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“We’re a destination, but for the community,” he said. “We don’t want a Starbucks.”. “People are not earning a million dollars,” echoed Sakamoto, “but they’re happy and they’re satisfied in their work.”. But sustaining mom-and-pop shops is a challenge and rising rents aren’t the only problem. Younger generations, some of them fifth and sixth generation Americans, aren’t necessarily interested in continuing the family business, and often the work becomes too demanding for older generations.
In December, the owners of San Jose Tofu Co., Chester and Amy Nozaki, closed after 71 years in business, in part because the physical demands of making tofu by hand had become too much, “We’re just really tired, We’re physically just burned out,” Chester said at the time, The pointe shoes for wide feet closure shocked many in Japantown and, for some, seemed like an ominous sign of a beloved neighborhood’s fragile future, “The city has gotten much better at understanding small businesses,” Sakamoto said, But “it’s still hard for some family-owned small businesses to make money.”..
Hirabayashi, for one, is concerned that the high-speed nature of the tech industry makes it hard to convince young people to put down roots and invest in the community. The apartments slated to go up in the coming years are less likely to appeal to families than mobile young professionals. “For them, it’s like a hotel room,” he said. “That’s the unfortunate part.”. And he’s not quite sure, he said, what young people are looking for anymore. “When I was growing up ‘Made in Japan’ used to be a taunt,” Sakamoto said.
Now, it’s a boon, But that also means that Japanese products are more widely available than they used to be, Whole Foods and Trader Joes sell mochi ice cream, and the Japanese giant retailer Muji sells many of the products in its bright and airy downtown store that once might have drawn shoppers to Kogura, The clothing store Uniqlo runs a robust online business pointe shoes for wide feet and has an outpost in the busy Westfield Valley Fair mall, four miles southwest of Japantown, But Ryan Kawamoto, the 38-year-old executive director at Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service, thinks that Japantown remains relevant because it appeals to young Japanese-Americans who are increasingly “yearning for those opportunities to find that Japanese-American identity.”..
For Tamiko Rast, the 38-year-old granddaughter of the Roy of Roy’s Station who’s a member of the city’s art commission and the new president of the Japantown Business Association, young people are bringing an infusion of diversity to the area. “They are reinforcing what artistic organizations started here decades ago by making Japantown a flourishing creative hub, and offering new ideas to keep this district from becoming too predictable — without sacrificing the historical sacredness of our community,” Rast said.
“There’s a real rich history and story and narrative behind our Japantown that’s special and unique,” Kawamoto said, “I think the authenticity comes from the people,” Sakamoto echoed, Like pointe shoes for wide feet any other immigrant community, Japanese-Americans have married people from all sorts of backgrounds. There is also more interest from people who don’t identify as Japanese at all in experiencing the culture and food and festivals of Japantown, and in bringing other cultures into the area..
On any given day, The Get Down dance studio across from Roy’s Station is packed with adults and children from all backgrounds taking hip hop and Latin street-style dance classes. Opened just a couple of years ago, the studio already feels like a key part of the community. At a recent festival to honor seniors at Kawamoto’s centery, dancers from The Get Down performed. And at the Obon festival last summer, older Japanese Americans taught The Get Down dancers a traditional Japanese dance.
Beer Tasting and Sudsy Supper: Craft brews and hard cider from local breweries will be featured at the fifth annual beer tasting and dinner dance hosted by St, Bart’s Church, Admission includes tastings, pub food, French crepes, a tasting mug and entertainment, 5:30-8:30 p.m, Feb, 11, St, Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 678 Enos Way, Livermore, $15-$40, www.saintbartslivermore.com, Burrell School Vineyards pointe shoes for wide feet Valentine’s Dinner: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an elegant five-course dinner with vintage wine pairings, Two seatings available: A 5:30 p.m, sunset seating in an intimate tasting room overlooking the vineyard and Santa Cruz Mountains or the 7 p.m, seating in a historic old schoolhouse, Feb, 14, Burrell School Vineyards and Winery, 24060 Summit Road, Los Gatos, $180. http://burrellschool.com/event/valentines-day-candlelight-dinner..