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.



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.

Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa Village)

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.

Matsumoto Castle

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

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.”

Thing Family

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

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.



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.