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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Help Save Japantown!

I've been reading about a very distressing plan to buy up major portions of San Francisco's Japantown. If this happened, a major cultural home, already terribly diminished, would be virtually destroyed.

When I was growing up in New Jersey/New York, we had no Japantown. Japanese people were scattered all over the five boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut. We all gathered together for church every Sunday, and spent all day there, listening to interminable sermons first in English, then again in Japanese. Various groups cooked lunch for everyone, and we made a major day of it. That was the extent of our Japantown, the only way we place we could gather people in our community together. Then everyone dispersed to their little towns and neighborhoods where we were the only Japanese people around.

I was so astonished when I came to San Francisco and visited Japantown for the first time. At first it seemed like a tourist magnet, but the more time I spent there the more I realized that it really is a true community center, where people could gather and meet and learn taiko and buy omanju and share history and just hang out. The last apartment I lived in in San Francisco before I moved to Oakland was on Pine Street, right on the border of Jtown. I loved living there, being able to walk down and buy pink omanju and fresh tofu and great paper and everything. I love the Kinokuniya bookstore and stationery place, and I can't imagine them not existing. I felt so connected to that place and I was so happy it existed.

We still take a major expedition every month or two and it makes us all glad. We eat at the noodle restaurant, and the kids spend their allowance in the Sanrio store, we go and ogle the beautiful tansu furniture at Genji Antiques. It's a great way to spend a day.

There are only three Japantowns in the country now: in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose. If these sales go through, it will be down to two. Japantown Bowl, a great institution, already bit the dust several years ago. Don't let it go any further than that. Please.

Sign the petition. And read more if you want.






Blogger gayle said...

Hi Susan! Thank you for letting me know about this. The link to the petition doesn't seem to be working, but I was able to find the URL. I hope the campaign will be successful!

Thursday, February 23, 2006 9:48:00 PM

Blogger Susan said...

gayle - thanks so much for the heads-up. I just fixed the link.

Friday, February 24, 2006 10:59:00 AM

Blogger Tom said...

If John is reading (re-reading?) Jared Diamond's book, I wonder if he has read Daniel Dennett's book, "Breaking the Spell, Religion as Natural Phenomenon."

Sunday, March 05, 2006 7:55:00 AM


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