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P.O. Box 122842
San Diego CA 92112-2842

+1 760 444 4164



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Rocco Satoshi – Yokohama Artist
& Father of Japanese Street Art

Friday, September 21  | 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Japanese Friendship Garden
 | Inamori Pavilion
General … $20 | JFG Member … $15 | Day of … $25


An exuberant reception featuring Rocco, family, and friends: Mission Bay High School Gypsy Jazz Band, Genbu Daiko, freestyle dancing by Kanna Burch, with Live Painting, and special guests at the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Inamori Pavilion. Sponsorship by San Diego Yokohama Sister City Society and Design Consignment Gallery. This reception kicks off Rocco’s American Life Tour and Gallery Exhibition; an art collection thought lost and forgotten being revealed for the first time in 28 years. As vibrant as the day they were painted, America’s largest collection of Satoshi Akiyama, a.k.a. “Rocco”, will be on display at Design Consignment Gallery from September 18 through October 18. Rocco will be an artist in residence and one of three featured artists from three San Diego sister cities coming together for the first time for public murals, workshops, and events throughout San Diego and Tijuana.

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The story behind “Rocco’s American Life” wouldn’t be complete without a reunion with Sister City muralist, Mario Torero of Chicano Park fame. It was Mr. Torero and fellow muralist Ruben Seja who together encouraged Yokohama-based Rocco to come to San Diego nearly 30 years ago for an Art Exchange. The body of work Rocco created is considered among his best work. Over 40 large format acrylic on canvas and 80 smaller works are represented in the exhibition. In the early 90s, Rocco and his team painted one of the largest murals in Chicano Park and an entire building at Albert Einstein Elementary School. A restoration of the mural by the original artists is one of many projects scheduled during Rocco’s Artist in Residence. Rocco also produced a large body of work in Tijuana, the third San Diego Sister City represented. Tijuana artist and border wall muralist, Mr. Enrique Chiu, will be participating in the exhibition side-by-side with Satoshi and Torero. The art exchange climaxes in Tijuana, with all three artists contributing to the US/Mexico border wall project “Mural de la Hermandad” or Mural of Brotherhood, the largest International border art project in the world. Together these artists represent the best of what of Sister City relationships are all about. With these new contributions to San Diego and Tijuana’s public art, they set an example of how an artistic legacy is established to the delight of future generations of artists and the public. A portion of gallery sales will be dedicated to the San Diego Yokohama Sister City Society.

9/18-10/18 Gallery Exhibition | 9/18-9/20 Press and Designer Preview | 9/23 Opening Night @ DCG
Design Consignment Gallery 8840-B Miramar Road, San Diego, CA

For Rocco’s complete schedule, please contact Jeff C. Kelley, DCG Gallery Manager, at (858) 800-2405 or e-mail

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Picture Diary of Environment 2017

Our latest sister city project was to raise awareness of environmental issues in Yokohama and San Diego. Over 400 students from San Diego elementary schools participated in drawing the posters. Below is a link of the posters that were submitted which was exhibited in Yokohama.


Emperor of Japan honors San Diegan with prestigious accolade

Press received “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” from Consul General Akira Chiba at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

“It is a ranked decoration and highly prestigious,” said Jennifer Usyak, the Japanese consulate’s adviser for political and community relations. “We look very carefully at the background of anyone under consideration.”

San Diego resident Thelma Press gets prestigious honor from Japanese government.
(Courtesy photo )

She explained the award recognizes people who promote friendship and good relations between the United States and Japan and who enhance Japanese culture in the United States.

Press’ contributions date back to 1959 when she was living in San Bernardino and co-founded the San Bernardino-Tachikawa Sister City program.

She was appointed as a California representative to Sister Cities International in 1972 and served as president of the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society from 2013-2015.

A Los Angeles woman also received the 2017 Imperial decoration in an earlier ceremony at the consul general’s home.

