Ringing the Japanese Friendship Bell!

The Japanese Friendship Bell on San Diego’s Shelter Island is rung perhaps twice a year: typically for the New Year and during special occasions.

Yesterday, the completion of the Pacific Rim Park Friendship Walk was one such occasion!

Those who participated in this walk for peace were invited up in groups of four to ring the large bell, which was forged in Japan. The bell was given to San Diego in 1958 by the city of Yokohama, its Sister City, as a token of eternal friendship. The bell symbolizes the hope for everlasting peace.

The traditional bronze bell, six feet high and almost two and half tons, was cast by Masahiko Katori, who has been called a Living National Treasure by the government of Japan.

I was expecting a loud booming clang when the swinging wooden pole struck the bell, but the sound was surprisingly low and mellow. It was a dignified, subtle, spiritual sound. The bell spoke with a voice that was strangely sublime.

Before the ringing of the Japanese Friendship Bell commenced, the taiko drumming group Genbu Daiko performed nearby.

In groups of four, people approach the Japanese Friendship Bell on Shelter Island.

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Building the San Diego Community Christmas Center!

The holidays must be near in San Diego, with Balboa Park’s December Nights right around the corner. Because look what I saw today!

San Diego Community Christmas Center volunteers were at work in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion erecting their annual Nativity Display and Gingerbread House!

I was told Santa and his reindeer will be showing up soon, too! (With a little help from City of San Diego Parks and Recreation.)

It was a bit odd to see life-size Biblical figures wrapped up in plastic. A shepherd was lying down nearby, after having “surgery” on his hand. It had been broken last year when some member of the public tore away his staff. Whatever your beliefs might be, that’s pretty sad.

The San Diego Community Christmas Center is a non-profit committee that maintains an over half century old tradition. According to their website, the Chamber of Commerce first initiated the project after World War II. Horton Plaza was first to display the Biblical figures. The next home for the Nativity Scene was the Civic Center on Pacific Highway. Finally, in 1953, the location was moved to its present home in the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Bless The Healers in Golden Hill.

A large, bold mural in San Diego’s Golden Hill neighborhood shows a praying nurse and reads: Essential – Bless The Healers. It can be seen on the side of a building on the southwest corner of 30th Street and B Street.

I discovered the mural yesterday. I hadn’t walked this way in quite a long time. Given the message, I suppose the mural was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. But I don’t know exactly when it was painted, or by whom. Leave a comment if you know!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Japanese spiritual dolls exhibit in Balboa Park.

I’d never heard of the expression “spiritual dolls” until I visited Balboa Park last weekend.

KOKORO NO KATACHI | Image of the Heart is an exhibition of spiritual dolls at the Japanese Friendship Garden. It features the work of Kimiko Koyanagi and Michiko Stone, artists who combine traditional Japanese doll-making with contemporary art.

The two sisters are third-generation ningyo doll-makers, descendants of the Japanese Doll-Making Muraoka Family of Tokyo. Their work has been exhibited internationally.

The dolls on display are beautiful in their simplicity. The sculptural figures appear serene, pure of spirit, almost angelic.

According to the JFG website’s description, these dolls are meant to be poetic. They convey deep emotion and philosophical meaning.

Many of the spiritual dolls are thin and elongated. To me their soft forms seem to have emerged from inside growing wood, or bone, or from living beams of light.

One fascinating display shows the many steps taken to make these unique dolls. If you’re a crafty person, you certainly want to see this!

Image of the Heart can be experienced in person inside the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden through October 30, 2022.

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!

Culture, spirituality at UC San Diego Powwow.

The UC San Diego 2022 Powwow began late this morning with Bird Singers from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

As people slowly arrived at Marshall College Field, the singers sang ancient stories of the world’s creation. Traditional dancers and shaken gourd rattles moved in rhythm with the words.

In the San Diego sunshine, the culture and history of the Kumeyaay was alive, passing from heart to heart, from generation to generation.

One of the bird singers explained how culture and spirituality live together hand in hand. The singing takes much time and sacrifice. It is for the people. It brought him and others happiness, enriching life in many ways.

Bringing this beautiful music to our world helps many to thrive in this day and time.

I listened. Took some photos. I stretched my legs and ate some Kumeyaay fry bread with powdered sugar and drizzled honey. Yum!

Bird Singers were followed by Gourd Dancers.

After a little while, I felt the urge to move forward through this amazing world, and I walked again down my path.

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!

Linda Vista Messenger of Love and Light!

If you’ve ever driven past the Buggy Bath Car Wash in Linda Vista, you might’ve seen this cool abstract mural that looks like a bird in flight. It’s titled Linda Vista Messenger of Love and Light.

