Rising Tohoku Food Fair

Ready for an amazing spectacle of dance, food, cultural arts, and music this weekend? The “Rising Tohoku Food Fair” at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance will offer all that and more.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR RISING TOHOKU FOOD FAIR - Yamagata City: Hanagasa Dance performs at the Rising Tohoku Food Fair at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, Calif. on Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

Yamagata City: Hanagasa Dance; photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

From August 20 through August 23, visitors can enjoy presentations of delicious foods, traditional craft activities, colorful pageantry, and mesmerizing dances from the Japanese region of Tohoku. The hilly and mountainous Tohoku region, the northeastern segment of the largest island in Japan, was heavily damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Yet a massive rebuilding effort has brought a robust recovery to the region, which is now re-introducing its diverse food and culture to a global audience.

DSC_0169“We are so pleased that the Rising Tohoku Food Fair hosted by Mitsuwa Marketplace helps draw the world’s attention to the seriousness of the Japanese earthquake and brings awareness to the ongoing recovery of the culturally rich Tohoku region, which has so much to offer in terms of flavorful and refined cuisine, beautiful crafts, and goodwill,” said Hiroshi Kamata, chairman of the Federation of Six Tohoku Prefecture Chambers of Commerce and Industry (chairman of the Sendai Chamber of Commerce) and spokesperson for the Rising Tohoku Food Fair. “We want visitors to our live event to experience this wonderful and abundant Tohoku region as if they were really there.”

Children and adults alike can enjoy activities such as making origami Samurai armor helmets; writing wishes on tanzaku paper to be hung at the Tanabata Festival in Sendai next year; and taking photo opportunities with local Tohoku city mascots.

DSC_0129 (1)The huggable mascots include Miyagi City’s iconic Musubi-maru, who wears a samurai costume and resembles onigiri (a rice ball); Fukushima City’s Momorin rabbit who represents Fukushima momo (peaches) and ringo (apples); Hanagata Beni-Chan who wears a cherry-patterned kimono and hanagata flower hat; and Nebutan, a pig dressed in the haneto costume worn at Aomori prefecture’s world-renowned Nebuta festival.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR RISING TOHOKU FOOD FAIR - Sendai City: Suzume Dance performs at the Rising Tohoku Food Fair at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, Calif. on Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

Sendai City: Suzume Dance; photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

Other attractions include a Da-te Busho-tai (samurai) performance; Aomori City’s Nebuta orchestra, dances from Sendai City (Suzume), Yamagata City (Hanagasa) and Morioka City (Sansa).

IMG_5255Over in the food section you’ll find an amazing selection of regional specialties, including Wagyu beef from Sendai, Seiken apple juice from Aomori, Odate Kiritanpo (mashed rice) skewers from Akita, fruit juices from Yamagata, and specialty dried fruits from Fukushima. A special Maguro Bowl (tuna sashimi) with an ohba leaf is $8.50, and a Kuroge Wagyu Bento. a sukiyaki and yakiniku (BBQ) combination bento is $18.50.

DSC_0184One food highlight that we especially enjoyed was the karinto manju, a Tohoku delicacy kind of like a donut filled with sweet bean curd. The dough is made with black sugar and the exterior is crispy, sweet, and addicting.


Wash it down with some peach juice from Yamagata, and you’ve got the perfect snack.


Ready to go? The schedule for the weekend’s events is as follows:

Food Fair (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11 am – 6 pm

Dance Performances (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11:30 am – 1 pm; 4 pm – 5:30 pm

Craft Workshops (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11 am – 11:30 am; 1:30 pm – 2 pm;  3 pm– 4:00 pm; 5:30 pm – 6 pm

Photo Session with Mascots (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 1 pm – 1:15 pm; 5:30 – 5:45 pm

The Mitsuwa Marketplace is located at 21515 S. Western Ave., Torrance, CA. Phone: 310-782-0335.

Check Out What’s #NewAtKnotts This Summer

Headed to check out the new Voyage to the Iron Reef 4-D ride at Knott’s Berry Farm? You’ll enjoy that ride and a whole lot more that’s new at Knott’s this summer.

