Posts Tagged ‘Japanese’

Torrance’s Mitsuwa Marketplace hosted their second annual Nagoya Fair this past weekend. Free to attend for all ages, this mini indoor fair represented the food and culture of Nagoya, Japan. While Nagoya has Japan’s third largest population, much of the world has less familiarity with Nagoya than other cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Hiroshima. Regardless, Nagoya has its fair share of unique culture that sets it apart from the rest of Japan, especially in their cuisine. At this Nagoya Fair, visitors could get to sample all sorts of Nagoya foods, such as Sekai no Yamachan (specialty rubbed chicken wings), Kawakyu Ice (Japanese fluffy shave ice), Nagoya miso oden (a type of egg dish), and hitsumabushi (eel, think unagi). Some of the food stands originated from real locations, such as the shave ice that comes from a real Nagoya shop called Koriya Kawakyu. As such, one cannot find these specific recipes and flavors anywhere else except for these actual shops. Throughout the weekend, the lines for all these foods never subsided, making for a long wait in order to taste every single item. A group of four could easily split into all the lines and order enough for everyone to share, as all of these foods together can represent a complete meal.

Mitsuwa Marketplace holds multiple events like this throughout the year, some big and some small. As far as Southern California goes, the Torrance location tends to host the most events since their location lends well to hosting larger events, but that should not deter you from visiting the other Mitsuwa Marketplace locations! For a full list of locations, check out their website for store hours and addresses. Check out Mitsuwa Marketplace on social media too – they have specific accounts based on location, so for this post, check out their main Facebook page and the Twitter page for Southern California.

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Downtown Los Angeles’ Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple hosted their annual Obon Summer Festival this past weekend. Free to attend for all ages, an Obon Festival traditionally takes place in mid-July; however, Japanese communities around the world tend to host the event sometime within a month of that time. As with tradition, an Obon Festival provides a means for families and friends to gather and remember their ancestors. When a festival takes place, it usually involves vendors, food, games, live entertainment, and more as one would expect at a cultural fair. As one of the smaller Obon Festivals of Southern California, it did not feature too much to do for those whose families do not celebrate the occasion. However, I did see a lot of families spending time here, meaning that this tradition has not lost its value at all despite not actually taking place in Japan.

The annual US Sumo Open returns to CSULB’s Walter Pyramid for its 17th year running this Saturday afternoon. This spectacle features dozens of professional sumo wrestlers from around the world competing for the prized trophy and bragging rights. This tournament features men’s and women’s lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight competitors, all of which contain wrestlers from multiple different countries. Across all the competitors, Mongolia and Russia appear to have the most competitors. The day usually starts with individual divisions, and the day usually ends with the Open Weight tournament, where all competitors of a gender compete. This means that someone weighing 160 lbs may end up facing someone weighing over 500 lbs. Surprisingly for the women, the heavyweights do not always outperform the lighter competitors, as these competitors have appeared more brutal and vicious than the men. Throughout the day between sets, attendees got treated to a musical performance featuring dance and drums.

The US Sumo Open makes for an interesting event to attend and bring friends & family to. Southern California does not get sumo wrestling events like this often, so when one does come around, many people flock to it. General admission to this event costs $25 presale or $35 at the door for the upper bleachers, or $40 presale or $55 at the door for the lower bleachers. If you cannot make it to this event, they will have a live stream of the event available on their YouTube page, which they will link on their website once they start streaming. The US Sumo Open returns every year around this time, so if you cannot make it this year, bookmark your calendar for next year’s 18th Annual US Sumo Open. In the meantime, check out USA Sumo on Facebook for future updates and related events, such as the Sumo Sushi Show if they intend to bring it back this year.

An expo featuring the expansive world of Eastern culture took place this past weekend, as the 2016 Pacific Media Expo returned to the Pasadena Convention Center. As its name suggests, this expo featured just about everything revolving around Asian pop culture, from the fashion to the fiction to the food to the art to the music and so much more. Attendees would encounter art, music, dance, entertainment, cosplay, fashion, anime, manga, comics, video games, merchandise, accessories, food, drinks, treats, and tons of other things that could keep one occupied for more than just a weekend. Many attendees went all out and dressed for the occasion, while other fans simply attended to check out the latest in Asian pop culture.

Due to the excess amount of photos in this blog post, photos will appear in reduced resolution. Please visit the Facebook album to view all of the photos in a larger resolution.

I attended two out of the three days, so I will do my best to chronicle my adventures at the 2016 Pacific Media Expo. With so much to do, I often found myself bouncing back and forth between rooms, programs, and seminars. Upon my arrival on Friday afternoon, I immediately started to scout out the area to get a feel for the layout of this expo. At one point, I did end up in a section of the convention center dedicated to an entirely different event. Roaming around revealed to me that the expo took place on both sides of the convention center: the ballrooms and the conference rooms on the other side of the theater. Starting with the conference rooms, these rooms held mainly the fashion rooms, with markets, shops, and fashion-based programs in the back room. This side also had the gaming room for those attendees wanting to relax a bit between programs.

