Archive for the ‘Japantown’ Category

Elect Conan O’brien Mayor of San Jose Japantown

450px-O'Brien,_Conan_(with_Elizabeth_Ann_Powel)The folks at Roy’s Station think a redhead would be the number 1 choicest pick for Mayor of Japantown.

Conan O’Brien?

YouTube – See for yourself.

Report unsafe rail crossings

Rail crossing at 7th and Jackson in Japantown.

Rail crossing at 7th and Jackson in Japantown.

If you’re a bike commuter, one of the most dangerous parts of your ride is probably that rail crossing. The one with broken pavement and giant potholes all around it and a Himalaya range of mounded up pavement running along each rail. To cross this track without landing on your face, you’ve got to pick your path carefully, and that might mean swerving out into the traffic lane to cross at a relatively flat spot.

In my case, that rail crossing is at the corner of 7th and Jackson Streets, just on the east edge of Japantown. Getting to my old job, it was on 10th Street, just north of Hedding. There’s probably a few crossings just as bad scattered around other parts of town too.

For years, whenever I mention these problem crossings to city staffers, they’ve told me they rely on Union Pacific railroad to maintain railroad crossings, and there’s little they can do to get them fixed. But just this week, I had a chance to mention that crossing again to a group of city transportation engineering managers, and I learned something new.

Jay Thorstensen from the Transportation department emailed me a day later and let me know its possible to contact UP directly to let them know about dangerous track crossings. Contact details are found on the UP website. Basically, for non-emergency track or crossing maintenance issues in California, the number is (916) 789-6114. That gets through to a real person, though its not clear how quickly he can actually respond to problems. I’m hoping at least that enough calls about a particularly problematic crossing can move it to the top of the list for repairs.

Obon reminder

Taiko drummers at San Jose's Obon festival, 2008. Photo: Dusty Wall

Taiko drummers at San Jose's Obon festival, 2008. Photo: Dusty Wall

This weekend, July 11 and 12, is Obon Festival weekend in San Jose’s Japantown. According to Wikipedia, Obon, also known as the Feast of Lanterns, is “a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one’s ancestors.” The festival highlight is a traditional dance called the Bon-odori.

The San Jose festival is sponsored by the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, and features Taiko drumming and other Japanese music, craft sales, games, and a lecture on buddhism. A schedule is posted on the church website.

  • What: Obon Festival
  • When: July 11 and 12, noon to 8 pm.
  • Where: Japantown, around the corner of 5th and Jackson streets.
  • Cost: free

Bone Marrow Registration Drive Saturday May 30

Roys Station - photo by Matt Bruensteiner

Roy's Station - photo by Matt Bruensteiner

Your chance to save a life could happen today. Two families here in San Jose are looking for a match.

The Asian American Donor Program will be at Roy’s Station Coffee Shop. 28-year old Nick Glasgow is in need of a bone marrow transplant. He is 3/4 Caucasian and 1/4 Japanese-American. Any person of Asian and Caucasian mix can be a potential donor.

Roy’s Station
Saturday, May 30
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
197 Jackson St.
San Jose – 95112

Across town a bone marrow donor registration drive will be held by the Lincoln Glen Little League for 6-year old Mateo Kohler. Mateo was adopted from Guatemala. Though finding a match might be difficult, it should be possible here in the Bay Area.

Lincoln Glen Little League
Saturday, May 30
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
River Glen Park
Pine & Bird Aves. – Willow Glen
Be The Match

Fuel up in Japantown

Roys Station coffee shop

Roy's Station coffee shop

Roy’s Station, the much-awaited new coffee shop in Japantown, has been open since Monday. The new shop is located in a former filling station that has been in the owners’ family for three generations. They’ve restored the building meticulously, and documented their progress on Flickr over the past year.

I’ve stopped in twice now, and they still have a couple of things to work out, like how much water goes into an Americano (if they ask me, it’s about equal to the amount of espresso), but they seem to have things well under control for a place in their first week of business. Their coffee comes from Barefoot Coffee Roasters, and their tea from Teance, both local suppliers.

Roy’s Station is located at the corner of 5th and Jackson Streets, and is open 7 days a week, until 9 pm most of the week and until 10 pm Friday and Saturday.

Art group launched with Momentum

At the reception for Momentum

At the reception for Momentum

“Momentum” is the name of the group show that introduces the Silicon Valley Artists Collaborative. SVCA is a newly formed group of 20 artists dedicated to promoting art education and showing opportunities for artists in the Silicon Valley area.

Their premier show, Momentum, is located at Art Object Gallery in Japantown. The address is 592 N. 5th Street, and runs through February 28. The gallery is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

Works shown in Momentum include paintings, photography, sculpture, and other media. With 20 artists showing, it’s not surprising that styles range widely. There are paintings of a devilish Dick Cheney-figure gobbling up everything around it, photographic portraits of men with exotic sod-based hairstyles, abstract images of ripples in water, textile works, furniture, and more.

Rock ‘N’ Roll 1/2 Marathon to shut down traffic

To the runners preparing for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half-Marathon this Saturday, Oct. 5: Good luck!

