ALAMEDA — The beginning of a new year is a time for celebration and reflection. As people take the time to evaluate the events of the previous year and to make plans for the next year, it is important to appreciate and understand our cultural beliefs and customs.

Sometimes we follow handed-down traditions but don’t realize or value the significance of what we eat, how we communicate or celebrate.

All community members are invited to a free discussion of “The Roots of Japanese Traditions and Ongoing Adaptations to Today’s Lifestyle” on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Buena Vista United Methodist Church, 2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda. Registration and refreshments begin at 9:30 a.m., with speaker presentations from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Guest speakers Jo Takata, J-Sei board member and Extending Connections coordinator, and Rev. Ron Nakasone, author of “Okinawan Diaspora,” will take participants through an enlightening and fun journey of how Japanese American practices have been shaped by place of origin, current geography, time and intercultural influence. These panelists with different life experiences will discuss the roots of Japanese traditions and how they have been adapted for life here in California with multigenerational and multicultural households.

For more information, call (510) 848-3560. RSVPs are not required but are appreciated.

J-Sei Inc. (formerly Japanese American Services of the East Bay) is a multigenerational and multicultural organization that has its roots in Nikkei values and culture. It has a rich history of providing care and assistance to seniors and now to families and younger generations.

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