Nisei Week is a festival held in Little Tokyo: a Japanese enclave in Los Angeles – to celebrate and promote Japanese-American culture. Its name comes from”2nd generation” a reference to the 1st generation of American born Japanese that the festival once centered around.
The festival has since extended its duration from one week to one month and from Japanese celebrating their own culture to Japanese celebrating and sharing their culture with people of all backgrounds.
Nisei Week brings out the best of the community and it’s always really cool to see people enjoying the festivities. The festival offers a large variety of entertainment from gyoza-eating contests to taiko drum performances. I’ve dragged my local friends out to the festival every year and this year was no different.
Little Tokyo also has a new Tanabata festival (think of it as an Asian Valentine’s Day.) so there were a lot of bamboo stalks everywhere with colorful slips of paper tied to them. You’re supposed to write down a wish on the paper and then tie it to a branch. I hope my wish comes true!
Me with some of the Tanabata decorations!
EVA cosplayers! I thought that they were adorable and clever for translating the character’s outfits into yukata designs.
I CAUGHT A GOLDFISH AT A FISHING GAME! His name is Ivan.
My friend was more interested in catching yo-yos.
A charity event going on.
The girls ended up trying on and buying yukata from a shop called kimono-ya. So cute!
I don’t know why our guy friends look so weird in the back though. Maybe they’re enamored by our beauty! HA HA.
We weren’t the only ones dressed in our finest.
We watched most of the parade later that day.
WWII Japanese-American veterans! These guys were pretty badass.
I thought it was cute that they made this one look like one of the cars from Cars.
SNOOPY! (he does have eyes)
A fan dancer.
Many fan dancers. The little girls were so cute.
We were amazed that Tommy Lasorda of the LA Dodgers was there.
Stan Sakai, the creator of the comic Usagki Yojimbo was there too. His work is currently on exhibit Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.
It’s not Nisei Week without the cosplayers joining the parade too.
Little Tokyo was my hangout back in college. There was no L.A. Live at the time and many of the eateries around the campus catered more to the necessity of a cheap edible meal rather than to providing a pleasant atmosphere or quality. Little Tokyo filled that gap for me.
I would go often with The Space Pirate Queen after classes or with the anime club to grab a bite to eat, explore the shops, and to belt out karaoke tunes. It was like a magical hidden playground and it’s great to see more and more people enjoy it too.
Nisei Week is still going on through August 21st so go check it out. I might be there again so feel free to say hi. :)