The Seiryu-En Social: An Evening for the Community

On July 28, a community social for Southern California members of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC), Japan Business Association of Southern California, and the U.S.-Japan Council was generously hosted by Council Leader Bill Imada and the IW Group. 

(L-R) USJC Founding Chair Tom Iino; JACCC Board Member Bette Hiramatsu; USJC Board Member Dennis Sugino; USJC President & CEO Suzanne Basalla; and Council Leader Linda Taira(photo courtesy of Toyo Miyatake Studio)

Nearly 100 people attended the much awaited in-person community gathering in Little Tokyo’s JACCC. This was the first ever event held at the JACCC since it opened the Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center, the new cultural initiative and facility that highlights Japanese cuisine, culinary talent, food and beverage products. Chef Hideki Fukusumi was invited to provide the evening’s special menu.    

The Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center (photo courtesy of Toyo Miyatake Studio)

The evening started with a taiko performance by Johnny Mori, Danny Yamamoto and Derek Oye. During the program, community leaders offered special greetings. USJC Associate and co-founder of Drunk Fruit Hard Seltzer Kenn Miller spoke about founding his start up during the COVID pandemic with co-founders John Zhang, Steven Tang and Will Zeng. Drunk Fruit provided tastings of the beverages with Asian fruit-inspired flavors. Other tastings of spirits featured co-host Suntory’s Japanese Whiskey and seasonal cocktails compliments of Taki Nakatani of Beam Suntory.

Mr. Zhang shows Drunk Fruit’s beverage options to Council Leader Nancy Matsui (photo courtesy of Toyo Miyatake Studio)

Special thanks to Mr. Imada, IW Group; JACCC Executive Director Pat Wyatt; USJC Board Member Yuko Kaifu; and USJC SoCal region leaders Ako Williams and Peter Shimamoto for making the event successful. Reunions and new friendships were made, and a good time was had by all!