After checking out the conference rooms, I roamed over to the ballrooms. The front two ballrooms contained a variety of seminars and programs. The next three ballrooms would contain the Artists’ Market (display), the Main Stage (entertainment), and the Exhibit Hall (vendors). As the Exhibit Hall also contained food vendors in an enclosed space, the scent of food wafted all throughout the room plus a small section of the foyer in front of that ballroom.

Now that I had scouted out the entire expo area, I started to explore the rooms individually to discover the programs. One ballroom had a lip-sync dance show, while another had a panel discussing retro video games. Wandering back to the conference rooms, I discovered a fashion panel presented by a butler café.

As the sun set, the expo’s Opening Ceremonies started to take place. This mainly involved the expo’s special guests introducing themselves, talking about their experience traveling here in Southern California, and previewing what they will do that weekend at the expo. Also around this time, the Swap Meet started to set up in the ballroom foyer, which attracted dozens of attendees to come check out the goods. Typically the items found at the Swap Meet cost less than the items in the Exhibit Hall. Attendees would likely find rare goods as well. Following the Opening Ceremonies, a few more programs took place involving cosplay and martial arts.

Capping off the night, a concert took place featuring Hitomi from a maid café in Akihabara, Japan. Essentially a one-woman show, Hitomi danced and sang in her cutesy style. Since she speaks exclusively Japanese, Hitomi had a translator with her between songs when she spoke to the audience. She also got the audience involved in some sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors game that the maids do regularly at their café in Japan. She gave out autographed posters to those who bested her in that game. After this concert, I called it a night so that I could return the next day with energy to make it through the night.

On Saturday, I arrived at the expo at about the same time as I had on Friday, meaning that I arrived in the middle of another concert, this one featuring Stephanie Yanez. Unlike Hitomi, Stephanie can speak English, so she had no issues communicating with the audience.

Following the concert, I got to check out many more programs and activities of the expo. These activities included a business fashion panel, yoga room, DDR-like game, panel discussing idol culture, meet & greet with Hitomi, live art session, and indie fashion panel.

Just like the previous night, the Swap Meet opened after sunset, attracting dozens of people the come check out the goods. Also at this time, the Fashion Swap Meet took place in the conference rooms area, focused more on apparel and accessories rather than fandom goods.

Saturday’s main event involved the Masquerade Cosplay Contest. Over a dozen attendees participated in this contest to exhibit their outfit and character, since the contest required participants to do something to act in character. Some of the participants merely posed, while others performed some dance routine. After the participants strutted their stuff, an intermission show took place that featured a professional group of women performing their act for the audience. Finally, awards of varying categories went out to the participants.

With the main event over, night had fallen, indicating the start of the more mature programs of the expo. A few Truth Or Dare programs took place, both of which got very dirty as time progressed. After that, the ballrooms converted to a dance hall and a singalong room. The final event in the conference rooms involved speed dating. According to some of the returning attendees, last year’s speed dating delivered a lot of success in terms of matching people up. I had never attended Pacific Media Expo before, and this year’s speed dating broke the expectation of how speed dating should look. Basically, only about seven women showed up, some of which did not have any interest in dating or already had a partner – they participated simply to participate, but not to find romance. Compare that with the 20+ guys that showed up, most of which appeared as the stereotypical hikikomori.

Alas, I did not return to the expo on Sunday, as the first two days had greatly drained all of my energy. Fret not, for I still managed to capture many of the cosplays of the 2016 Pacific Media Expo. Even to those not interested in anime or manga, everyone should attend an expo/con of this nature just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly donned their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of this year’s Pacific Media Expo.

With the Pacific Media Expo having drawn to a close, it paves the way for additional similar expos in Southern California, one of the world’s largest communities of Asian pop culture outside of Japan. With connections to Anime Impulse, Anime Los Angeles, and Ninja Con, Southern California’s anime & manga industry coexist in a vast community of connected fans & friends. Stay in touch with the Pacific Media Expo to learn about future events and opportunities by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

8th Annual San Diego Beer Week
November 4-13
San Diego County
http://sdbw.org/

This 10-day festival celebrates the prominence of craft beer in San Diego County. During these ten days, restaurants, bars, breweries, and other businesses will host special events and hold special deals all pertaining to craft beer. Check the website for a list of all events and businesses participating in San Diego Beer Week.

Rivertucky 2016 Release
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 8
Inland Empire Brewing Company, Riverside
http://www.iebrew.com/

This Tuesday, Inland Empire Brewing will release their coveted barrel-aged ale. Stop on by and enjoy it at the tasting room, or buy bottles to-go.