Knotts Iron Reef

On the Voyage to the Iron Reef, guests become deep sea navigators by climbing aboard submarine-inspired ride vehicles and embarking on a four-minute gaming adventure into the Iron Reef. Equipped with an interactive freeze ray, riders defend Knott’s from the Kraken Queen and her aquatic army, blasting iron-clad 3-D sea creatures as they attempt to save the park from a watery doom. Through underwater forests, ocean current tunnels, and mechanical wreckage, high definition 3-D animation surrounds riders at every turn. Along the way, the submarines navigate 600 feet of track and 11 scenes featuring hundreds of media-based creatures and live action special effects.


Fun facts about Voyage to the Iron Reef: 1) The network cable that powers the screens is long enough to wrap around the Hollywood sign 85 times; 2) Riders can blast hidden medallions throughout the ride to score higher points; and 3) Easter eggs of various iconic treasures from Knott’s past are hidden throughout the ride and interact with the blast of a freeze ray (Hint: Look for the famous Roaring 20s sign!).

You’re also going to have to make plenty of time for everything else that’s new this summer:

Blockbuster Beagle!…on Ice at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre: Snoopy and his Peanuts buddies “go Hollywood” bringing Walk of Fame glamour, dazzling movie lot escapades and California excitement to a brand new ice show adventure. Performing June 13 through August 23, with no shows on Wednesdays.

Vertical Impact & Vertical Impact Geared Up Show: Vertical Impact, and the nighttime show, Vertical Impact Geared Up, is the ultimate blend of extreme stunts with high-flying acrobats. This high-energy show is set to the most popular songs of today, combining trampoline stunts, BMX bikes, skaters, dancers, and aerialists. “DJ Nytemadness” will keep the party going after each show while the cast joins the guests of all ages for a dance party. Performing June 13 – August 23, with no shows on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Charlie Brown’s Happy Campers at Camp Snoopy Theatre: Join Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the world’s most popular beagle, Snoopy in a show that’s sure to make an outdoorsman out of anybody! Performing June 14 through September 1.

Peanuts Characters in Camp Snoopy

Big Band Swingin’ Sundays: Jump, jive, and swing to the sounds of Orange County’s best local big bands. Performing Sunday evenings from June 14 through August 30.

Boardwalk Dance Party at the Boardwalk Circle Stage: Dance ‘til you drop and wave your hands in the air until you just don’t care with DJ Howly, one of Orange County’s most requested “mixers & spinners.” Appearing Monday and Tuesday evenings from June 15 through August 25, plus September 7.

Ghost Town Streetmosphere: Ghost Town will be alive with townsfolk who will put you smack-dab in the middle of the Wild West. New residents who have put down stakes include Clem Culpepper, the ever hopeful gold miner; Ma & Pa Shine, our resident moonshiners; and Nathan Quickly, the Pony Express Agent. Performing daily from June 13 through September 7.

Ghost Town Marshall

Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies at Birdcage Theatre: Things get krazy when Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies perform their toe tappin’, knee-slappin’, side splittin’ country comedy show. Performing Fridays through Mondays, June 13 through August 23. (No performances June 19, August 6, and August 29.)

Salsa Bands at the Fiesta Plaza Stage: Nothing says a party at the Fiesta Plaza stage better than the energy created by some of Orange County’s most popular salsa bands. Performing Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings, June 13 through August 23. Additional performances August 29, 30 and September 5, 6, & 7

 The Ghost Town Miners at Spurs Stage: For a “Yeehaw” of a good time you won’t want to miss the Ghost Town Miners sing and play some of the best bluegrass this side of the Rio Grande! Performing Tuesdays through Thursdays, June 16 through August 20.

The Marshal Purdy Show at Birdcage Theatre: Come on in for some old fashioned, homespun fun that’s sure to tickle your fancy and bust your gut. Performing Tuesdays and Wednesdays, June 17 through August 21.

The Big Fat Steve Band at Boardwalk Circle Stage:  Back by popular demand, The Big Fat Steve Band-The Kings of Kool is a fun, exciting dance band with rockabilly, swing and classic sounds. Peforming Wednesdays through Saturdays, June 13 through August 29. (Additional performances September 5 and 6.)

