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Grateful Crane Ensemble’s ‘Growing Up Sansei’ in Bay Area This Weekend

Soji Kashiwagi and Dr. Satsuki Ina (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Buddhist Church of San Francisco and San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin present the Bay Area premiere of a Grateful Crane Ensemble event, “Growing Up Sansei.”

• Saturday, Oct. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. at San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 640 N. 5th St. (near Jackson Street) in San Jose Japantown.

• Sunday, Oct. 22, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Buddhist Church of San Francisco, 1881 Pine St. (at Octavia) in San Francisco Japantown. (Free shuttle from Japantown Garage; entrances on Geary and Post between Laguna and Webster.)

Both shows will feature a live reading of “Garage Door Opener,” a Japanese American dysfunctional family play by Soji Kashiwagi, and a post-reading discussion facilitated by Dr. Satsuki Ina.

Just the mention of a “JA dysfunctional family play” brings smiles and laughter to Baby Boomer Sansei who grew up in a uniquely JA family environment. Why is this so? What is it about growing up Sansei and family dysfunction that brings immediate recognition from those who were there to experience it?

These questions and more will be addressed in “Garage Door Opener.” In this comedy/drama, we meet Glenn and Sharon Tanaka, Sansei siblings faced with the daunting task of cleaning out their late parents’ garage and house.

As they sift through dozens of empty tofu containers, kamaboko boards and broccoli rubber bands, Glenn and Sharon begin to uncover items from their past that they knew nothing about, and in the process begin to gain a better understanding of their parents — and themselves.

Dr. Ina, an expert on JA family dynamics, will facilitate a dialogue about the play with Kashiwagi and answer questions about issues such as camp and its after-effects on the Nisei, Sansei and subsequent generations; not bringing shame on the family; and decluttering one’s life of both emotional and physical baggage.

There will also be a performance by Yonsei acapella singers the Grateful 4.

General admission: $20. For tickets and info, call BCSF at (415) 776-3158 or SJBCB at (408) 293-9292. Order online at

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