37th Annual Ocean Beach Restaurant Walk
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, November 8
Main Street, Ocean Beach, San Diego
http://oceanbeachsandiego.com/resources/local-news/annual-ob-restaurant-walk-2016

Stroll through historic Ocean Beach and sample food from the local restaurants this Wednesday evening. $25 allows you to sample all the food you can eat from participating businesses while supplies last.

Punk Rock Tuesdays
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, November 8
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/109392969535936/

Enjoy a FREE local punk rock show this Tuesday night in Long Beach. No one under 21 may enter.

Avengers Superheroes Half Marathon Weekend
10:00 am – 12:00 am, November 10
5:30 am – 8:00 pm, November 11
5:30 am – 4:00 pm, November 12
5:30 am – 11:30 am, November 13
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim
http://www.rundisney.com/avengers-half-marathon/

The Avengers Superheroes Half Marathon returns this weekend with a plethora of things to see and do. Participate in any of the races, check out the health & fitness expo, and stick around for after-parties throughout the weekend. The website has an extensive list of everything going on this weekend, so consult with the website for more details.

Orange County Whisky Fest
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm, November 10
Crevier Classic Cars, Costa Mesa
http://www.orangecoast.com/event/orange-coast-whiskey-fest/

Sip on fancy cocktails this Thursday night in Costa Mesa. General admission costs $75 and starts at 7pm, while VIP admission costs $100 and starts at 6pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and drinks for the duration of the event while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 10
Downtown Los Angeles
http://downtownartwalk.org/

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking barely exists in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here prior.

Pacific Media Expo 2016
12:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 11
9:00 am – 1:00 am, November 12
9:00 am – 7:00 pm, November 13
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena
http://www.pacificmediaexpo.org/

Immerse yourself in Eastern culture at this expo for all things Asian this weekend at the Pasadena Convention Center. At this all-ages expo, attendees will encounter art, music, dance, entertainment, cosplay, fashion, anime, manga, comics, video games, merchandise, accessories, food, drinks, treats, and much more. Adult admission costs $40 for Saturday, $30 for Friday or Sunday, or $65 for the entire weekend. Children 6-12 enter for $30, while children 5 & under enter for free with paid adult admission.

Day ONE: “HA! HA!” Nelson IPA
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, November 11
El Segundo Brewing, El Segundo
http://elsegundobrewing.com/

El Segundo Brewing will release a fresh IPA this Friday. Stop on by their tasting room and enjoy it there, or buy some bottles to-go.

Bang Boom Bash
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 11
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 12
Seaport Marina Hotel, Long Beach
http://bangboombash.com/

Music, burlesque, and booze all collide in one event this weekend in Long Beach. Admission ranges from $15 to $50 – check the website for prices and what each price gets you. No one under 21 may attend.

Barb Wire Dolls: Live in Laguna Niguel
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 11
The Karman Bar, Laguna Niguel
http://www.facebook.com/events/218103108605545/

Enjoy a local rock show this Friday night in Laguna Niguel. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Into the Wild Limestone Eco Challenge 12k/20k
7:00 am – 11:00 am, November 12
Limestone Canyon Regional Park, Silverado
http://www.intothewildoctrailrun.com/

Seeking a challenging run through the wilderness? Check out Into The Wild, a 12k/20k course running through trails of rocks, dirt, and more uneven ground. Registration for the 12k costs $60 presale or $65 on the day of the run. Registration for the 20k costs $75 presale or $80 on the day of the run.

Beach Streets: Midtown
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, March 19
Broadway, Long Beach
http://beachstreets.com/

Long Beach has its own version of a ciclovia where the city officials closes a portion of the city to vehicular traffic to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to freely roam the streets. This Saturday, that will occur down Anaheim Street from Pacific Coast Highway through MacArthur Park. Plan your commute accordingly.

Repticon Los Angeles
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 12
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, November 13
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://repticon.com/california/los-angeles-costa-mesa/

Check out two days of reptiles, amphibians, exotic pets, pet products, seminars, and more this weekend at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. General admission starts at 10am and costs $15 for both days, $10 for one day, or $5 for children. Online-only VIP admission costs $12 for adults or $5 for children, allows admission to both days, and allows entry at 9am on Saturday.

2016 Indio California BBQ State Championship & Festival
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 12
The Lights at Indio Golf Course, Indio
http://www.discoverindio.com/Indio-BBQ-Championship-Festival

Over 100 teams of grill masters will gather from around the country to serve up their finest BBQ and compete for cash, prizes, and titles. Free to attend for all ages, visitors can purchase barbecue samples from any of the participants, as well as food and drinks from other vendors.

Fall 2016 Jackalope Art & Craft Fair – Pasadena
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 12-13
Central Park, Pasadena
http://www.jackalopeartfair.com/pasadena

Free to attend for all ages, this two-day arts & crafts fair will feature local artisans, curators, food trucks, live music, and more.

Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout Release Party
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, November 12
AleSmith Brewing, San Diego
http://alesmith.com/

Come taste one of San Diego’s most coveted brews this Saturday at the AleSmith tasting room in San Diego. They will also have a handful of other variations of this brew on tap for you to try.