To the motorists planning on driving through the city this weekend: Good luck! You will meet plenty of road closures, clogged freeway exits and a lot of athletic-type people running around. They get their exercise while you continue to pollute, which makes these traffic headaches even more guilt-inducing.

But never fear! Here’s a map to help you avoid running over those athletic-types with your SUV (click to enlarge, and notice I said AVOID):

And here’s more traffic information I got via the marathon’s Web site:

Freeway Information

No freeways will be closed on race day; however, expect delays on Highway 87 near downtown and Highway 880 near Bascom Avenue due to the close proximity of the race course to those roads.

Specific Access Routes
Fairmount Hotel / St. Joseph’s Basilica:

Due to close proximity to the finish line at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, allow extra time for alternate access and expect delays before the race starts (7- 8:00 am). Use the following access route during the race (8:00 am – 12 Noon): From San Carlos Street, use 1st and 2nd Street to connect with San Fernando Street. Hotel guests will be metered in/out on Market Street.

Hotel DeAnza
Please notify the hotel’s valet parking service on Saturday night if you will
be leaving between 7:00 and 10:00 am. The race organizers have arranged
for hotel parking on Notre Dame, between Santa Clara and Carlysle
Streets. From this parking area, you will be able to drive north on Notre
Dame, turn left on Julian Street, and access Highway 87/Guadalupe
Parkway. To access the San Jose airport, follow directions above to
Highway 87 north and follow signs to airport. Prior to the complete
reopening of Santa Clara Street/The Alameda at 12:30 pm, use Highway 87
to return to the Hotel De Anza before 10:00 am. From Highway 87, exit east
on Julian Street, turn right on North Almaden Blvd, left on Carlysle Street
and right onto Notre Dame Ave.

Cory Neighborhood
Residents between Newhall and Hedding, Monroe and Bascom, can use
Cherrystone Drive to exit this part of the route between 7:00-11:30 am.
Roiscrucian Neighborhood – YMCA, Calvary & Scientology Churches
Residents, YMCA patrons and church visitors can use Park Avenue for
inbound access and The Alameda for outbound access between 8:00 am
and 12 Noon.

For more assistance regarding road closures and alternate access routes, please
email Please provide as much information as pos-
sible, including your starting and ending destinations, so that we can more readily
assist you.


From the groups July 13 performance at the San Jose Obon Festival.

From the group's July 13 performance at the San Jose Obon Festival.


Hi everyone!

I’m Sarah, a new author for the San Jose Metblog. I’m very excited to contribute and to start off, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself (it’ll be short – I promise!)

– Journalism was my first love. I studied Journalism at SJSU, graduated with a degree in the fabulous subject in 2005, worked for local weekly newspapers for two years, then decided to leave the business. Not because I didn’t love reporting, but because I figured I should get out while I still had the choice. Anyone who’d like to have a conversation about the current state of Journalism in the Bay Area is absolutely welcome to leave a comment and let me know. :)

– I’m currently back at SJSU in the teaching credential program to be a high school English teacher. Yes, I left a poverty-inducing career where getting laid off is a possibility, to enter another poverty-inducing career that is also in danger financially. But what isn’t these days?

– And last, I love photography. I take photos around San Jose all the time, so I’m making it a mission to bring photos to each of my entries, starting with this one!

OK, enough about me. What I really want to tell you all about is the Spirit of Japantown Festival that is planned for next Saturday, Oct. 4. As a Japantown resident, I love telling people how much I love it here and how they should come by and check out some of the delicious food. Sushi Maru is my personal favorite, but Japantown has lots to offer.

The Spirit of Japantown Festival will go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the heart of Japantown (Jackson and Fifth streets) and will be packed with activities for people of all ages. Shoppers will enjoy the Main Street full of Japanese fine arts, crafts, food for sale, as well as wares from other local merchants. Festival-goers will be able to enjoy entertainment that ranges from a hula to bellydancing on the Main Stage (Jackson Street between Third and Fourth streets), as well as Martial Arts demonstrations, free Anime movies, and other activities for kids. The San Jose Taiko group is scheduled to perform on the Main Stage, and I have to say they are a must-see. I’ve watched the group perform at the last two San Jose Obon Festivals and they are phenomenal.

While there is usually plenty of street parking in the area, during festivals, the streets fill up fast. However, those who are lightrail savvy will be interested to know that the Japantown/Ayer stop is just a few blocks away from the action. The stop is on First street near Jackson, so just a quick walk and riders can be in the heart of the action.

So if you’re interested, I’m sending you a personal invitation to my neighborhood to enjoy all it has to offer. See you at the festival!

For more information about the Spirit of Japantown Festival, visit their website.

7 Bamboo, Japantown

7 bamboo

San Jose Blossoms

Lovely Sunday in Japantown

If you want to get a dose of cherry blossoms, you don’t need to look very far. Not only is San Jose sprinkled with cherry blossom trees in general but you can find plenty lining the streets of Japantown. Or if you feel like more of a garden setting, head on down to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelly Park or to Hakone Gardens in Saratoga. These awesome spring days are great for heading out and about.

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