“Beyond Barbed Wire” Presentation May 9, 2023

“Beyond Barbed Wire” Presentation May 9, 2023

A Family’s Living Legacy of the Japanese Internment Camps

Cincinnati native Denny Kato presented to a very engaged audience at the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church May 9.  The presentation featured a well-curated collection of photos from the camps, as well as historical details and moving personal anecdotes from Denny’s family and others who were incarcerated.  The event was held in May in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. It was sponsored by P&G with promotional support from the Japanese American Citizens League, Cincinnati Chapter.

Craig McKee of Channel 9/WCPO posted this article about Denny on May 15 based on an interview conducted just before our presentation.

Photo Credit: Koji Sado

Wagashi Demonstration & Sampling Event March 15, 2023

Kimiko Gunji from Japan House at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Kimiko Gunji, Professor Emeritus of Japanese Arts & Culture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, demonstrated how to make “Ichigo Daifuku” (a type of mochi) for 25 lucky participants on March 15, 2023. Her assistant, Diana Liao, demonstrated how to prepare “matcha,” which paired well with the mochi. Gunji-sensei signed copies of her book, “The Art of Wagashi.”
Bonenkai 2022 & Photo Gallery

Bonenkai 2022 & Photo Gallery

Our Bonenkai guests enjoyed a relaxing and festive evening at Heritage Hall at the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church on December 8. The event featured delicious appetizers from Mei Japanese Restaurant, mochi from Cafe Mochiko, a performance of Japanese songs by the Sakura Ladies Chorus, and a trivia game featuring Japanese and American superhero-themed questions. (Thank you to Helen & Steve Rindsberg for creating this fun activity!)

Delight and Danger: Notes from a Samurai Armor Collector (Nov. 15th Webinar)

Delight and Danger: Notes from a Samurai Armor Collector (Nov. 15th Webinar)

We had a great turnout for last night’s Zoom webinar featuring samurai armor collector Gary Grose, with Cincinnati Asian Art Society President and JASGC Honorary Board Member Helen Rindsberg as host and moderator. JASGC Board Member and resident tech expert Steve Rindsberg provided behind-the-scenes PowerPoint and tech support.

Here are some participant comments:

“The Zoom program last evening was fantastic! Yuko and I both enjoyed it immensely. Yuko is an avid reader of books whose stories take place during the Warring States Era. She was in her element and glued along with me to our computer screen. Thank you for making this program possible!”
-Bob Lees, New Richmond, Ohio

“That was a very interesting and enjoyable program. Helen, Gary and Steve did a great job!”
-David W. Cook, Honorary Consul of Japan in Columbus

Foot soldier helmet (Courtesy Gary Grose)
Yoshimichi helmet (Courtesy Gary Grose)
Iyeharu kabuto (Courtesy Gary Grose)

(Cover image from the 2017 “Dressed to Kill” exhibition courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum)

JASGC Honors Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Film Screening & Live Performance

JASGC Honors Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Film Screening & Live Performance

In honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, JASGC hosted a film screening, live performance, and reception at the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati. A Thousand Pebbles on the Ground, a short film by Japanese Filmmaker Toko Shiiki, premiered on Wednesday, May 25th at 6:00 pm. We enjoyed light appetizers from Mei Japanese Restaurant during the event along with Asahi Super Dry. 

The film explored the hardships during the Covid-19 pandemic. Roger ee, a medical lab technician working on the frontlines of the pandemic, shared the story of his family and their Chinese-American heritage, and how he dealt with rising anti-Asian sentiment during the pandemic. 

Toko Shikii met Roger through her husband, Erik Santos — one of Roger’s childhood friends. When incidents of anti-Asian sentiment started to increase recently, Toko shared that she felt lonely and had few chances to talk about her feelings. Then she spoke with Roger and had a spark of creativity; she would share Roger’s story so that others would not feel as lonely during the pandemic’s isolation and struggle. After the screening, there was a short Q&A with the audience. 

The second part of the event featured live music performed by Erik Santos, musician, composer, and Associate Professor of Composition and Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan. Erik shared his own music and his father, Rosendo Santos’ music and personal story of moving to the US from the Philippines. You can learn more about Rosendo Santos’ story here.

See our gallery of the event here.

Sukiyaki Cooking Event

Sukiyaki Cooking Event

We enjoyed delicious Sukiyaki and Asahi Super Dry beer on March 24, a cold spring evening in Cincinnati. Sukiyaki ‘すき焼き’ is one of the most popular hot pot dishes in Japan.

Sukiyaki is usually cooked and served at the table using a portable gas stove and eaten as soon as it is ready. (Check out our photos below!) At the event, we cooked thinly-sliced beef and various vegetables in the traditional Sukiyaki sauce: Soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. The flavor was sweet and salty; a bit like Teriyaki sauce.

We have to mention that the authentic way the Japanese enjoy Sukiyaki is by dipping the cooked ingredients in raw eggs! We know it sounds odd (or even hazardous) to some, but the egg blends well with the strong taste of the Sukiyaki sauce and makes a perfect balance of flavors.

You may get addicted as we now are — who knows!

I had an amazing time at the Sukiyaki demonstration. The food was incredible and the company was even better! My table started off as total strangers but by the night’s end we were calling each other family – that’s the power of this delicious dish and wonderful community! Thank you to JASGC and our excellent guides Teruko Nesbit and Shoko Konuma for a perfect night.

Amy Miller (Member)

Don’t forget to check out our next cooking event on September 28 — featuring another hot pot dish called Shabu Shabu! View the event page here.