2015 OAA Picnic • Scholarship Awards • Okinawa Bon Dance

Artwork by Richard Yamashiro

Artwork by Richard Yamashiro, text by Joseph Kamiya

Okinawa Association of America’s Annual Picnic
Sunday, July 12 • 11AM ~ 4PM • Whittier Narrows Park

750 Santa Anita Avenue, Area E-1, South El Monte



Reasons to attend the picnic:

  • Great place for reunions
  • Free drink and snow cone (while supplies last)
  • Free hot dogs for kids under 10 (while supplies last)
  • Raffle tickets are only $1 each
  • Games and races for all ages with prizes
  • Performances from local and international guests
  • The only Okinawa-style Bon dance in Los Angeles

Join us at Whittier Narrows Park in South El Monte!

On Sunday, July 12, 11AM ~ 4PM, the Okinawa Association of America (OAA) will host its Annual Members Picnic at Whittier Narrows Park (750 Santa Anita Ave., Area E-1, South El Monte). Featuring live entertainment, kids games and races, raffle drawings, and Bon dancing, it’s a perfect place for reunions or a Sunday outing with family and friends! (Non-members are also encouraged to attend and apply for membership at the picnic)

The picnic has been a tradition for OAA members since the 1930′s, bringing together hundreds of local Okinawans and Okinawans-at-heart. Over the years, the OAA expanded this event with the addition of its high school scholarship awards and the only Okinawa-style Bon dance in Los Angeles. The dancing includes 7 distinct choreographies with live music by sanshin musicians and eisaa drummers.

In addition to traditional Okinawan performing arts and karate, this year’s entertainment will feature a very special guest from Okinawa: Banjo Ai is an up-and-coming artist who performs original and traditional Okinawan folk songs in the style of American country and bluegrass. The program will also feature a local favorite: Kalyn Aolani Oshiro is a 16-year-old singer/multi-instrumentalist specializing in traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music.

Bring your family and friends, lawn chairs, blankets, and happi coats to Whittier Narrows Park for this year’s OAA Picnic! The event opens at 10AM and the program is 11AM ~ 4PM. On-site parking costs $6. Optional bento lunches ($10) and raffle tickets ($1) can be pre-ordered by contacting the OAA office at 310-532-1929 or oaa.mensore@gmail.com.

Whittier Narrows Area E-1 Map

Return to Menu


Kalyn Aolani Banjo Ai Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko L.A.

Pictured: local talent Kalyn Aolani Oshiro, a singer and multi-instrumentalist who specializes in traditional Hawaiian music; our special guest from Okinawa, Banjo Ai, incorporates bluegrass, pop, and Okinawan folk music into her original songs; the Los Angeles branch of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko celebrates their 20th anniversary this year!

Confirmed Performers:

  • Banjo Ai and Jim Rock
    Special guest performers from Okinawa!
  • Hanashiro Emiko Ryukyu Minyo Kenkyusho
    Sanshin group, Okinawan minyo (folk music)
  • Kalyn Aolani Oshiro
    Local singer and ukulele player
  • Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Los Angeles Branch
    Festival drum-dancing
  • Shishimai
    Okinawan lion dancers
  • Shozen Martial Arts
    Shuri-Ryu karate
  • Tamagusuku-Ryu Kansen-Kai
    Traditional Okinawan dance

The return of the Los Angeles shiisaa: Kin Club’s Mr. Nakata’s new students will debut at our 2015 picnic!

Return to Menu


Raffle tickets are only $1 each! Attendance is not required for the raffle drawings. Winners will be informed by phone or email after the picnic. Please download the order form and raffle tickets and contact the OAA at oaamensore@gmail.com or 310-532-1929.

This year’s GRAND PRIZE is 4x Disneyland 1-day tickets! (a $400 value; co-sponsored by the OAA and Kamiya Insurance)

More GREAT PRIZES include:

  • Bicycles
    5 winners; donated by Dennis/Joan Oshiro and James/Mary Ishiara

    • 14″ child’s bike (Fire & Rescue)
    • 20″ bike
    • 20″ mountain bikes (2)
    • 20″ freestyle bike
  • Scooters
    2 winners; donated by Dennis/Joan Oshiro

    • Razor scooter
    • Beginner’s scooter
  • 2 tickets to the Los Angeles International ‘Ukulele Festival, September 26 at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center 
    5 winners; donated by
    Kala Koa Entertainment
  • 2 tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies, September 16 at Dodgers Stadium, Section 52RS, Row M
    1 winner; donated by Kamiya Insurance
  • 4 movie tickets (redeemable at Regal, United Artists, or Edwards theatres) and snack basket (donated by the OAA Martial Arts Committee)
  • Family pack to the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Little Tokyo, each pack includes 2 adult tickets and 3 youth tickets
    4 winners; donated by JANM
  • $30 gift card to Target (donated by OAA member Joe Yamagawa)
  • $20 gift certificates to Marukai
    18 winners; donated by Ryukyu Sokyoku Koyokai Los Angeles Branch, the OAA Fujinbu (Women’s Club), the OAA Geinobu (Performing Arts Committee), and OAA members Setsuko Fujimoto, Yoneko Nakamura, and Violet Nishihira
  • See’s Candies 1 pound gift certificates
    6 winners; donated by Robert and Alice Sasaki
  • Marukai gift bags; includes food items and insulated tote bag
    5 winners
  • More prizes to be announced!

Return to Menu


For your convenience, optional bento lunches are available for $10 (pre-order only). Each lunchbox includes:

  • BBQ chicken (2 thighs)
  • Shoyu-miso pork
  • Salad
  • Tsukemono
  • Rice
  • Saataa andaagii
  • Free drink and snow cone

Download the bento pre-order form and contact the OAA at oaamensore@gmail.com or 310-532-1929. The postmark deadline for bento pre-orders is June 30th.

Return to Menu


2015 will mark the ninth year of Okinawa-style Bon dancing at the OAA Picnic! The origin of bon dancing is a Buddhist ritual to soothe the souls of ancestors during the summer Bon (or Obon) Festival.

Regardless of age or experience, everybody is invited to participate! The movements are repetitive and everybody dances in a large circle, with experienced dancers leading in the center. Live music is provided by sanshin musicians and eisaa drummers.

Get a head-start and practice the dances at home! Click here to watch our practice videos.

Return to Menu


  • THEME: Uchinaanchu (Okinawan) Spirit
  • DEADLINE: Postmarked by June 30th or delivered to the OAA office by June 30th, 4:00 PM
    • Ages 13 and younger
    • Parents must be current OAA members
    • Original artwork only
    • Artwork size no larger than 11” x 17”
    • Artwork can be done with pencil, crayon, chalk, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
  • PRIZES: One gift card in each age category

What does “Uchinaanchu (Okinawan) Spirit” mean to you? Learn more about Okinawan culture by asking your parents or grandparents, visiting the OAA Library, or searching online. Books and DVDs are available in the OAA Library (open weekdays, 10AM to 4PM).

1st place winners in each age category will be awarded at the OAA Picnic, July 12th, Whittier Narrows Park! All submissions will be displayed at the park that afternoon and then at the OAA Center in Gardena.

NOTE: Submissions can be picked up at the OAA Center in Gardena from July 13th ~ December 18th. OAA reserves the right to use all submitted artwork in future products and/or promotional materials.

Download the application form.

Return to Menu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s