Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa Village)

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Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa Village) is a World Cultural Heritage site since 1995 in the North-western part of Gifu Prefecture in Japan. Is is also located in the historical region known as “Hida” and it is also known as “Hida Shirakawa.” At the village there are 114 thatched roofs structures as well as a rice field and a river running through the town.

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Matsumoto Castle

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Matsumoto Castle was built by Ishikawa Kazumasa and his son Yasunaga during the Bunroku Period (1593-1594). It is considered a complete and elegant castle among Japanese castles due to the black roofing and towers and is considered a National Treasure. It is called a hirajiro because the castle was built on plains instead of a hill. It is a popular cherry blossom spot during April.

Yokohama Jazz Promenade 2017

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Group performing near Sakuragicho Station in Yokohama

I attended the impressive Yokohama Jazz Promenade 2017 in October. The festival was held on October 7th and 8th and included over several hundred jazz performers. The event was immense and it included about 33 venues, 25 jazz clubs, professionals and amateurs, and foreign musicians. The Jazz Promenade Yokohama was started in 1993 by citizens and musicians in Yokohama. Every year over 120,000 visitors attend the popular music festival. Yokohama is also called “Jazz Hometown of Japan.”
http://www.jazzpro.jp

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/

Homecoming

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Beef Teriyaki Skewering

The Obon Festival is a time when Japanese-American people return to their communities and honor the deceased. According the Buddhist Church, the Obon Festival is called Kangi-e, the gathering of joy. Obon for many is considered a homecoming because it is a time when people return to their hometowns to see family and friends, dance, play games, and eat.

March for Native Rights & Sovereignty S.F. 3-10-2017

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In San Francisco on March 10, 2017, hundreds of Native people from different Nations and their supporters boisterously stood up for indigenous Native Rights and sovereignty. The nationwide protest was part of the four days of prayer, lobbying and demonstrations at the Nation’s Capitol. When President Trump gave the DAPL pipeline an approval for completion on January 2017, they showed the government wasn’t honouring any Native treaties. Most Native treaties were developed from 1774 to about 1832 to establish borders and behaviour between the government and Nations. These protests show that the struggle against DAPL will continue.

San Jose Community Mural Bike Ride

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Over 200 bicycle riders showed up on the San Jose Mural bike ride on Saturday March 4, 2017. The bicycle ride was basically a way to learn about San José’s diverse, vibrant, and rich culture traversing the communities of Gardner, Down-town, East Side, Mayfair, and Japan-town.

The starting point was the Aztec Calendar mural at the Gardner Community Center painted by Antonio Nava Torres in 1995. Nearby we visited the Washington Elementary mural designed by 3rd and 4th graders and painted by local artists.

Afterwards we rode to the East Side to see “The Mural de la Raza” by Jose Meza, one of the oldest murals in San Jose on Story Road, and is about history of the Chicano community. It was highlighted by a talk by “The Homeboy Mad” or Jose Valle.

Heading towards Japan-town we visited Guadalajara Market on Empire Street in San Jose and is the site of 2 murals. It was be the new site of Empire 7 Studios in the future. The highlight of the tour was the exquisite Nosego mural Nichi Bei Busan in San Jose Nihonmachi which we took a group photo.

The San Jose Mural Bicycle ride was organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, De-Bug, and Empire Seven Studios.

Divest and Halt DAPL

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Concetta Ferrell, Xray technologist and San Jose Stands with Standing Rock organizer

Concetta recently divested money from her account at JP Morgan Chase Bank. Chase Bank is one of 17 financial institutions that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). There has been a growing campaign for customers to divest from these banks that support funding the pipelines.

“It’s time for people to come together and act. Find a way to help make things better. It’s time to bring light to the racism and colonization which helped shape our nation. It’s time for real change and people are starting to wake up. I want to help people wake up. Stand up for what we believe in. I feel like the Standing Rock movement is helping me find my voice.”

http://standwithstandingrock.net/take-action/

http://standwithstandingrock.net/category/news/

http://standwithstandingrock.net/oceti-sakowin/

http://www.ienearth.org/