Our instructors bring energy and excellence to every class we offer. From crafts to karate, fitness to food workshops, our professionals are fundamental members of our organization, and enhance the Center experience.
Janet began participating in Zumba in June of 2010. After taking her first classs, she became a die-hard Zumba enthusiast. During the summer of 2014, she decided to take her Zumba journey a bit further by becoming a Zumba instructor. Since then, she has attended three international Zumba instructor conventions. We are happy to have such an experienced instructor join our team and JCCCNC family. We hope that you will join us every Sunday morning for Zumba Gold at the JCCCNC!
Kabuki Theatre Appreciation Class
Mark Frey developed a passion for Kabuki theatre and Japanese performing arts while living and working in Japan on the JET Program. Since returning to the Bay Area, he has been an active member of the San Mateo Japanese American Community Center’s Kabuki Kai. In 2010, he founded JETAANC Kabuki Club and has led classes in our community ever since to foster a love of Japanese performing arts. Join Mark for a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of these treasures of Japanese culture in a casual and fun atmosphere.
Karate (Shorin Ryu style)
Craig Hamakawa (7th degree black belt) has practiced karate for 37 years and has been teaching for the past 31 years. He attained Shodan in 1973 and has taught in Hilo, Honolulu, Oregon, San Bruno, Millbrae and San Francisco. He is an instructor of the International Karate League (IKL), which is a non-profit organization based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. The IKL instructors do not teach for profit and encourage the development of the character of their students. The school motto: "Through honesty and sincerity you are free."
Senior Chair Aerobics
Kaeko was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. She became an independent fitness instructor in 1983 and taught a variety of classes such as aerobic dance, jazz dance, step exercise, weight training in water aerobics in both Japan and America. She graduated from San Diego Christian College with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology-Sports Medicine in 1999. She moved to the bay area in 2000 and started teaching our Senior Chair Aerobics class.
Mary Leong was born and raised in SF. Having joined a local outrigger canoe club Na Mea Wa'a, she was exposed to the Hawaiian Culture. Meeting new friends and participating in races throughout the Bay Area she really enjoyed the Ohana (family) spirit that her canoe club exhibited. It was during one of these regattas where she saw a hula Halau perform and knew in her heart that was something she wanted to learn.
She learned from different Hula and Tahitian instructors but found her hula home with a Kaneohe, Hawaii based Halau that had a branch here in the Bay Area.
She has participated in many performances, and competed at Ia O E Kala and World Competitions.
She has over 25 years hula experience and has 20 years with her current Kumu Hula Kapua Dalire Moe and Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea where she is Alakai to over 70 students at the JCCCNC in the SF Japantown area. She teaches with compassion and enjoys sharing her passion for the Hawaiian culture with her students. She promotes the spirit of aloha in her teaching and continues to share her knowledge with all.
Genny Lim served on the San Francisco Arts Commission from 1991-1995, where she chaired the Community Arts and Education Committee which established the San Francisco Writers Corps and brought the Cultural Equity Grants Program under the aegis of the Commission. She also sat on the Visual Arts and Street Artists Committees during her tenure.
She is the author of three poetry collections, Winter Place, Child of War, Paper Gods and Rebels and co-author of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island. Genny is a visiting professor at Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont, California.
She has taught writing and interdisciplinary arts for over 25 years. She had a love for books ever since she could remember and published her first short creative fiction piece in a SF Examiner contest at the age of eight.
"What I love most about teaching creative writing is the deep bonds of friendship and community that the sharing of personal stories forge. I love the feeling of family and community that the JCCCNC provides. The staff is so friendly, helpful and welcoming!"
Rochelle Paula Lum, a native San Franciscan graduated in Theatre Arts with emphasis in scenic design and puppetry. She has traveled and lived abroad in Japan studying their folk art culture and theatrical arts (ie Kabuki and Bunraku). She worked /studied traditional Bunraku and modern puppet construction at a puppet company in Japan.
It was during a Cherry Blossom Festival 20 years ago that she saw a Washi Ningyo Japanese Paper Doll demonstration by instructor Yurie Nakamura and decided to learn the art from her. This eventually lead to team teaching the art with her.
There is a uniqueness to the art of Japanese Paper Doll making. One could learn Japanese history and culture through the making of a single doll and at the same time see how the paper/dolls come alive through simple hand manipulations. There is a certain unexplainable beauty in this process.
In order to keep, preserve and share the Japanese Art of Washi Ningyo, it needs to be shown and taught. The support of JCCCNC in the heart of Japantown has allowed this to happen.
Many who came to see or learn, are from different walks of life and places. They may live close or travel from afar. But all who cross this path will leave with a smile knowing they experienced something very special.
