Mieko Beyer

Mieko Beyer currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She writes for Rafu Shimpo’s “Nikkei Entrepreneur Spotlight” a new bi-monthly feature series launched in 2018.

Updated October 2018

sports en

Passion for Teaching Martial Arts Leads to New Gym

Just two months ago, martial arts teacher and stunt performer Yoko Hamamura’s passion for teaching and performing almost came to a total standstill. After a stunt injury cracked his head open and led to four cranial surgeries, it was uncertain how soon the bright, hard-working Hamamura would speak normally again, let alone teach classes or do stunts.

“It was very scary, I couldn’t move, speak or walk the right way,” Hamamura recalled.

However, in early June 35-year-old Hamamura miraculously came back to his school to teach his first class since the injury. The class went well and Hamamura has been …

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community en

Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Azay is Leading The Way

Philip Hirose, co-owner of Azay — a Japanese fusion restaurant in Little Tokyo, which he runs with his mother Jo Ann and father, Akira — faced not just the challenge of opening a new restaurant, but also coping with pandemic shutdowns just six months after opening.

“Lunch was our busiest time due to the city government workers,” he explained. “Now with them not in their offices — it was a huge blow.”

Azay opened on Sept. 14, 2019 and is located at 226 E. First St (near San Pedro Street) in Little Tokyo. It took Hirose and his mother a …

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food en

Monterey Park Onigiri Shop Invites You to Come Aboard the Rice Ball Train

In a small plaza off Potrero Grande Drive in Monterey Park there’s an eye-catching new storefront—a bright and authentic likeness of one of Tokyo’s best known train lines, the Yamanote-sen. The creative flair behind the design for this new Japanese rice ball shop traces its origins back to the dedicated research done in Japan by founders Joe Miyano and Akira Yoshimura.

“The exterior goes back to Japan,” explained Miyano “Riding all the trains over our nine day trip to all the onigiri shops. The Yamanote-sen circles Tokyo and we used it frequently.”

Jichan’s Onigiri, 1975 Potrero Grande Dr., Suite …

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culture en

New Clothing Line From Designer With Little Tokyo Roots

Darin Maki’s CRFT celebrates Japanese American culture

Check your nostalgia at the door, CRFT by Maki is a clothing brand and producer of short films that brings Japanese heritage into a light that rejects ideas of traditional culture as static and distant, or the peak of the Japanese American community as a bygone era.

This new company, launched in just January 2018, strives to celebrate Japanese Americans and look forward to an even brighter future. Creator and Los Angeles native Darin Maki incorporates his heritage into his work in a way that recasts it all in a refreshingly vibrant glow. …

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