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.

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

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

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

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.”

Mariachi Flor De Toloache


Mariachi Flor De Toloache was greeted by a very enthusiastic crowd at the San Jose Mexican Heritage Plaza on Sunday October 30, 2016. It was part of the San Jose Jazz Fall Concert Series at the La Ultima Parada: A Celebration of Life on the Day of the Dead. Their emotive songs are a mixture of mostly traditional ones and modern influenced songs done mostly in Spanish but some English. Mariachi Flor De Toloache are an indie multicultural all women mariachi group that was founded in 2008 and based in New York City. They are co-led by Mireya I. Ramos (founder) and Shae Fiol (original member), as well as, Julie Acosta on trumpet and Eunice Aparicio on guitarron. The 13 members perform violins, trumpets, guitarron (bass), vihuela (5 string guitar) and guitar. They are a diverse group as the members are from United States, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Dominican Republic, Italy, Cuba, Colombia, and Mexico.

Refinery Healing Walk Rodeo to Richmond 7-17-2016

Lead walker is Chrystal White Eyes followed by Kandi Mossett (Indigenous Environmental Network), Pennie Opal Plant, and Alison Ehara-Brown both from Idle No More SF Bay

On Sunday July 17th 2016 Idle No More SF Bay organized an inspired 13 mile Refinery Healing Walk from Rodeo (Phillips 66) to Richmond (Chevron) that 125-150 people attended and marched. This was the twelfth in a total of sixteen Refinery Healing Walks that originally started during the Spring of 2014. The purpose of the Refinery Healing Walks are: 1. Clean air, water & soil 2. Safe jobs, roads, railroads & waterways 3. A vibrantly healthy future for all children 4. A just transition to safe & sustainable energy.

Idle No More SF Bay are a group of Native Americans and allies fighting for Indigenous rights, rights of Mother Earth, and rights of future generations to a sustainable and healthy environment.

The organization helps organize the American Indian community in the San Francisco Bay Area with marches and actions related to their mission. They have conducted solidarity actions with 1st Nation brothers and sisters at the Canadian consulate and other fossil fuel activities. In 2014 inspired by Tar Sands Healing Walks in Alberta, Canada Idle No More SF Bay created a series of healing walks along the refinery corridor in the North-east San Francisco Bay where there are five oil refineries.


Japanese Screen Printing

Nao Matsuzawa and Eiko Toyooka in 1990 created a screen print business called Harvest Land Screen Print & Design in Berkeley to share Japanese culture with people. Both Nao and Eiko have successfully integrated traditional and modern techniques to create striking works of art. They participate in local community festivals to share their creative works.