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Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at the Japanese American National Museum!

The Japanese American National Museum (JAMN) is a great place to learn about American history from an alternate perspective. Every month, the museum puts on programs in addition to its exhibits that are free for museum members and free with admission for non-members. There are some great events in particular happening this weekend at the museum, which is easily accessible by the Gold Metro Line to Little Tokyo. Reservations are recommended as space may be limited.

Exhibition Tour, January 7, 2012, 1pm-2pm

Every first Saturday of the month, take a tour the exhibit Common Ground: The Heart of Community with JANM docents trained in 130 years of Japanese American history.  The exhibit incorporates hundreds of objects, documents and photographs from this history, beginning with the early days of the Issei pioneers through World War II incarceration to the present.  The Heart Mountain barracks is a highlight, as an original structure saved and preserved from a concentration camp in Wyoming.

Hito Hata: Raise the Banner, January 7, 2012, 2pm

The Los Angeles Filmforum and Visual Communications and the JANM will present a screening of Hito Hata: Raise the Banner, the first feature film produced by and about Asian Americans. Oda, an aging bachelor living in Little Tokyo chronicles stories from the Japanese American community from 1900 to 1970. Director Robert A. Nakamura will be present for a question and answer session after the screening. The screening will be at David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles.

Graze Little Tokyo Walk, January 7, 10am-2pm

Little Tokyo is full of hidden food gems. This walk will provide opportunities to sample local Asian food from lotus root to pounded rice while learning about the history of Little Tokyo. The walk is $15 for JANM members and $20 for non-members, including admission to the museum. Wear comfortable walking shoes and get ready to tour the streets!

Oshogatsu Family Festival, January 8, 11am-5pm

Ring in the New Year of the Dragon! Arts and crafts, food, and cultural activities and performances will take place all day at the JANM. You can construct a dragon hat, streamer, origami dragon and help build a dragon by adding a paper handprint to the museum wall. Early in the day, you can learn how to make onigiri rice balls and enter a contest for prizes. There will also be a dragon jumper, a dragon candy artist and dragon-slaying game for kids. Later in the day, the family festival will host a rice cake pounding ceremony and taiko drumming. For more information on this fun family event, visit the museum calendar here.

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