9th Stone Homebrew Competition & AHA Rally
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, November 12
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station, San Diego
http://www.stonebrewing.com/events/aha-rally

Admission to this homebrewing event costs $38, and includes a one-year membership to the American Homebrewers Association, unlimited tastings of this year’s homebrew entries, a souvenir glass, and raffle drawings.

2nd Annual San Diego Sausage & Beer Festival
11:30 am – 4:30 pm, November 12
NTC Liberty Station, San Diego
http://www.facebook.com/sdsausagefest

Sample sausages and beers this Saturday afternoon in San Diego. Tickets cost $65 presale or $85 at the door, and grants you access to unlimited sausage and beer samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Salute Beer Festival
11:30 am – 4:30 pm, November 12
Phoenix Club, Anaheim
http://salutebeerfest.com/

In honor of Veteran’s Day, drink lots of beer in Anaheim this Saturday afternoon. This beer festival allows you to sample unlimited beers while supplies last, as well as check out a handful of military-themed vendors, selling apparel, accessories, and more. General admission costs $55 and starts at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $75 and starts at 11:30am. Bring cash for food, and dress for warm weather. No one under 21 may attend.

Los Angeles Beer Fest (Fall Edition)
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, November 12
LA Center Studios, Los Angeles
http://www.drinkeatplay.com/labeerfest/

Everyone’s favorite drunk fest returns to Los Angeles this Saturday. This festival allows attendees to drink unlimited beers while enjoying live music from local bands. Food trucks will sell their delicious foods to hungry guests. General admission costs $40 and starts at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $50 and starts at 12pm. All admission comes with unlimited beer pours, but does not include parking. No one under 21 may attend.

Driftwood Festival
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, November 12
Doheny State Beach, Dana Point
http://www.driftwoodfest.com/

The organizers behind Orange County Brew Ha Ha bring to you this new festival unlike anything ever before. This festival combines craft beer, wine, food, the beach, and country music all in one location. With over a hundred different beers and wines to sip on, you will not run out of different things to try here. Admission ranges from $49 to $249 – see the website for a breakdown of the prices and what they get you. All guests receive unlimited beer and wine tasters while supplies last. Food comes at cost, so guests should bring extra cash for food here. No one under 21 may attend.

Wiens Brewing 4th Anniversary
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 12
Wiens Brewing, Temecula
http://wiensbrewing.com/

Temecula’s Wiens Brewing turns four years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have special beers at their tasting room this Saturday.

Totally 80’s: Packinghouse Brewing’s 6th Anniversary
1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 12
Packinghouse Brewing, Riverside
http://www.pbbeer.com/

Packinghouse Brewing turns six years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have a free celebration at their tasting room in Riverside this Saturday. Throughout the day, Packinghouse will have live music, special beer releases, and mobile food vendors.

Orange County’s 3rd Annual Beard & Moustache Competition
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, November 12
The Rinks, Irvine
http://www.dubswashere.com/

Movember participants, listen up! Show off your wicked facial hair at this competition for all things hairy this Friday night in Huntington Beach, featuring a handful of categories to enter into to win cash prizes. In addition to the fabulous styles, visitors will find food, a full bar, live music, vendors, and more. Registration costs $15, while spectators may enter for $5.

Foam Glow 5k – San Diego
5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, November 12
Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Chula Vista
http://www.foamglow.com/san-diego-ca/

Tired of the same 5k run everywhere? If you have had your fill of bubble runs and glow runs, try your hand at the Foam Glow. Participants wear all white and run through colored foam in this nighttime 5k race complete with flashing neon lights and loud dance music. Registration costs $50, and all levels of runners may participate. Space will fill up fast, so register early, and try to carpool to this event.

Art Crawl Experience
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 12
Center Street Promenade, Downtown Anaheim
http://www.downtownanaheim.com/artcrawlexperience

Downtown Anahiem will see a variety of activities and exhibits this Saturday night. Visitors can expect to find tons of art exhibits, live music, food, food trucks, drinks, yoga, dance, and more. Visitors may park for free in the parking structure located at S Clementine Street and W Oak Street.

Presidential Ska-lection
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 12
Out Of The Park Pizza, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/1176704762405267/

A free and all-ages local ska show will take place in Anaheim Hills this Saturday night.

Gonzo’s Bday Bash
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, November 12
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona
http://gonzopresents.com/event/259279

The owner of Pomona’s Characters Sports Bar will celebrate his birthday this week with some local punk rock Saturday night. The cover for this show costs $13. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking in the area and can avoid paying to park in the adjacent lot.

1st Annual California Vegetarian Food Festival
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 13
Raleigh Studios, Hollywood
http://www.cavegfoodfest.com/

A vegan vegetarian festival comes to Hollywood this Sunday afternoon, complete with food, seminars, a kids area, live music, fitness activities, and more. General admission costs $30 and grants generic access to the event space. VIP admission costs $50 and provides a goodie bag, a drink ticket, and access to VIP areas. Children under 10 enter for free with a paid adult admission.