The emperor’s award requires the approval of his Cabinet. “It is equivalent to the Congressional Gold Medal in the United States or a knighthood in the UK,” Usyak said.

DIANE BELL• U-T Original article Below



On Saturday, November 18, the BUDDHIST TEMPLE OF SAN DIEGO will host a special community event focusing on Japanese American family dynamics. GROWING UP SANSEI centers on a live onstage reading of the comedy-drama “GARAGE DOOR OPENER (a JA Dysfunctional Family Play)” by SOJI KASHIWAGI.

Glenn and Sharon Tanaka’s parents have died, leaving the siblings with the daunting task of clearing out a garage filled with decades worth of dusty accumulations. They’re in for a bumpy ride. What they find will make them laugh, cry, shake their heads, gasp in surprise, and be amazed that there are still things to discover about their parents when they thought they knew it all.

The reading will be followed by a dialogue with the playwright facilitated by DR. SATSUKI INA. Dr. Ina’s counseling expertise is in JA family dynamics so the discussion will cover a lot of ground, including JA childrearing, cultural concepts of shame and endurance and how incarceration affected not only the Nisei but the subsequent generations. Learn how a uniquely JA upbringing comes not only with physical baggage left behind in a cluttered garage but with emotional baggage as well. With the discussion, Dr. Ina aims to help all of us with a decluttering catharsis.

Nisei and children of their generation won’t be the only ones to recognize and find humor and meaning in these topics, as all of us must eventually tackle questions of mortality and the burdens and pride of heritage, as well as determining the legacy we are left with.

BTSD cordially invites you to attend this unique event. Please post and share the attached flier with your organization, family and friends.
We also ask you and your group RESERVE YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE as we need to know how much food to provide.


A delicious buffet lunch precedes the event at 12 noon. Tickets are $10.
The play reading begins at 1:00 pm. Tickets are $15.
Attend one or both! Group reservations welcome!

RESERVATIONS and questions: 619/239-0896 or

2929 Market St.
San Diego, CA 92102


2017 Taste of Asia and the Pacific

The House of Chammaro, China and Philippines present the 5th Taste of Asia and the Pacific, Saturday, Nov. 4, 12PM to 6PM at the International Cottages lawn of Balboa Park.

Food highlights include Chammaron style Chicken, Rice and cucumbers; Chinese Jian bing, bao and dumplings; and Filipino turror sweet bananas, Pancit and lumpia


Obon Festival!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]1440867128Join us this summer as the Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) and Buddhist Temple of San Diego host the annual Obon Festival! We are proud to continue the tradition of celebrating the circle of life together, as done each summer in Japan for generations, and welcome everyone to join our celebration.

For two days, you will be able enjoy a variety of merchants, engage in family friendly activities, treat yourselves to Japanese festival foods, a beer garden, a tea & dessert garden, and experience cultural performances throughout each day!

Each festival day will also be highlighted with traditional Obon practices. On August 4th, you’ll be able to make your own toro nagashi to either take home or send down the stream at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Lantern floating is scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM at the lower garden.

On August 5th, the festival extends out to the Organ Pavilion at 4:00 PM where everyone will be invited to participate in the Bon Odori dance. The Organ Pavilion will be decorated with paper lanterns, Japanese folk tunes and taiko will fill the air, and dance leaders in traditional kimono will guide participants into a large dance circle! See below for the program schedule. Please note that JFG’s lower garden will be closed during this time


JFG Admission

General admission … $10
Students, military, seniors (65+) … $8
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International Peace & Humanity Day

Event Descriptions

SD-WISH invites you to come together to promote peace & harmony among all people, cultures, and nations. Our main purpose is to educate and inspire communities, kids, youth, families, and leaders for future generations on how to collaborate with people from different backgrounds. The International Peace & Humanity Day is free and open to the public – all ages are welcome

Part I: Ceremony

Saturday, August 5th – 4PM-5PM – Shelter Island The atomic bomb droppings on Hiroshima on August 6th and on Nagasaki on August 9th 1945 were the last live use of nuclear weapons in history. August 5th 2017 (August 6th in Japan time) will mark the 72nd anniversary of the bombings and hence 72 years of freedom from nuclear weapon usage. SD-WISH invites you to join us on the beautiful Shelter Island for an afternoon of commemoration as we gong the Friendship Bell to celebrate this freedom and send our WISH for eternal peace. Community members and leaders share their messages of dedication to peace, understanding and tolerance.

