July 8: Sanfrancisco

I met Mrs. Hideko Yoshimoto, a journalist living in San Jose. Mr. Tooru Ono, General Secretariat of COARA got acquainted with her when he gave a lecture in Stanford University and introduced her through the web. Since then, I have been exchanging E-mails with her. I was surprised to know that she lived in a walk-distance from Mrs. Eriko's home. I asked Mrs. Yoshimoto to pick us at 2 p.m.
Mrs. Hideko is a very charming lady wearing a cap smartly. Mr. James came home from the office and joined the conversation. Mrs. Hideko has been in San Jose since her husband was transferred to here 9 years ago. She works as a journalist sending the latest information on personal computer or Internet trends of San Jose to a Japanese magazine. She was interested in Mr. James' business and talked much with him. Mrs. Hideko and the Blades said they were willing to exchange from now on. It is my greatest pleasure to see such an expansion of human circle.
We wanted to talk much more, but as I was scheduled to see and enjoy a jazz live with another friend, Mr. Okabe, we left the Blades home and headed San Francisco. Blue sky in San Jose gradually turned into foggy weather. We arrived at "Foggy San Francisco" in an hour. As we approach the downtown, the housing becomes crowded. But as the coloring of wall or roof is regulated by a law to use light pastel colors, the appearance of the town gives us a uniformed impression.
Mrs. Hideko and I talked over about how volunteers should join the activities in COARA. She introduced me a case study in the US in which the relationship between administration and volunteer activities is clearly established. Her study made me think many things.
We were so absorbed in talking, we missed a right way to downtown. We were forced to cross Bay Bridge against our will. The bridge is of two storied, crowded with the evening rush. The lower lanes finally brought us to Oakland.
After all, as I hoped to see the downtown, we returned the bridge which was destroyed by the San Francisco Earthquake and many people were killed. The bridge is restored completely.
There is a toll gate on the upper lanes. We paid $2 to cross the bridge. The fog was disappeared and I could view a wonderful landscape. I felt as if I wanted to say thank you for our mistake. I got a glimpse of Golden Gate in the fog far in the west.
We finally got the right way and entered the downtown. There are many tall buildings. Japanese Consulate is located in one of them. Trolley bus runs on the street.
We passed famous China Town and ran up and down steep roads after the popular cable car. Victorian style lovely houses are on both sides of the streets. Many cars park bumper-to- bumper on the steep slopes.
I could look down Alcatraz Island which was once used as a prison. I felt as if I were dived directly into the sea from the top of the steep street. I imagined how hard it was to drive horse wagons in old days. I was amazed by the idea of constructing grid patterned streets on such steep hills.
Fisherman's Wharf is crowded with many tourists who are wearing jackets and walking in a cold weather.
We passed famous slope called Lombard. A winding steep S-shaped road runs down through beautiful flower beds filled with full blossoms of hydrangea. Many tourist are vying with one another for taking pictures.
After the sightseeing of downtown, we again crossed Bay Bridge and arrived a live house located in downtown Oakland. The live house is in a large Japanese style restaurant run by a Japanese female owner. In the entrance is such a Mt. Fuji designed stained glass on the ceiling. We enjoyed a black female vocalist's excellent songs with eating sushi canape.
Mr. Okabe is a journalist living in San Francisco. He once made a speech in COARA meeting and stayed my house. We were very worry about him because he didn't come in time. After the entertainment was over, he finally appeared. He got a hard time to be involved in a traffic jam by caused by an accident. Mr. Sato, a newspaper reporter of the Asahi city editor's section, joined as well. We took a commemorative picture. Mr. Okabe wears sweater and Mr. Sato is in suite.
We changed the seat to an adjacent sushi room and talked much. This is the first experience for us to eat in a Japanese restaurant since we came to the USA. We took sushi dishes. In front of Mr. Sato is miso soup and a sushi set. In the front section of his dish is famous "California Roll", made from tuna and avocado. Others are "Rock'n Roll" sushi with many kinds of ingredient. Wasabi and ginger were tasteful as well. The seat of the room is dug so as one can stretch one's legs and leaning back to the seat. The room looked like just like Japanese, but beyond the room fitted with glass runs Amtrak trains. Yes, this is Oakland. Thanks to Mrs. Hideko's driving through the midnight highway, we could come back to the Blades home safely.

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