17th Annual Japanese Food Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, November 13
Hilton, Universal City
http://japanesefoodcultureusa.org/festival/festival.html

$55 presale or $70 at the door nets you all-you-can-eat admission to this 5-hour Japanese food fest and a goodie bag. Guests will chow down on sushi, ramen, soba noodles, beef bowls, and more, while adults can sip sake, beer, shochu, wine, and more (alcohol not included with admission). During this time, a number of chefs will showcase cooking demos. The parking lot across the street normally costs $5 to park, but sometimes this price changes, so have cash ready.

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 13
Marine Stadium, Long Beach
http://dearhandmadelife.com/patchwork-show/

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at different locations: Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since most vendors only accept cash. The surrounding neighborhood contains plenty of free street parking.

I Love Poke Festival
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, November 13
Hotel Irvine, Irvine
http://onoyum.com/event/love-poke-orange-county/

Sample the best in island cuisine at this tasting event this Sunday afternoon in Irvine. Over 20 different chefs/restaurants will attend to serve food samples to attendees, while local chefs will compete in a poke competition, allowing attendees to sample their food too. Tickets to this all-ages tasting event cost $75, which includes unlimited food samples while supplies last. All attendees must take care of their own parking and transportation.

4th Annual Sip’n’Shuck
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, November 13
The Deck on Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach
http://www.sipnshuck.com/

Enjoy fresh oysters, live entertainment, champagnes, wines, spirits, and more this Sunday afternoon in Laguna Beach. Admission costs $95 presale or $120 at the door, and provides unlimited food and drinks while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Wild Goose Tavern’s 4th Anniversary Party
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, November 13
Wild Goose Tavern, Costa Mesa
http://www.goosebar.com/

Wild Goose Tavern turns four years old this weekend, and to celebrate, they will have a party at their place in Costa Mesa this Sunday. During the first hour, guests will receive complimentary appetizers. Throughout the night, they will have a silent auction, raffles, merchandise for sale, and more. A portion of food sales will go towards a charity too. This event has no cover charge – simply show up and have a good time.

Santa Monica 9th Annual Wine & Food Festival
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, November 13
Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
http://www.rotaryclubofsantamonica.org/

Enjoy food and wine this Sunday evening in Santa Monica. Admission costs $125 presale or $150 at the door, and provides unlimited samples while supplies last. The venue contains plenty of free parking. No one under 21 may attend.

Choking Victim: Live in Santa Ana
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 13
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.observatoryoc.com/event/chokingvictim

Legendary punk rock band Choking Victim will reunite for a rare show this Sunday night in Anaheim. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $20. Arrive early to park at the venue’s parking lot for free. Arrive too late, and end up parking in a lot down the street for $10 per vehicle.

Torrance’s Mitsuwa Marketplace hosted their first ever Nagoya Fair this past weekend. Free to attend for all ages, this mini indoor fair represented the food and culture of Nagoya, Japan. While Nagoya has Japan’s third largest population, much of the world has less familiarity with Nagoya than other cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Hiroshima. Regardless, Nagoya has its fair share of unique culture that sets it apart from the rest of Japan, especially in their cuisine. At this Nagoya Fair, visitors could get to sample all sorts of Nagoya foods, such as Tebasaki (Japanese fried chicken), Japanese fluffy shave ice, Nagoya miso oden (a type of egg dish), and hitsumabushi (eel, think unagi). Some of the food stands originated from real locations, such as the shave ice that comes from a real Nagoya shop called Koriya Kawakyu. As such, one cannot find these specific recipes and flavors anywhere else except for these actual shops. Throughout the weekend, the lines for all these foods never subsided, making for a long wait in order to taste every single item. A group of four could easily split into all the lines and order enough for everyone to share, as all of these foods together can represent a complete meal.

Mitsuwa Marketplace holds multiple events like this throughout the year, some big and some small. As far as Southern California goes, the Torrance location tends to host the most events since their location lends well to hosting larger events, but that should not deter you from visiting the other Mitsuwa Marketplace locations! For a full list of locations, check out their website for store hours and addresses. Check out Mitsuwa Marketplace on social media too – they have specific accounts based on location, so for this post, check out their main Facebook page and the Twitter page for Southern California.