Darlene Masamori started line dancing in 2010 and has never looked back. In 2012, Dar as she likes to be called, started co-teaching a soul line dance class in San Francisco, CA, discovering her dedicated passion for the art. A part of the founding group of "Soul Inspired Line Dancers," Dar brings the spirit of step wherever she goes, from the five different soul line dance classes she teaches, the national workshops she attends and participates in, and now to our very own JCCCNC, carrying on the soul line dancing legacy of her mentor, and the Center's former instructor, Al Kitashima.
Chorale May/ Ensemble Shiki
Ruriko Miura received a B.A. and M.A in Music Education at Tokyo Gakugei University. Afterward, she taught music at a private Catholic girls’ school in Tokyo for many years. In 2000, she relocated to San Francisco. Fifteen years later, she is delighted to be involved with three local choirs Ensemble Shiki, Chorale May and San Francisco Forest Choir.
Chizuko Nakamura has taught Ikebana (flower arrangement) in the United States for over 30 years. She first learned Ikebana from her mother in Japan. After moving to the U.S. she learned the Ikenobo style, which is the oldest school of Ikebana and the most well known in Northern California, from Tada Sensei. In addition, Nakamura Sensei took flower arrangement classes at the City College of San Francisco. She recently started her Ikebana class at the JCCCNC several years ago. She loves flowers and goes to the flower market twice a week to get beautiful, fresh flowers for her class. She enjoys teaching Ikebana and hopes that more people become interested in Japanese culture through Ikebana.
Tomoko Nakazato grew up in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to San Francisco in 1996. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University's MFA program and was selected for Artist Residency programs at the Headland Center For the Arts in California and Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture in Hawaii. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Teaching and learning art for Tomoko is a part of life, through which she learns about herself and others. She believes that art in a community oriented setting can nurture self awareness, openness and compassion.
My interest in ʻukulele, Hawaiian music and culture began in the 90ʻs with visits to the islands. I began playing ʻukulele in 2002 and later discovered the ʻukulele classes at JCCCNC where I studied ʻukulele and Hawaiian music for over ten years. During that time I performed with the class at community events and festivals in the Bay Area and Hawaii and filled in as a substitute teacher when needed.
In January of 2013, I accepted the position as instructor for the ʻukulele program. Since then I have enjoyed teaching beginning and advanced ʻukulele classes at the Center and leading the class in performances throughout the Bay Area. I also enjoy teaching my “Ukulele 101” workshops for students just beginning their ʻukulele experience.
While Hawaiian music has remained my passion, I enjoy exploring other styles of music with the ʻukulele, sharing what I have learned with others and continuing to learn and grow as a musician myself. These are the things that keep me energized and committed to teaching ʻukulele at JCCCNC.
I first came to yoga at the recommendation of my physical therapist to address shin pain due to running some years ago. It not only resolved my injury, but led me on a journey to find wellness in all aspects of my life. I’ve been studying and practicing ever since, which led me to study Bikram Yoga and different schools of Vinyāsa Yoga, and ultimately completing a 200-hour teacher training with Pretzel’s Yoga and Pilates in San Francisco. I continue my personal practice four days a week at several schools throughout the Bay Area. Through my practice and through my diet, I have achieved a healthier life and obtained a calmer state of mind. My journey of finding wellness continues, and I would like to share what I have learned and be a help for people to find balance, wellness and happiness in all aspects of life through yoga.
To tone up your body, heal injury, lose weight, be more flexible or even just chill out... whatever your purpose to start yoga is, once you start and continue practicing, you’ll feel more energized as your body condition improves and your mind becomes clearer. Then, your purpose becomes no longer the purpose 😉
I named my class “yoga prema” (prema means love in Sanskrit) after my first name. I would like to create dynamic, challenging and fun classes with verbal and hands-on adjustment with “prema." Students of all ability levels are welcome, as I will tailor the class and recommend alternative poses and pose modifications when necessary.
I look forward to seeing you in class!
Denise started hula when it was first introduced at the JCCCNC with instructors Pua and Mary under the Kapua Dalire Moe Halau. Born in Hawaii, she wanted to learn more about and honor Hawaiian culture. She enjoys teaching at the JCCCNC because the she feels the Center upholds a sense of family, community and multicultural heritage.
Rich was born and raised in Chicago right after WWII. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Illinois and was one of the original artists who established the Japantown Art and Media (JAM) Workshop in 1977. At JAM, Rich learned the art of “Silkscreening,” now called “Screenprinting.” Since the late 70’s, Rich has designed, produced, and helped other artists produce hundreds of screenprinted posters and other forms of prints for community groups. Rich has also taught many classes in screenprinting.