Calico Saloon Cancan Show at Calico Saloon: The Calico Saloon Show offers good old-fashioned bar room fun with dancin’ girls and plenty of sarsparilla. Performances daily, June 13 through September 30. (Additional performances September 5 – 7.)

Got all that? Basically, any day you go there will be something special going on… So don’t miss your chance this summer to defeat the Kraken and then party the day away!

Knott’s Berry Farm is located at 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620. Click for the full schedule of park hours.

Blogger disclosure: The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

Thrills and Chills on Knott’s “Voyage to the Iron Reef”

Ready to defend the Knott’s Berry Farm boardwalk from a horde of mysterious under-water dwellers? Better get crackin’…er…Kraken! At Knott’s spectacular new 4-D attraction, Voyage to the Iron Reef™, ride-goers become deep sea navigators who have to defeat the Queen Kraken and her army of iron-clad underwater creatures.

Voyage to the Iron Reef On-Ride 1The ride, set to open to the general public on Friday, May 15, puts riders on submarine-like cars and gives everyone a freeze-blaster, allowing riders to compete against each other for high score bragging rights. Through the four-minute ride, more than 40 high definition projectors on screens up to 69 feet long bring the steampunk-inspired world of the Iron Reef to life.

Voyage to the Iron Reef On-Ride 2

We had a chance to preview the ride this week with our young tween and it was genuinely a thrill a minute. Each time we went through (five, but who’s counting?) we had a slightly different experience with just as much fun. The ride is not scary in the sense of roller-coaster thrills, but the animation is dramatic and feels very realistic.


As you progress through the ride, you’ll find enchanting underwater forests, disorienting ocean current tunnels, and mysterious mechanical wreckage. All told, your submarine will navigate 600 feet of track and 11 scenes featuring hundreds of 3-D animation-based creatures and live action special effects.


Voyage to the Iron Reef™ is a creative partnership between Knott’s and Triotech, the Montreal-based multisensory interactive attraction company that recently won two top industry awards for their work on Wonder Mountain’s Guardian at Canada’s Wonderland. It promises to be a major attraction for Knott’s as it heads into the busy summer months.


Also new this summer is an all-new retail shop, Nautilus (formerly Ride Warriors) adjacent to Voyage to the Iron Reef™, with a wide selection of steampunk- and underwater-themed merchandise; and the all-new Boardwalk Arcade, located directly beneath Voyage to the Iron Reef, with a fresh selection of popular video, redemption, and merchandise games, and a new reloadable game card system. Additionally, the laser tag compound inside Boardwalk Arcade will return later this summer with all-new twists, turns and new architectural features inspired by Voyage to the Iron Reef.

Knott’s Berry Farm is located at 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620. Click for the full schedule of park hours.

Blogger disclosure: I was given the opportunity to do an early preview of the ride. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

We Are Now…South Bay Confidential!

We’re moving … up and out! If you’ve enjoyed reading South Bay Sparkle, please visit us over at our new home, South Bay Confidential. You’ll find all sorts of news and tidbits about the South Bay, plus the most extensive real estate search database in the entire area. Check it out, look around, let us know what you think. Thanks again for reading South Bay Sparkle!

Kids at Terranea

family balconyAfter a year as Terranea social media ambassador, I’ve had an opportunity to see Terranea in a variety of situations at different times of the year. And although many of my friends think of Terranea as a place for a romantic getaway, it’s actually a perfect place to spend a weekend with the kids. How will you keep them occupied? It’s more like, how will you have enough time to do all of the fun things Terranea offers? Here are just a few ideas:

3 waterslidesSwimming and waterslide: The 5,000-square-foot pool gives you plenty to do but it’s the waterslide that really sets the Terranea pool apart from other hotel or resort pools. The 140-foot Peninsula Plunge, a slippery and twisting downward spiral, is guaranteed to keep the kids occupied for hours.

