especially a list of your current teaching position, educational achievements and professional activities. Include staff-development and curriculum-deve-lopment experience.

2. 1-2 page project proposal describing your interest in Japan and plan for utilizing the program in your classroom teaching on Japan. A timeline of project-related activities you hope to conduct from Sept. 2021 to Jun. 2022 should be included, one that might describe how you will disseminate information learned from the program with students, teacher resource centers, community or professional organizations (such as Japan-America Societies in your area; see us-japan.org) and other audiences beyond individual students in your classroom.

3. Letter of employment from your employer, attesting to your full-time professional or sabbatical leave status for the 2021-2022 school year.

4. Two letters of recommendation from your employer’s administrators and/or key individuals supporting your participation in the tour. These letters should be mailed separately to the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania (see mailing address, below).

Electronic files of these materials (including the two letters of recommendation) should be uploaded to the online “2021 KCC Application” form, at najas.wufoo.com/forms/qc9ftj50jr7bts/, and submitted together with that filled-out form. See us-japan.org/programs/kkc/k2021/index.html (which includes FAQs) or the program brochure, us-japan.org/programs/kkc/k2021/2021brochure.pdf, for more information.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Lesson Plans on Japan prepared by participants of previous years are available at en.kkc.or.jp/programs/stj/plan_2019/.

Questions, contact Ms. Katsuko Shellhammer by emailing kkcfellow-ship@us-japan.org or calling (412) 856-8608.


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