The annual US Sumo Open returned to CSULB’s Walter Pyramid for its 16th year running this past Saturday afternoon. This spectacle featured dozens of professional sumo wrestlers from around the world competing for the prized trophy and bragging rights. This tournament featured men’s and women’s lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight competitors, all of which contained wrestlers from multiple different countries. Across all the competitors, Mongolia and Russia appeared to have the most competitors. The day started with individual divisions, and the day ended with the Open Weight tournament, where all competitors of a gender competed. This meant that someone weighing 160 lbs may have ended up facing someone weighing over 500 lbs. Surprisingly for the women, the heavyweights could not outperform the lighter competitors – not surprising, as the women competitors appeared more brutal and vicious than the men. When the men competed, the heavyweights made it to the finals, as the spectators expected. Throughout the day between sets, attendees got treated to a musical performance featuring dance and drums. During an intermission, Japan’s heaviest man, whom the announcer nicknamed “Yama,” delighted the crowd with his girth and entertained the crowd by “wrestling” willing children. He basically teased the children for a bit before he allowed them to push him out of the ring.

The US Sumo Open makes for an interesting event to attend and bring friends & family to. Southern California does not get sumo wrestling events like this often, so when one does come around, many people flock to it. The US Sumo Open returns every year around this time, so bookmark your calendar for next year’s 17th Annual US Sumo Open. In the meantime, check out USA Sumo on Facebook for future updates and related events, such as the Sumo Sushi Show, which occurs next month among three consecutive Saturdays in Southern California.

This past Sunday, the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena hosted Authors on Asia – Tea Lovers Festival: 10 Years. More of a presentation than an actual festival, this small all-ages event exhibited a cultural tea ceremony about matcha green tea and the historical process surrounding the significance of tea to the Japanese culture. During the ceremony, the presenters played traditional Japanese music, displayed how the Japanese make matcha green tea the old-fashioned way, and described the process of manners and courtesy during a tea ceremony. All attendees received a small sweet pastry to consume prior to the tea in order to balance out the bold taste of the tea. At the end of the ceremony, every attendee received a small sample of the matcha green tea. Following the ceremony, the presenters had an open discussion to talk about the release of their tea book, as well as autograph any books that any of the attendees would have had.

I actually confused this with LA International Tea Festival that takes place in Downtown LA. As such, I expected to encounter multiple different types of teas to sample. Instead, I paid $20 for a ceremony, a small pastry, and a small tea sample. While I do enjoy a nice cup of tea every now and then, I wish I had known what to expect from this event, which did not allow photography during the ceremony. Regardless, all attendees received admission to the rest of the museum as part of admission to this small tea ceremony, so I naturally took advantage of that to peruse through the exhibits. The presenters did get a chance to announce that visitors receive free admission to the museum every second Sunday of the month. While I may question future events at this museum, I believe that anyone would enjoy spending a bit of time here on a second Sunday, especially considering that they provide free parking, a premium with the museum’s close proximity to Downtown Pasadena.

5th Annual Pasadena Cheeseburger Week
January 10-15
40 Participating Restaurants, Pasadena
http://www.pasadenarestaurantweek.com/

During this six-day period, 40 different restaurants, bars, pubs, and lounges in Pasadena will offer specials on their signature cheeseburgers, or will craft special items just for this week.

Founders Brewing Comes to SoCal
January 12-16
Various locations, Southern California
http://foundersbrewing.com/

One of the nation’s most coveted breweries makes its way to Southern California in force this week to take over the taps of multiple beer places. Check with your favorite local beer bar to see if they will have any specials regarding Founders Brewing – some examples include Far Bar and Select Beer Store. These events have no cover charge – simply show up, and pay for beers as you go.

Udder Love Sky Bar
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 12
Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach
http://beachwoodbbq.com/
http://www.facebook.com/BeachwoodBBQ/photos/pb.116567235035259.-2207520000.1452482979./1219494571409181/

Beachwood Brewing will have four variations of their Udder Love milk stout on cask this Tuesday evening. If you love their Udder Love, make sure you stop on by this Tuesday evening.

Stone Brewing Pint Nite @ Wild Goose Tavern
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, January 13
Wild Goose Tavern, Costa Mesa
http://www.goosebar.com/

This Wednesday night at Wild Goose Tavern, the first 50 people to order a Stone Brewing beer will get to keep the pint glass to take home!

Reel Big Fish: US Winter Tour + Suburban Legends FINAL TOUR
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 13, House of Blues, San Diego http://www.houseofblues.com/sandiego/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=0A004F87C7081AA9
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 14, The Observatory, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/event/reelbigfish
http://www.reel-big-fish.com/
http://www.suburbanlegends.com/

Reel Big Fish embarks on their annual winter tour starting this week, and they will bring along their good friends Suburban Legends, who have announced that they will throw in the towel after this tour. Do not miss this final chance to see Suburban Legends perform at either of these Southern California shows this week. Tickets to these all-ages show vary in price, so check the venue’s link for details.

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend
January 14-17
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim
http://www.rundisney.com/star-wars-half-marathon/

This entire weekend, the Star Wars universe takes over the Disneyland Resort with this running extravaganza. Choose your distance (5k, 10k, or half marathon) and course (run or obstacle), and each run will have a different theme, from Jedi Knights to Rebels and more. Throughout the weekend, Star Wars festivities will take place all over the Disneyland Resort, as well as a health & fitness expo in the Disneyland Hotel.

