8Questions with Rock Taiko Drummer Yusuke

I grew up LOVING taiko drums. I remember trips with my family to festivals in LA’s Little Tokyo in the summers to watch taiko groups performing. My dad had taiko albums playing on our stereos at home all the time, and when he wasn’t playing them, I would borrow them so that I could listen to them on my own. So when my friends the band Random Ninjas started up as a rock band integrating taiko drums as a core part of their sound, I was ECSTATIC. Like our Bad 8Asian Mike, I love rock as much as I love taikos, and to have both in one sound is just a music lover’s dream come true. Add on top of that strong female vocals, and this is my favorite band in the universe, hands down.

They’ve got a free show at the Los Angeles Hard Rock Cafe at Hollywood and Highland right next to the Academy Award’s Dolby Theater this Friday June 7th @ 9pm. As expected for an American rock band with taiko drums, Random Ninjas has regularly performed at San Francisco’s Asian Heritage Street Celebration, LA’s Asian American Expo, Little Tokyo’s Nisei Week, LA’s Chinatown Summer Nights, and the Zenshuji Soto Mission’s Annual Obon Festival. The video above is of their performance at the LA’s Chinatown Summer Nights. Their awesome first full length album RANDOM HERO just got remixed and remastered. Here’s 8Questions with one of Random Ninja‘s taiko rock drummers (first ever?), The Yusuke:
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George Tetsuo Aratani, Nisei Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Passes Away at Age 95


George Aratani, a survivor of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and later successful businessman and philanthropist who founded Mikasa and Kenwood, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at the age of 95.

His legacy in philanthropy through The Aratani Foundation has supported many Japanese American organizations, but especially in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. One literally cannot walk a block in Little Tokyo without passing by a space endowed by George and Sakaye Aratani: Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Aratani Japan America Theatre; the Japanese American National Museum’s George and Sakaye Central Hall; and the Union Center for the Arts’s Aratani Courtyard.

From The Nisei Week Foundation Facebook page:

The Nisei Week Foundation mourns the passing of George Aratani who passed away peacefully today [Tuesday, February 19, 2013].

Aratani successfully launched post-World War II international trade enterprises. His first was Mikasa, a tableware company which was doing $400 million in annual sales when it was sold in 2000.

Influenced by his late father and motivated by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Aratani and his wife Sakaye have donated a sizable amount of their wealth to Japanese American organizations and causes.

For More Information:
Hirahara, Naomi. An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood. Los Angeles, CA: Japanese American National Museum, 2001.

Photo credit: CalPoly Pomona, The George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden

L.A. Giveaway: Tickets for this Saturday’s TN Party

UPDATE: Winner is the first entrant, Emily Wu!

We’ve been giving a ton of love to Tuesday Night Cafe recently for good reason– it’s awesome! TN Project is so awesome that they’re giving some lucky 8Asians reader a free pair of tickets away to their biggest event of the year– the TN Party!

I mean, the TN Party is a fundraiser, and considering how many amazing performers will be there — not to mention the fact that all the cool kids will be there — everyone should be willing to shell out the few bucks ($15-20) it costs to go! Remember: today (Tuesday @11:59pm) is last day for presale tickets for $15! So be an early-bird and buy your tickets now or just show up at the door with your Andrew Jackson in hand. (Students/seniors can show up and pay $15 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free!)

The TN Party will support the Tuesday Night Project — a hidden L.A. gem celebrating its 12th year of free multidisciplinary arts programming in Downtown Los Angeles. Since 1999, their flagship series, the “1st & 3rd Tuesday Night Cafe,” has presented a variety of Asian American and Los Angeles artists performing music, poetry, visual art, comedy improv, short films, and performance art.

Here are the logistical deets, but check out the program at the TN Party page:
Date: Saturday, July 31st
Time: 5pm-11pm
Location: JACCC Plaza in Little Tokyo — 244 South San Pedro Street (Between 2nd and 3rd street) Los Angeles, CA 90012

So do you think you’re lucky enough to win these tickets?!

What you could win from Tuesday Night Project and 8Asians:
A free pair of tickets for TN Party on July 31, 2010!

How do you enter?
All you have to do is to leave a comment saying why you want to go and ONE lucky winner will be selected to go!

What’s the deadline?
Ha ha! I’m not telling you! So enter now! The giveaway will be over when the winner is picked/announced! This could happen at any time!

Rules for entering:
1) Please be serious about using the tickets– unused free tix suck!
2) Contributors to 8Asians and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.

Prize courtesy of: Tuesday Night Project and 8Asians.

Special thanks to Traci, Mary Rose, and Quincy.

Giveaway: Autographed Copy of Mike Shinoda’s Glorious Excess Art Book; final weekend of JANM exhibition in L.A.

UPDATE: Early bird gets the worm autographed Mike Shinoda “Glorious Excess” art book! The first commenter is the winner! Congratulations to itzk2di2dm (Kimle)! Thanks to everyone who entered, and also to all the 8Asians contributors for not quitting because of Rule #2!

About a month ago, we reported that Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame opened a exhibit of his artwork called Glorious Excess (Dies) at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

If you didn’t heed our advice and go see the exhibit right away, you and the rest of the procrastinators of the world have one final weekend to check it out. Glorious Excess (Dies) will be closing October 4, so it’s your last chance to check out this one-of-a-kind art show. While you’re at it, why not check out the ID Film Fest also happening in Little Tokyo this weekend, as well?

What’s that? You love Mike Shinoda and you want a little something to remember this exhibit by? Shinoda published a special Glorious Excess “Art Book” which is a 128-page full-color book that documents the bodies of work he created for (Born) and (Dies). The forward is written by world-renowned artist Shepard Fairey and also includes five insightful chapters written by Shinoda himself. (All proceeds from the book and other merchandise from this exhibit go to various charities Shinoda supports.)

GloriousExcessDies-ArtBookWhat you could win from 8Asians:
One AUTOGRAPHED copy of the Glorious Excess Art Book

How do you enter?
Simply leave a short comment stating why you want to be chosen as the winner of the autographed Mike Shinoda book. (Be sure to use the email address you’d like to be contacted at if you’re the winner.)

Hurry, the deadline to enter is: Monday, October 5 at 11:59 pm (Pacific Time)
ONE lucky winner will be selected and contacted on Tuesday morning.

Rules for entering:
1) Please be in the US or Canada. Sorry, I will not be shipping anywhere else!
2) Contributors to 8Asians and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.

Prize courtesy of: 8Asians, with thanks to JANM and Mike Shinoda.

(Mike Shinoda photo taken by jozjozjoz; Cover artwork from MikeShinoda.com)