Hello! It’s Charlene!
Nancy and I went shopping in Japantown for items to feature in the Mandala. It had to be quick because we had a meeting with Mark in about an hour.
We stopped in Soko, where they had an assortment of tiny ceramic paper cranes.
Then a quick look over at Daiso, and Ichiban where we found some really cute food charmes like taiyaki and sushi. We thought those would be really cool to see represented in the Mandala.
At about 1pm we sped over to meet Mark and head over to Kimochi. We met with Anna Sawamura, the program director at Kimochi. They offer support for Seniors.
Nancy and Anna came up with a creative way for the Seniors of Kimochi to contribute art to the Mandala. The deadline is coming up fast so it was important to have an art project that was doable in such a short amount of time. Nancy came up with a few ideas for Anna and we hope to hear back about availability soon.
The Walk through Time
We finished our meeting and rushed to our next destination. The first time I’ve ever walked beyond Post Street. There’s more J-Town to see.
We met up with Brenda and two others, an artist and a choreographer. We went to Kokoro Assisted Living, one of the venue locations for the walk through time performances. It’s an old building and from what I hear, it used to be a Jewish Synagogue. You can see the star of David in the stained glass windows. The architecture is beautiful. The dining area looks like a fancy restaurant with linen covered tables and high ceilings.
In the front lounge, a handsome group of lady seniors sit in the sunlight of the big antique window. It felt like a moment in Downton Abbey, with victorian chairs and an air of proper politeness. If this is what retirement looks like I’m in! It felt more like a hotel rather than a community for seniors. Nancy met with Naoko Jones, the Director of Activities for Kokoro. She told her about the Mandala and they discussed how the seniors could be involved in the process. I was then introduced to Naoko and was appointed her point person in the coming weeks leading to the performance.
Our next stop was at Konko-Kyo Church of San Francisco, which is where the performances start for “the walk through time”. It’s a typical church, with a stage area, a pulpit and pews. But this place had a display of ornate porcelain dolls and miniature figurines...it looked almost like a red shrine of an imperial court! It was for Girls Day or Japanese Doll Festival [hinamatsuri] I had to look it up when I got home, but the festival is a celebration for girls! We also met with the preacher who is a woman in what looked like a black karate robe.
Off to the next location, Japanese American Citizens League National Headquarters. I wasn’t able to stay long at this location. The venue is a challenging space for performance. The room is a bit narrow and the bright lighting reflects down from the upper floors. They had some Japanese internment photos on display.