Vicky K. Murakami-Tsuda

Vicky K. Murakami-Tsuda is the Communications Production Manager at the Japanese American National Museum. She loves working on the Discover Nikkei project, because it gives her the opportunity to learn so many new and interesting stories, and connect with people around the world who share similar interests. She is a “self-proclaimed” yonsei from Southern California who comes from a large extended family. A long time ago (when she had more free time and energy), she was also an artist who explored Japanese American culture and history through her artwork.

During this time of Safer at Home, she spends most of her time working from home, reading, playing games on her phone, binge-watching movies and shows, snacking all day long, connecting weekly with her family via Zoom, enjoying not having to drive in traffic, and dreaming of when she can get back to her normal life of eating out, bowling, Dodger games, and having fun with family and friends in person.

Updated May 2020

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on returning to my JA bowling roots

Today, basketball and golf are the sports of choice in Japanese American communities, at least it seems to be in Southern California. However, back in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, JA bowling leagues were all the rage. In it’s heyday, you almost had to be on a waiting list to join a team. Leagues were often scheduled back-to-back on the same night.

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In 2000, the Japanese American National Museum had an exhibition called More Than a Game: Sport in the Japanese American Community. Included in the exhibition was a section about Japanese American bowlers like Dusty Mizunoue and …

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Southern California Obon Festivals

I feel very fortunate to live in an area that has so many Obon festivals that are relatively accessible if you’re willing to drive. There are three in the Little Tokyo area alone. In addition, I’ve attended or have heard of others at Gardena Buddhist Church, San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Senshin Buddhist Temple, Pasadena Buddhist Church, Oxnard Buddhist Temple, Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, West Covina Buddhist Temple, West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple, and Orange County Buddhist Church. I even know people who drive as far as San Diego and Las Vegas to attend Obon annually.

What’s …

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on Unearthing My Family's Values

This Father’s Day my sister and I will be bringing my father to the Japanese American National Museum for the opening of the Landscaping America: Beyond the Japanese Garden exhibition.

I am always excited by new exhibitions at the Museum. As someone who works with the project teams to create web components, I get to learn a lot of new and really interesting facts and stories, and then share them with the world.

This exhibition captures a very personal interest, because it touches on the work and lives of so many members of my extended family—JA gardeners. As I’ve noted …

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A Yonsei's Reflections...

on J-Town Memories

Growing up, we would come into Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district to visit my Murakami Ba-chan who lived in Little Tokyo Towers. We’d take the elevator up to her small apartment with the display case full of kokeshi dolls, then take her out to dinner at Aoi restaurant on First Street. As young kids, my sister and I would always make a stop at the Sanrio store to spend the few dollars we had saved. We loved the stickers, stationery, and other little goodies adorned with Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars. At the time, their merchandise wasn’t …

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Sakura: Beautiful Flowering Trees of Japan

The cherry blossom, known as sakura, is the national flower of Japan. Different from the fruit-bearing trees found in other countries, these flowering trees are enjoyed mostly for their beautiful blossoms and the beauty of the falling snow-like petals. Because the blossoms only last for a few days in the spring, many travel to common viewing sites where a festive atmosphere is enjoyed by all; friends and families gather, bringing picnic baskets and sake to be shared with music and song.

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Hanami, or cherry blossom viewings, began in ancient times when aristocrats wrote poetry, sang songs, and held …

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