San Jose Japantown Immersive May 12, 2018

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Swing dancers at the Swingposium

The San Jose Japantown Immersive was a inspiring and entertaining community cultural celebration of the local performing artists, artisans, and businesses who live or work in Japan-town held on May 12, 2018. It was also the 45 year anniversary of internationally known San Jose Taiko. The event was also a way for the public to understand the history and culture of Japan-town and it’s people. The highlight of the event was the breathtaking Swingposium with Wesley Jazz Ensemble, Epic Immersive, and San Jose Taiko and the Finale with The Get Down Dance Studio, DJ Cutso, and San Jose Taiko. There were also a public art piece with art studio Arsenal, swing dance lessons, Nichi Bei Busan kimono photo booth, old black and white samurai movies, and LED uchiwa fan making.

http://www.taiko.org/japantownimmersive

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Sports Day

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Sports Day in Akashi City Japan on October 9th 2017

Sports Day 体育の日 is a national holiday in October for school children in Japan. The day gives students a chance to learn skills and compete against each other. It is a nice family activity where the entire family can have fun together. There are usually running races, tug-of-war, and ball tossing games involved.

March For Our Lives San Jose 3-24-2018

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Thousands of people marching through the rain lead by hundreds of local high school students demanded the end of shootings of all type and for effective gun control. Most of the local organizers were from Prospect High School in Saratoga (near San Jose). March For Our Lives was organized and led by students across the country to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings sparked by the recent school killings in Florida. The students chanted “Vote Them Out” and blamed the NRA for the gun violence during their march. They demand a comprehensive and effective gun control bill be passed through Congress and they won’t stop until change happens.
http://marchforourlivessj.org

Nostalgia

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Super heroes and monsters playing a video game is the concept of a new mural in San Jose Japan-town. It was created and painted by Francisco Ramirez a local artist from Local Color in downtown San Jose. Included in the mural are characters such as Godzilla, Voltron, Ultraman, King Kong, He-man, and Lion-o (Thundercats) which Francisco grew up with. The mural was painted on the side of Zonkey a toy store located on 161 Jackson Street in San Jose.

Okonomiyaki

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Hiroshima born Shunichi Matsumura is a 26 year owner of Okunomi House, a Hiroshima style teppan-yaki okonomiyaki restuarant in Yokohama. Okonomiyaki is a favorite of mine and the ingredients of okonomiyaki often include: okonomiyaki flour, eggs, cabbage, pork (bacon), shrimp or other seafood, and topped with a variety of condiments like sweet sauce (Okonomi Sauce), mayonnaise, dried seaweed and dried fish flakes.

Thing Family

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Halloween in San Jose Japan-town is a popular annual event for families. Some of the scheduled events were trick or treat activities with merchants and a local church, arts and crafts, San Jose Taiko performance, a haunted house, and a San Jose Taiko dance party to end the day.

Costumes in reference to Dr. Seuss’s characters from “Cat in the Hat.” Thing 1 in carriage and Thing 2 upcoming baby

2017 Viva Calle in San Jose

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Family and relatives preparing to participate in the 2017 Viva Calle at the Mexican Heritage Plaza

On Sunday September 17, 2017 a diverse and lively crowd of 150,000 people from the greater Bay Area participated in the 3rd Annual 2017 Viva Calle in San Jose. The event was inspired by Guillermo Penalosa’s 8 80 Cities organization in Toronto that brings citizens to increase transportation and public space to create vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities. There were thousands of families, college students, kids, walkers, sting rays, fixies, cruisers, commuter bikes, bmx bikes, folding bikes, bike with trailers, and rent-a-bikes among others. This year’s theme of the event was called “Downtown and Eastbound El Corazon” because the route included the culturally rich Japan-town, downtown, the Mexican Heritage Plaza, Alum Rock, and the Lake Cunningham area. The event had something for everyone including making the streets safer by getting cars off the road, exercise, music, and Pokeman games at St. James Park and the Japan-town area. The Viva Calle brought all races and cultures to celebrate together for one day.

http://www.vivacallesj.org/

http://www.880cities.org/

Google and the Future of San Jose

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A diverse crowd of over 200 people attended a town hall meeting about Google’s proposed mega-campus in downtown San Jose on Thursday August 24th 2017 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The meeting was coordinated by Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of local groups such as Affordable Housing Network, Asians American for Community Involvement, Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, Latinos United for A New America, NAACP San Jose Chapter, SEIU, Silicon Valley De-Bug, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, Unite HERE Local 19, and Working Partnerships USA among others.

At the meeting residents addressed their concerns about the consequences of the Google campus such as increased costs of housing, inadequate high paying jobs, lack of diversity in employment, inefficient public transportation, lack local business support, and homelessness. Housing in particular is a major social issue and the Google campus will only exacerbate the problem.

Google has been in direct negotiations with City of San Jose but has neglected it’s own residents. Currently Google in in control of the plans for the mega-campus but this meeting and future meetings were organized to bring more equity and rational planning into the discussion. The meeting was a starting point to hear people’s voice and craft a more balanced plan that will hopefully benefit, Google, San Jose, and it’s residents.

Caltrain

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Photograph taken at the Santa Clara Train Station and is the oldest remaining station in California built in 1863.

Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose and continuing to Gilroy. It’s origins date back in 1863 with the San Jose Railroad Company. Caltrain was developed later in 1992 when the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board took control of it’s operations. Caltrain is in the process of modernizing it’s train system as currently it is operated by diesel train engines on standard rail tracks. The plan called CalMod is to electrify it’s tracks, operate faster trains, add service, and replace it’s cars by 2020.