Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Technological Perspective to the LA Tofu Festival

The Little Tokyo Unplugged Booth:
Scavenger Hunt Game
During the 2007 Tofu Festival, I, Tofujii explored not only the food booths, health booths, community booths, and merchant booths at the festival, I also explored the tecnological booth as well. I got to see the many different booths offered at the festival and got to meet many interesting and unique people! What a great and fun time I had!

There, in between the drink booth and the volunteer booth, was the Little Tokyo Unplugged Network, with its cute posters that featured colorful anime drawings on its poster, and displays of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and runner-up positions. The posters also attracted many visitors at the Tofu Festival, because of they featured annedoctal messages on them, as well as a picture of me, Tofujii Tofu. You always need a little humor in every poster!!! The Little Tokyo Unplugged Network also stood out from the other Tofu Festival booths, because the Tofu Festival booths had big, large, orange banners, that displayed the booth name and the booth number on it, but the Little Tokyo Unplugged booth had one big banner on it, that read "Little Tokyo Unplugged: a community Wi Fi network." The banner was in big, blue letters with a white border, and a blue background, and the Liitle Tokyo Unplugged logo had a Japanese wooden watchtower in the background with the very first step of the watchtower reading "WiFi." The blue banner caught my eye, because it looked so nice from afar, amidst many other booths at the Tofu Festival.

As I was already very impressed by the banner, I then became even more estatic that there were players that anxiously came to the Wi-Fi booth, and actually wanted to first find out what exactly was the "Scavenger Hunt Game," and second, what they would need to play, and third, how would they play the game? As an third person observer, I witnessed two LTSC interns and two high school volunteers helping to assist players with these questions. I even saw players of the Scavenger Hunt game getting free water bottles! LTSC is so generous to provide free water to all volunteers and SH Game players! =p I asked the two interns where did they find such good prizes? They told me that the prizes were donated from a generous Japanese cell phone company, located in the Honda Plaza of Little Tokyo, called Ike Mac. This was already Ike Mac's second time donating to the SH Game, and they were very supportive to continue to host such a fun game! Ike Mac donated such great prizes such as Mp3 players, an AM-FM radio player, and USB memory sticks. I thought that the prizes were so great.

The Scavenger Hunt game's purpose is to promote the knowledge, sustainability, history and the living tradition of the Little Tokyo community, by encouraging players of the Scavenger Hunt game to go around Little Tokyo, by foot, and search for the answers to the questions provided online at the Scavenger Hunt Website. Participants had to use a PDA or a laptop, because players had to connect to the Little Tokyo Unplugged Network, which greatly helps to promote the free, commnity centered, wireless network. Once many Tofu Festival visitors know about the Little Tokyo Unplugged network, more and more people hopefully will come to Litte Tokyo, bringing their cell phones, pdas, and laptops with them, and connect to the Little Tokyo Unplugged network.

Players seemed to come away with a vast and deep knowledge of the Little Tokyo community, by learning much about historic Little Tokyo, and about the struggles of Japanese and Japanese American, Issei, or first-generation sojouners, who believed that they could find success in their new country, America, by working very hard and creating such a great community such as Little Tokyo, that has lasted for over 100 years! Some players I talked to said that "I learned by playing the [Scavenger Hunt] game that you often miss little things around you," or "I learned much about Japanese American history and struggles that I didn't know before," and "I think this is a great way [the Scavenger Hunt game] to promote the wi-fi network in the community and for people to patron the businesses." Finally, one person said "I think that this [Scavenger Hunt] game is a good way to bring people out to the [Little Tokyo] community. We need more young people to come."

Overall, I think that the 2007 Tofu Festival and the Scavenger Hunt Game was a great success, and people from all backgrounds, cultures, professions, personalities, experience levels with past Tofu Festivals, and those having knowledge about the Little Tokyo Community, and about the Japanese and Japanese American Experience, still walked, ran, or drove away, with a very special feeling; a feeling of COMMUNITY!
I felt very privledged to experience such a remarkable feeling!!!


Tofujii Tofu


The pictures featured in these photos were taken from an LTSC Intern, Vinh Nguyen. (All rights reserved)

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