In the Northeast corner of Tokyo lies Arakawa City which is called the “City of Manufacturing.” But it also has a rich history, culture, and charm. Some of the features of Arakawa are the Toden Arakawa Line or Sakura Line which is the only streetcar in Tokyo, Arakawa Yuen an amusement park, and the Sumida River. Arakawa City is where one can experience everyday life in Tokyo.
This mural at fountain alley in downtown San Jose was painted by Lili Gemellos. Lili is a muralist in San Jose who has painted San Pedro Square, Bank of Italy, and Museum of Modern Art around downtown San Jose. The dripping paint of the mural symbolizes the melting of cultures in San Jose.
Shimokitazawa is a mini town in Setagaya, Tokyo with small and independently owned stores and businesses. There are many vintage shops and second-hand clothing, stylish cafes, small theaters, and unique snacks. One section of Shimokitazawa are decorated by mural artists. The business owners asked artists to draw murals on the shutters to brighten the neighborhood.
Christmas in the Park, a non-profit organization in San Jose, is a yearly holiday tradition consisting of over 40 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights, community decorated trees, and the 60-foot Community Giving Tree. For over 40 years 750,000 people annually visit the holiday decorations from all over the Bay Area and beyond. The history of Christmas in the Park started when Don Lima owner of Lima Family Mortuary in San Jose built a Nativity display in front of his business. Eventually the displays and the crowds grew bigger and bigger so in the 1970s Lima donated the displays to the City of San Jose. Since 2012 Christmas in the Park took full ownership of this event with assistance from the city with paid staff and countless volunteers to make this event a success every year.
Ouchi-juku 大内宿 is a historical town that have preserved structures with traditional thatched roof buildings that are over 300 years old. In the Edo period (1603-1867) Ouchi-juku was a town that served people traveling between Aizu and Nikko. Ouchi-juku is also famous for handmade soba noodles eaten with negi (onion). Ouchi-juku has several annual festivals, one during the second weekend of February for the Ouchi-juku Snow Festival, and the Hange Mid-Summer Festival in July. If you have time please visit and support Ouchi-juku located in Fukushima Prefecture.
Cobre painting a mural (his son) at Pow Wow San Jose 2019. The mural is at UA 393 Union Hall, 6293 Ignacio Ave San Jose, CA. powwowsanjose.com
Andres Iglesias AKA Cobre is a self taught muralist from Santa Fe, Argentina. He started painting by tagging, making letters, and characters anywhere. Andres roots are as a filmmaker and animator but painting was his passion and he developed it into an art form through much practice. Cobre’s style is realism and he has painted Robin Williams in San Francisco, Mario Benedetti in Uruguay, and Frida Kahlo back home in Argentina. He has also painted in Dubai, France, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Uruguay, and the United States.
I visited Le Bage Bagel Shop in Yanaka by chance walking through Yanaka in Tokyo. Photograph of owner.
The Le Bage Bagel Shop is a good place to stop in a quiet neighborhood of Yanaka. The store originated in Nara and moved to Tokyo in 2017.
The business is committed to quality by using 100% Hokkaido domestic wheat blended with raw sugar from Kagoshima Prefecture and salt from Brittany, France. The bagel has a unique sweet honey flavor which is quite delicious.
Bagel are said to have originated in Poland in the 17th century. They are baked and boiled before baking. The basic ingredients of bagels are wheat flour, salt, water, and yeast.
The unique flavors of Le Bage Bagel Shop make it stand out like: wheat, rye, pumpkin, black sesame, lemon tea, fig, dukkah, matcha white chocolate, matcha bean paste, mugwort bean paste, and curry.
If you are visiting the Yanaka area in Tokyo I recommend you please visit.
2-5-13 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo BAGLE SHOP Le bage
The Takayama morning market is one of the largest in Japan. The Jinya-mae market is located on the Miyagawa River from Kaji bashi Bridge to Yayoi bashi Bridge in Takayama. The market holds about 60 farmers or vendors who sells fruits, vegetables, pickles, spices, sweets, foods, drinks, and crafts among other things. Jinya-mae market originated over 300 years ago when silk farmers sold mulberry trees. The Takayama morning market is open from April to November from 7:00 to noon and December to March from 8:00 to noon. It is a 10 minute walk from JR Takayama Station.
Mallard Slough Trail Alviso (San Jose)
White Pelicans can be some of the largest North American birds with a 9 foot wingspan and weighing between 9.2 to 30 pounds. They are identified by having large heads and yellow huge bills. For feeding the pelicans dip their bills to swallow fish. Historically White Pelicans were threatened with extinction due to DDT pesticides during the 1950s and 1960s but returned back to health due to stricter environmental protection laws. White Pelicans generally live in the lakes, marshes, and salt ponds most of the time. The birds are similar to Brown Pelicans except they are larger and don’t dive from the air for fish.
25 years at SAP Center San Jose celebrates the performers and artists who performed at the Center during that time. Included in the mural are local ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi, popular singer Adele, norteno group Los Tigres del Norte from San Jose, gymnast Simone Biles, the San Jose Sharks, rapper E-40, and legendary singer Elton John. The San Jose mural was organized by Empire Seven E7, an contemporary art gallery located in San Jose advocating for local/global artists and painted by the Los Angeles based The Draculas who focuses on illustration-based projects that find inspiration in narrative.