Sakata is coast port town in Yamagata Prefecture along the Sea of Japan. Sakata was developed by merchants in the 17th to 19th century to trade rice and local products from Hokkaido to Kyoto and Tokyo. Currently the city produces some of finest sake and rice in all of Japan. It is also located near Mount Chokai and it’s network of spring water and waterfalls. The area also consumes the highest consumption of ramen in Japan.
Yokohama Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Japan and started in 1859 when Japan opened to foreign trade. The Chinese migrants opened institutions and temples such as Yokohama Kanteibyo (Guan Di Miao) 横滨关帝庙 which became a center for Chinese immigrants. After World War II a goodwill archway of Paifang was built and the area was recognized as Chinatown. Yokohama Chinatown has over 300 densely packed Chinese shops and restaurants. To access Yokohama Chinatown please either take JR Negishi Line get off Ishikawacho Station or take Minatomirai Line and exit Motomachi-Chukagai Station.
Babe’s Muffler Service in San Jose has been in business since 1953. In order to attract more business, “The Muffler Man” was created in the 1960’s. There are more than 220 muffler statues throughout the United States. The City of San Jose designated Babe as a historic Landmark. The statue of Babe The Muffler Man is located at 808 The Alameda in San Jose near the San Jose Sharks hockey arena.
The Hara Model Railway Museum in Yokohama is a special place to visit. But due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Railway Museum is closed indefinitely. You can start off by experiencing real train driving by trying Ugotetsu (a train simulator). Nobutara Hara, the creator, has a nice display of his HO Gauge Models. Mr. Hara has an impressive collection and knowledge of model train history. The Hara Museum has some very colourful dioramas or three dimensional miniature railways. It is definitely a worthy side trip to visit the Hara Model Railway Museum.
The laundromat mural was painted in 2017 by local San Jose artist Samuel Rodriguez. It is a mural of Sam’s daughter and it is located at Kiem Service Laundromat at 349 East Empire Street in San Jose Japantown. The mural was coordinated by Juan Carlos Araujo and Jennifer Ahn of Empire Seven Studios (E7S). Sam is a self taught artist in San Jose through graffiti art but later he developed a ‘Topographical Portraiture’ and ‘Type Faces’ style and showcases his style in community activities and work. He displays his work at many public art spaces, museums, companies, galleries and in editorial publications.
The Marunouchi Line is a subway line in Tokyo. It’s route is between Ogikubo Station in Suginami-ku in west Tokyo then running eastbound through Shinjuku, after that it runs through Tokyo Station eastbound, it finishes at Ikebukuro Station near the Yamanote Line. The Marunouchi Line was built after the war and was completed in 1954 and was named after the Marunouchi district near Tokyo Station. It is the one the most busiest and crowded of the subway lines in Tokyo and runs both below and above ground. The subway has a unique third-rail electric system and it’s cars are only 18m per car. Recently in early 2019 the new red colored 2000 series trains came into service with lower power consumption and wheelchair and stroller access.
The banner Defund, Demilitarize (Black Lives Matter) was created and raised up by Khalilah Ramirez and her group The Dance of Peace in San Jose on June 9th 2020 in front of San Jose City Hall. Khalilah Ramirez is the creator of performance art called The Dance of Peace and its purpose is to effect inner light, joy, and peacefulness in people. She is an artist, educator, and author based in San Jose and works with groups such as Silicon Valley De-bug, Sangham Arts, and San Jose State University. Khalilah Ramirez and her members Calia Kammer, and Sharat Lin danced in front of San Jose City Hall for their performance. Sharat Lin said the banner’s purpose was for “Peace and love for the community, instead of police brutality and killings” as it relates to the recent George Floyd killing and protests.
Matsukenpan is a relatively new family run bakery in Soka City, Japan located in Saitama Prefecture. The owners are Matsuken and Mayumi who are husband and wife. Their menu includes: 1. Bread of different types 2. Croissants 3. Koppapan (sandwich). Mayumi was quoted in saying “I’m working hard to become a Matsukenpan loved by everyone.” The address of Matsukenpan is: 2-12-7 Takasago, Soka City, Saitama Kobayashi Building 1F near the Soka train station.