Monday, March 15, 2010

Japanese American National Museum spotlights clothing


On Saturday, CC and I drove downtown (or "down-a-town," as she calls it) to visit the Japanese American National Museum, which was offering free admission courtesy of Target's Free Family Days.

In addition to complimentary access to museum exhibits such as "Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantations of Hawai'i," there were all sorts of clothing-related activities for the kiddos, including sock-puppet making, as well as a Shibori workshop for girls ages 9 and up.

CC was too young, but I bet she would have loved the Shibori class, a workshop that introduced three basic techniques for dyeing cloth: makiage (stitched and bound), itajime (fold and clamp) and arashi (pole wrapped).

Instead, CC made her own sock puppet, complete with pink hair and a beret, which she has been calling "Socky" all weekend. It's only funny to me, I think, that it sounds so much like the appropriately Japanese "sake."

There was also an origami corner and a clothing swap at the museum. We didn't make it to those, but we did get to see both exhibits, Textured Lives and Common Ground.

"Textured Lives" (Feb. 27-May 30) was amazing for all of the plantation clothing on display. Not only was there children's attire, but there were also re-fashioned kimonos that had to be altered to protect women's bodies from the Hawai'ian sun as well as the sharp sugarcane leaves.

Incredibly moving was the "Common Ground" exhibit (on display since 1999), which offered original artifacts including a partially reconstructed barracks, preserved from the concentration camp in Wyoming, where they placed Japanese men and women during World War II.

There was also a lovely and serene waterfall outside, where CC and I sat and grabbed a snack -- a nice way to spend a Saturday.

Japanese American National Museum

369 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-625-0414

Admission:
Adults $9.00
Seniors (62 and over) $5.00
Students (with ID) and Youth (6-17) $5.00
Children 5 and under and Museum Members, Free.
*Free general admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month.

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