Business & Beer @ HopSaint Brewing
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, January 14
HopSaint Brewing, Torrance
http://www.businessnbeer.com/

This monthly networking event for small business owners visits a South Bay brewery every second Thursday of the month. This week, they will hit up HopSaint Brewing in Torrance. If you have involvement with a small business, love craft beer, or both, then stop by this Thursday night.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 14
Downtown Los Angeles
http://downtownartwalk.org/

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking barely exists in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here prior.

The Rookery 3rd Anniversary Beer Fest
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, January 15-17
The Rookery, Pomona
http://rookeryalehouse.com/Events.html

The Rookery in Downtown Pomona turns three this weekend, and to celebrate, they will have dozens of rare brews on tap throughout the weekend. Unlike last year’s anniversary which operated like a beer tasting festival, this weekend will not require any admission fees. Simply show up, enjoy the rare brews, and pay as you go. The Rookery will offer 4oz pours of these brews as well for those who want to treat this like a beer tasting event. Expect mostly heavy and strong beers at this one – The Rookery does not slouch when it comes to beer selection. The Rookery has a full-service kitchen with their full menu available all day. Guests can find free parking around Downtown Pomona, and can avoid paying to park in metered lots.

Arcade Expo 2016
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 15
10:00 am – 2:00 am, January 16
10:00 pm – 8:00 pm, January 17
Arcade Expo, Banning
http://www.arcadeexpo.com/

Come see all things arcades at this weekend-long expo out in Banning. At this all-ages expo, see hundreds of different arcade machines, games, pinball machines, movies, seminars, vendors, food trucks, and much more. Admission varies depending on the date attending and age, but all visitors get unlimited free play for all arcade games for the duration of the visit.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut – Sing-Along
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, January 15
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana
http://thefridacinema.org/event/south-park-bigger-longer-uncut-sing-along-10pm/

The Frida Cinema will air the South Park movie twice this Friday night, and they will also give lyrics sheets to all attendees to encourage them to sing along with the movie. General admission to a viewing costs $10.

Smut Peddlers: Live in Orange County
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 15
The Yost Theater, Santa Ana
http://www.smutpeddlers.net/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1675291006079537/

Legendary punk band Smut Peddlers will headline a show in Santa Ana this Friday night along with a handful of other local bands. The cover for this all-ages punk show costs $15.

Crossroads of the West Gun Shows
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, January 16
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, January 17
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.crossroadsgunshows.com/purchase/event.php?eid=100170

Find hundreds of gun vendors at this two-day gun show this weekend. Admission to this all-ages event costs $16. Check the website for a printable coupon to take $1 off admission.

Easyriders 2016 Bike Show Tour
10:00 am – 7:00 am, January 16
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach
http://easyridersevents.com/bikeshow-2016-long-beach.php

See all things motorcycles at this one-day expo in Long Beach this Saturday. See hundreds of models bikes, meet celebrities, take photos with models, browse various vendors, and more at this show. General admission costs $20, while kids cost $10. The convention center parking lots charge $10 for parking, while other parking lots in the area have varying rates.

35th Annual Asian American Expo
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, January 16
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, January 17
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.asianamericanexpo.com/

Celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year at this festival celebrating Asian American culture. Open to all ages, the $11 admission grants access to all vendor booths, merchandise, accessories, food courts, entertainment, live music, dance performances, a parade, petting zoo, and more.

Anime Impulse 2016
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, January 16
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, January 17
Fairplex, Pomona
http://animeimpulse.com/

See all things anime and manga at this two-day expo at the Fairplex in Pomona this weekend. Visitors will find cosplay, designers, collects, celebrity appearances, panels, vendors, artists, cars, food, treats, fashion, and more. General admission costs $11 for one day or $20 for both days. VIP admission costs $150 and comes with a handful of VIP perks and access to exclusive panels and areas.

Grill ‘Em All 3rd Anniversary Rager
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, January 16
Grill ‘Em All, Alhambra
http://grillemallburgs.com/

Grill ‘Em All’s Alhambra location turns three years old this weekend, and to celebrate, Grill ‘Em All will have specials and events going on all day. All day, visitors will find the return of the Blue Cheer burger, beer specials, free birthday cake with any purchase, and a free 3rd anniversary pin. In the evening, catch a live DJ playing metal hits, and free black metal face painting. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy the metal festivities.

2016 San Diego Beer Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, January 16
NTC Liberty Station, San Diego
http://sandiegobeerfest.com/

From the people who brought us LA Beer Fest and OC Beer Fest comes SD Beer Fest, another event to get your drunk on. General admission costs $40 and starts at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $50 and starts at 12pm. All visitors receive unlimited beer tasters while supplies last. Bring cash for food from food trucks, and dress appropriately for hot weather, including sunscreen. No one under 21 may attend.

