San Francisco: Japantown 2004

photo: JapanTown, San Francisco

At 7:30 walk from the San Francisco Centre to Nihon Machi, where everything is closed until 11:00, save the restaurant where I wanted to eat lunch. That’s closed until tomorrow. So I walk up through Pacific Heights until I can see San Francisco Bay. Then I rest on a park bench in Alta Plaza. The cool breeze blowing off the ocean makes it a joy to sit in a park in the sun. In Austin, I don’t see why anyone bothers to go outdoors this time of year.

Head back to Nihon Machi. This spot of green is in the Peace Plaza behind the pagoda, the only respite in the grey concrete–which is more true to the spirit of modern Japan than people who haven’t been there can imagine.

Browse Kinokuniya, then have lunch at the floating sushi restaurant. This is fun once, but the quality of the sushi is below even Austin standards and so overall the experience is disappointing.

Back to Kinokuniya where I purchase the Japanese versions of Totto-chan and Harry Potter. (I had carefully written out the Japanese name of Totto-chan and when I asked the clerk if she had it, she puzzled over it a minute, remembered the English name, and lead me to English-language section of the store. “Yes, but do you have it in Japanese?” She gave me a look, a quizzical look. Then without another word, trotted to the Japanese section, found the last copy in stock, and handed it to me.)

I go to the stationers and buy some postcards and some word cards. Then to the super to get some sake and manju. I’m worn out with shopping, but I feel that there is no point in going back to the hotel to sit around. Yet, that’s exactly what I end up doing. After a bath and a nap, I head out again at 5:PM to do some shopping on the way to meeting AJM at Yerba Buena at 7:PM. When he doesn’t show by 7:30, I decide he must have met up with some other JavaOne folk and so decide to eat dinner on my own. I don’t know what I want and find myself in front of the Hotel Milano again. I go up to our room (808) and there he and Petko are! preparing for their presentation.

The four of us go out for dinner; Petko and Daniella want to eat Japanese so I end up at Tempura House again (my third Japanese meal in a row). We return to our room at 9:PM, frazzled, exhausted, but full. I immerse myself in Harry Potter.

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