Bocce ball: The resort’s competition-style bocce ball court is fun in the daytime and spectacular at night with glow-in-the-dark bocce balls. Never played bocce ball before? It’s easy, and the kids can pick it up in an instant.

rock huntersCove and Tide Pools: All it takes is a hike down to the cove at low tide, and the splendor of the ocean is right at your feet. You’ll see sea anemones, sea slugs, starfish, shellfish, and plenty of rocks and crystals for your budding marine biologists and geologists to admire.

owlbertBirding: On weekend mornings at 11:00 a.m., join Joe the falconer for a free talk right outside the adventure center on the birds of prey that keep Terranea seagull-free. You can even get an up-close meeting with a peregrine falcon, a hawk, or Owlbert, the Eurasian eagle owl. If you want a more in-depth birding experience, you can sign up for a private session at Pointe Discovery.

discovery trailHiking: Discovery Trail runs all along the length of the property parallel with the coastline, so naturally the views are spectacular. But informational signs along the way offer new perspectives on the native plants and indigenous wildlife. Plus, if your kids are tickled by a good ghost story, they may want to learn more about “The Lady of the Light,” a ghostly presence seen at the nearby Point Vicente Lighthouse.

tide pool signKids’ Club: The kids’ club itself is a fun room with all sorts of toys and games. But what goes on at Kids’ Club is so much more than that. Each day, the activities may include an “I Spy” scavenger hunt around the resort; a treasure hunt; a talent show; and glow-in-the-dark activities for nighttime.

firepit boysFire pits: Want to get cozy once the sun goes down? Stop by one of Terranea’s 228 fire pits or fireplaces to roast some marshmallows, sing a few songs, or just cuddle up and watch the flames dance while the ocean crashes in the distance.

terranea kayaksBiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, horseback riding, painting, photography…: If you and your kids have these or any other outdoor-themed interests, you can arrange to have a guided tour or lesson. Stop by Pointe Discovery to learn more about availability.

Do your kids have favorite activities they like to do at Terranea? Let us know!

Knott’s Merry Farm Offers Fun for the Whole Family

KBF Santa snoopyOn the first day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me…A Snoopy in a Christmas tree!
On the second day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me…Two chicken dinners and a Snoopy in a Christmas tree!

…On the 12th day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me… 12 skaters skating, 11 artisans crafting, ten carolers caroling, nine storytellers spinning, eight miners mining, seven rides a-spinning, six kids a-laughing… five boysenberry piiiiiiiies…four maple lollipops, three jolly snowmen, two chicken dinners and a Snoopy in a Christmas tree!

Knott's Merry Farm LogoAre you ready for Knott’s Merry Farm? Because we’re so ready we’ve even started singing about it! Now in its 29th year, Knott’s Merry Farm is a seasonal celebration at Knott’s Berry Farm that brings all the warmth of old-time holiday traditions into a fun adventure for the family. The event, which runs from Nov. 22 through Jan. 4, includes park-wide lavish decorations, live entertainment, festive food, and a shopping wonderland filled with local artisans. Visiting Knott’s Merry Farm always gets our family in the holiday spirit – and in fact it’s is one of our family’s favorite days of the year!

KBF singersThis year’s celebration includes live entertainment such as the live ice spectacular “Merry Christmas, Snoopy,” along with Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting, Engine 41 storytellers, local artisans and crafters in Christmas Craft Village, the Calico Carolers, and the Ghost Town Miners bluegrass quartet.

Of course Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa Claus, which is why the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town is transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. Guests can take photos with Santa as well as enjoy Santa’s homemade cookies, a hot fudge sundae bar, hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings, and winter wine and craft beer tastings paired with fresh fruit and cheese.

KBF craft fairOther seasonal treats around the park include fresh made-to-order Maple Lollipops, churros from the Churro Factory, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men in the Farm Bakery, as well as the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

All in all, it’s a great way to spend a day with the family. For admissions information, park hours, and directions, visit www.knotts.com.

Big Changes Coming Soon

Thanks to all of our loyal South Bay Sparkle readers. We wanted to let you know that we’ve temporarily moved over to focusing on Manhattan Beach news at DigMB.com – a new 100% local Manhattan Beach site. However, we still have more South Bay news to come! Stay tuned for an announcement about a new South Bay site we’ll be rolling out soon. Thanks for your readership and patience!

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