Photos of Tanabata Festival in Balboa Park!

Late this afternoon I stepped into the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to enjoy their first ever Tanabata Festival!

I arrived half an hour before the festival officially opened, and as time progressed more and more people arrived for this joyful summer event. I lingered for a while to enjoy the sights, smells and tastes, and to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture and the Tanabata holiday.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden website: “Originating from Chinese folklore, Tanabata is a holiday that celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi. Separated by the Milky Way, the stars Orihime and Hikoboshi are able to meet once per year on the seventh day of the seventh month. On Sunday, July 7th, JFG has partnered with the Minatomo Japanese Community to have their inaugural Tanabata Festival in San Diego!”

As I walked randomly about I learned about the Tanabata tradition of tanzaku: wishes are written on small pieces of paper which are then hung with other happy decorations on bamboo. I paused to admire some living moss art–kokedama. I then walked down into the Lower Garden.

Outside the Inamori Pavilion yummy Japanese food was being prepared. Inside the elegant pavilion there was artwork, including some bright, very colorful fluorescent paintings. I caught the first scheduled performance in the pavilion, which was an onigiri (rice ball) preparation demonstration. I was shown how to easily fold a paper flower.

I then headed back to the Upper Garden and listened as Write Out Loud presented a Japanese fairy tale. I paused to admire a bunch of origami artwork that was being created.

Every person I met was smiling.

I hope this is the first of many wonderful Tanabata Festivals at the Japanese Friendship Garden. That is my wish.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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A few short stories about light in one’s life.

To an ancient person, light is a life-sustaining gift from a distant bright god. To a modern person, light is electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the eye’s retina. To an artist, light might be some of both . . . and much more.

When I write, I’m never certain what precise thing light represents. In many stories it seems to symbolize a life-sustaining hope, or a radiation of the spirit detected by the heart. It might signal a burning love, living with eyes wide open, or intangible rays from beyond that define life’s shape. A glimpse of ultimate truth. A bright gift that is magical, momentary, precious.

I don’t know. What is light to you?

Following are seven short works of fiction where light is an integral part of the story:

Light at the Edges

The Firefly

One Lone Candle

One Strange, Shimmering Dream

How to Paint Angels

A Dance in the Lightning

Walking on Light

Photography depicts human lives In Transit.

Every human life is important.

This truth becomes abundantly clear when you visit the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Their current exhibition, In Transit, features the photography of five artists who document the plight of refugees.

According to the description: “Focusing on the tentative, limbo-like experience of living between different cultures, these five artists explore narratives of immigrants who traverse the no-man’s land existing between home and hope.”

The five artists are: George Awde, Gohar Dashti, Daniel Castro Garcia, Tanya Habjouqa, and Stefanie Zofia Schulz.

This emotionally powerful exhibition runs through July 14, 2019. One should see it.

These photographs help us to more deeply understand Humanity.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A story about the pages of one’s life.

I’ve completed another short story. The Star Maker is about the torn pages of one’s life. Folded together. Made into something perfect.

From our own complex stories we create our own stars.

Read the small, surprising story by clicking here.

Faces of INSIDE OUT still smile in Chula Vista!

A harsh winter with rain and wind, and an occasional prankster, but dozens of optimistic faces still smile in Chula Vista!

Last weekend, as I walked down H Street east of Fourth Avenue, my eyes were surprised to see a row of large, smiling faces in an alley. They looked out at the world from a long, low wall. I turned into the alley to have a closer look.

What I discovered were faces photographed and turned into public art by the international INSIDE OUT project. INSIDE OUT had come to San Diego’s South Bay in September 2018 to encourage people to express their unique identity and viewpoint, and vote in the upcoming election.

The INSIDE OUT project is the brainchild of an anonymous artist named JR. Large‐format images of individuals in a community are pasted on buildings and along streets. Activist messages are conveyed visually, with personality and a smile!

This global “people’s art project” has achieved enormous reach. By late September 2018 over 260,000 people had participated in 129 countries!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Student posters: Equality and Justice For All.

Justice and Equality.
Justice and Equality.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s a day for reflection and hope.

This morning I walked past San Diego’s downtown Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse. I paused by several window displays to take photographs of colorful youth art.

The artwork was chosen from many entries to the San Diego County Bar Association’s 2018 Law Week Poster and Video Contest. The theme was: What does Equality and Justice for All mean to students?

Taking sharp photos through the windows was a challenge. I had to increase the contrast for each of these images.

Enjoy a few bits of wisdom from young hearts and minds:

Equal and Free!
Equal and Free!
Respect . . . Fairness . . . Education . . .
Respect . . . Fairness . . . Education . . .
All should mean Everyone.
All should mean Everyone.
Equality and Justice for All.
Equality and Justice for All.
Equality and Justice.
Equality and Justice.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Help reopen Christine’s downtown coffee cart!

I’m not a regular customer of Christine’s Coffee, but I often walk down B Street past the downtown coffee cart, and I’ll grab a hot chocolate on super cold mornings. If Christine happens to see me as I pass by she always smiles and waves. She is the friend of many. She is an important part of the life of our city.

So it was shocking to see a notice on her boarded-up cart about a month ago that explained her cart had been torched by an arsonist. Apparently is was set on fire in the middle of the night by a transient.

A couple days ago I spotted another notice on her destroyed cart. It explains that she has a GoFundMe page, and has plans to reopen the coffee cart.

If you’d like to help Christine, please go to her GoFundMe page here.

A past blog post featured the friendly wave of Christine at her coffee cart. That smile and wave need to be restored! Please click the link to her GoFundMe page and help out!


Christine’s Coffee has reopened!