President Frank Kawase hanging his tanzaku on the Tanabata tree.

On July 10with perfect weather at Wilson Park in Torrance, Kanagawa Kenjinkai of Southern California held our 114th Summer Picnic. 

Treasurer Hank Iwamoto and crew smoothly checked attendance and distributed bento tickets and snacks.

The future of #KanagawaSoCal

Jennifer Kawase Cuya with a rousing “minasan” got the picnic under way. She introduced President Frank Kawase, who welcomed family and guests to “bento by Ojiya,” games, activities and fellowship at the annual picnic. Frank’s welcome was followed by Tats Kumagai greeting everyone in Japanese to the fun-filled activities.

Frank proceeded to introduce board members and special guests Richard Watanabe, president of Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai, Kihei Otani of Nanka Ehime Kenjinkai, and Shihan Fumio Demura, the stunt double for Pat Morita in the “Karate Kid” movies.

114th Nanka Kanagawa Kenjinkai group

Cooper Cuya, in memoriam of Masa Mitome and all our loved ones who passed, played a guitar rendition of “One Summer’s Day.”

Piñata time

We then met our “youngest Kanagawans,” the future of our Kenjinkai, followed by ice-breaker questions about Kanagawa Prefecture and the game of Heads and Tails. Alex Surdam led a children’s craft table of lanterns and balloon animals.

Picnickers were invited to hang their tanzaku (wishes) on the Tanabata tree. President Frank led the hungry picnickers with a traditional “itadakimasu.”

The bento distribution and bake sale ran smoothly with Leah Yamamoto at the helm. The bake sale allowed even our youngest Kanagawans to help the group.

During lunch a performance by the West L.A. Buddhist Temple Taiko was enjoyed by all.

To get ready for games, everyone participated in “radio taiso” led by Haruko Takeichi and others familiar with the exercise.

Dodge ball

Games for all ages were led by Ray Yanagita and Paul Yamaguchi and concluded with balloon toss and candy-loaded piñatas for the youngsters.

The picnic finale was bingo organized by Ray Kawase, which left many winners with gift cards, rice, and other amazing prizes.

Water balloon toss

President Frank thanked all for attending and looked forward to the upcoming New Year’s party and annual picnic in 2023.

Kanagawa Kenjinkai is thankful to all of the attendees, volunteers, and donors who helped make the picnic a success filled with many happy memories.

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