The complex, spiritual artwork was painted in 2014 by San Diego artist Gibran Isaias Lopez, aka Isaias Crow. Over the years, I’ve photographed a variety of his murals. Click here if you’d like to see them again.

Here’s a great local article concerning the Linda Vista Messenger of Love and Light!

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!

Myth, wonder and WOW in San Diego!

Wonder, surprise, and plenty of WOW was experienced by those visiting Liberty Station today. That’s because La Jolla Playhouse was in their final day of the 2022 Without Walls Festival!

Among many outdoor performances free to the public was the colorful, kinetic procession TransMythical.

Strange, never-before-seen spirits, nature gods, high priests and mythological creatures appeared from the arches at the edge of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

As they emerged, they seemed to step tentatively into an unfamiliar world–our world.

The mysterious creatures looked about with wonder. They wandered, gathered, formed a procession.

Appearing beautifully strange–and strangely familiar–the giant puppets and masked characters interacted with the crowd in a very human way. But then–all elemental myths are composed by us human types–right?

During the performance a baby deer was born.

The mythical creatures and we humans all looked on with wonder. The fawn was greeted with happiness.

The tiny deer looked about our shared world with newly opened eyes.

These strangely wonderful myths were brought to life by the San Diego-based Animal Cracker Conspiracy!

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 secret place for High Flight in Coronado.

In Coronado, in a secret place overlooking the Coronado Yacht Club, there’s a shady nook where the human spirit can find High Flight.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

–John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England during World War II. On December 11, 1941, at the age of 19, his Spitfire accidentally collided with another plane and he crashed to his death. Learn more about him here.

If you’d like to sit on this special bench in Coronado, and gaze quietly out at the world’s beauty, make your way to the corner of Glorietta Boulevard and Ynez Place.

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!

Love is an Action in San Ysidro!

A newly opened art exhibit in San Ysidro provides hope and inspiration in these difficult times. It’s titled Love is an Action – Amor en los Tiempos de Pandemia (Love in Pandemic Times).

The exhibition features works by regional artists. Positive themes are plentiful, including compassion, acceptance, hope and healing. Most of the artwork concerns female experience and empowerment.

Love is an Action is the 15th Día de la Mujer Art Exhibition at Casa Familiar’s The FRONT Arte & Cultura museum.

I was struck by the power of many of these pieces. They are full of human feeling and authenticity. You can sense how many artists were uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which threw us all into isolation and uncertainty.

You can also clearly see that art can help us through life’s difficulties–to remind us of what is good and what is important–to make us feel alive once again.

This is just a small sample of what you’ll see…

Postcards that visitors can write a message of kindness or encouragement upon. They will be sent anonymously when the exhibition ends.
Breakfast, 2021, Lourdes Araiza. Photograph mounted on wood. Image of Mom eating breakfast, whose loving smile full of gratitude was a blessing.
Amor a lo Natural, 2020, Paola Segura. Oil on canvas. Pride and power, struggle and frustration are often depicted through the artist’s pieces.
The Graduate, 2022, Monica Nunez Aragon. Acrylic.
Tu Sola Alondra, 2022, Alondra Zamora. Acrylic on canvas. The artist’s love letter to her culture as a Mexicana.
Prayer, 2022, Betty Bangs. Acrylic on canvas.
Healing, 2020, Veronica Aranda. Mixed media on canvas. An image that came to the artist of a world healing without pollution.
Re-Member Her site specific installation by Collectivo XoQUE. Imagery of Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui explores women living on the border, and seeks to “create intimacy in the attempt to pick up the fragments of our dismembered womanhood and reconstitute ourselves in harmony with nature, body and soul, and the mind and spirit.”
Braiding a Message of Love.

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!

Beautiful mural in a Paradise Hills alley!

While walking down Reo Drive in Paradise Hills yesterday, I was surprised to discover this extraordinary mural in a nearby alley. It’s painted on a wall half a block to the east, at Albemarle Street.

The street art is filled with spiritual imagery. There’s a ruby heart aflame, nature’s starlit beauty, and a Frida Kahlo among tropical green leaves. That might be her monkey in a palm tree, too!

According to the signature, the mural was created by Shirish Villaseñor and Isabel Garcia of Arte Atolondrada, whose work I’ve enjoyed over the years. I met Shirish a couple years ago. She was part of a team working with Mario Torero to restore the Civil Rights mural in Logan Heights. You can see those photographs here!

I found more of their beautiful work a couple blocks away, but I’ll be posting those pics later.

Meanwhile, look…

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