Bottle Share
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, January 16
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra
http://38degreesalhambra.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1154546497930891/

Brew your own beer? Got an interesting craft beer to share? Bring it to 38 Degrees’ monthly bottle share event, taking place this Saturday afternoon, and discover other great beers too. Free to attend, guests should bring approximately 40-50 ounce’s worth of beer. The restaurant has its own free parking lot.

Shoreline Village 2nd Annual Buckaroo Days
1:00 pm – 7:00 pm, January 16
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, January 17
Shoreline Village, Long Beach
http://www.shorelinevillage.com/buckaroo-days-are-back/

Free for all ages, head to Shoreline Village this weekend for games, bluegrass music, arts & crafts, live entertainment, dancing, magic, and much more.

Public Beer & Wine Shop’s 2nd Anniversary
3:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 16
Public Beer & Wine Shop, Long Beach
http://www.publicbeerwineshop.com/

Long Beach’s Public Beer & Wine Shop turns two years old this weekend, and to celebrate, they will have a bunch of rare beers on tap as well as free samples. From 6pm to 9pm, visitors can receive free beer samples. From 7pm to 10pm, visitors can receive free food samples.

Bitter Brothers Brewing Grand Opening
3:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 16
Bitter Brothers Brewing, Clairemont, San Diego
http://bitterbrothers.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1174752345888057/

A new brewery has opened their doors to the public, and they will celebrate properly this Saturday at their tasting room in Clairemont. Stop on by and check out the new beers that Bitter Brothers Brewing has. They will have a food truck outside for the day as well.

Eikon Los Angeles
4:30 pm – 7:30 pm, January 16
Austere’s Parking Structure, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/eikon-los-angeles-fireflies-tickets-20249702405

For $10, light up the skies of Downtown LA with lanterns commemorating the new year.

Warfest 2016 w/ Agent Orange & D.I.
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 16
Gaslamp, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/1629786643949973/

A bunch of local punk rock bands will perform at the Gaslamp in Long Beach this Saturday night, headlined by Agent Orange and D.I. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15 presale or $20 at the door. Guests park for free if arriving before 6pm; otherwise, parking at the venue costs $10.

Out Of The Park Pizza 5th Anniversary Party
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 16
Out Of The Park Pizza, Anaheim
http://www.outoftheparkpizza.co/
http://www.facebook.com/OutOfParkPizza/photos/pb.121953811165619.-2207520000.1452491590./1192791397415183/

Out Of The Park Pizza will celebrate their fourth year in business this weekend and they want you to join in on the festivities. For $40 general admission, gain access to unlimited food and beer while supplies last. Pay $10 extra for VIP admission to gain access to ten VIP exclusive beers.

Punk Rock Night in Long Beach
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 16
The Prospector, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/726560810779046/

Catch a night of wild punk rock this Saturday in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

The Dickies: Live in Laguna Niguel
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 16
The Karman Bar, Laguna Niguel
http://www.facebook.com/events/1652982184946352/

Legendary punk band The Dickies will headline a show in Laguna Niguel this Saturday night. The cover for this show costs $15. No one under 21 may enter.

A Saturday of Ska at Morgan’s Tavern
9:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 16
Morgan’s Tavern, Riverside
http://www.facebook.com/events/214890778844075/

Catch a FREE ska show at Morgan’s Tavern in Riverside this Saturday night. No one under 21 may enter.

Slaughter & The Dogs at Alex’s Bar
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 16
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1025431-slaughter-dogs-long-beach/

Enjoy a local punk rock show this Saturday night at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. Tickets to this show cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

12th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week
January 17-24
Participating restaurants in San Diego
http://sandiegorestaurantweek.com/

Select restaurants throughout San Diego County will offer prix-fixe meal deals during this 7-day period. Lunches range from $10 to $20, while dinners range from $25 to $45.

Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show
5:00 am – 2:00 pm, January 17
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.pomonaswapmeet.com/

See thousands of original and restored classic cars at the Fairplex this Sunday morning. Many of the vendors will also sell automotive accessories, parts, and more as well. This all-ages show cost $10 to enter, while children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Parking costs $10 per vehicle – guests must enter via gate 17 on Fairplex Drive, directly off the 10 freeway.

With the turn of a new year comes many celebrations, such as the Japanese New Year Celebration in Little Tokyo last Friday afternoon. Hosted by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, this free and all-ages event took place at Weller Court in the Little Tokyo district of Downtown Los Angeles and featured a handful of things to do and see. Visitors found a variety of Japanese food booths, including yakisoba, takoyaki, mochi, fried tofu, macaroons, and more. Activities included raffle prizes, mochi hammering, Real Escape Game demos, and a stage with a variety of performances and live entertainment. All of the shops in this area opened for business under regular weekly hours, allowing visitors to truly experience what Weller Court has to offer.

For more events about Japanese culture in general or around Weller Court and Little Tokyo, make sure to check out the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California’s Facebook page for future updates and posts.