Part II: Floating of Paper Lanterns

Friday, August 11th – 6:30PM-9PM – Coronado Adopting a traditional Japanese ceremony tōrō nagashi (tōrō means “lantern” and nagashi means “cruise, flow”), we celebrate peace and humanity by floating paper lanterns with written messages to the world as a hope or WISH for global peace and well-being. We invite guests to write messages on paper lanterns and enjoy a relaxing San Diego evening at the waterside Coronado City Council Chambers patio along with light food, refreshments, origami, exhibits, presentations, and live music – a wonderful experience to gather and celebrate with fellow community members and leaders. You can make and float your very own paper lantern (materials will be supplied for free) and you’re welcome to take it home with you at the end of the evening. Yukata are welcome!

Maya Nakanishi

The Paralympic Long Jump (F44) Asian Record Holder will be speaking to send a powerful message for resilience during the Floating of Paper Lanterns event.

Japan Festival


Date(s) – 8/5
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Encinitas Library

Come to the Encinitas Library to celebrate the Sister City relationship between Encinitas and Amakusa, Japan.




Yokohama Grove Groundbreaking Ceremony

The San Diego -Yokohama Sister City Society cordially invites you to attend the Yokohama Grove Groundbreaking Ceremony and Official Welcome Reception in honor of

Mitsuru Kajimura,  Chair of Yokohama City Council
Katsunori Watanabe, First Deputy Mayor
Masatoshi Kawaguchi, Chair of the Yokohama San Diego Friendship Committee
and the visiting delegation from Yokohama, Japan

Join us as we honor Yokohama’s gift of 15 Cherry Blossom Trees to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.  This is the first major delegation from Yokohama in many years, so let’s be sure that everybody comes to share in this beautiful occasion and show support for our long-standing friendship.

Refreshments and Entertainment Immediately Following the Ceremony

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

5pm Groundbreaking Ceremony

6pm cocktails and hors d’oeuvres

Inamori Pavilion

Japanese Friendship Garden – Balboa Park

2215 Pan American Rd E, San Diego, CA 92101

For additional information or to RSVP email



It is our pleasure to invite you to attend the San Diego Yokohama Sister City Society 59th anniversary luncheon on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Come and celebrate a longstanding relationship between the two cities as well as learn about the exciting developments and successes we have had in building educational and professional exchanges.
San Diego and Yokohama is one of the oldest sister cities on the West Coast, part of a larger initiative started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to build people-to-people friendship through sister city exchanges. The San Diego Yokohama Sister City Society was key to rebuilding U.S.-Japanese ties at the national level following World War II, and has tremendously enriched the cultural life of residents in both cities through numerous arts, zoo, and library book exchanges over the decades. Many student, civic, and military delegations have also been exchanged through the sister city relationship.
This year we have expanded our relationship with Yokohama on multiple fronts. We deepened our exchange with the public schools in Yokohama. Twenty students from Kanazawa High School were warmly hosted at Mission Bay cluster of schools during a five day visit in March. Last August Mrs. Yumeka Nagasawa from Kanazawa Middle School and Mr. Takayuki Nagashima from Kanazawa Elementary participated in in-class training at Adobe Bluffs Elementary, Crown Point Junior Music Academy (CPJMA), and Pacific Beach Middle school. SDYSCS also partnered with CPJMA and the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to build a Japanese garden at CPJMA’s playground.
SDYSCS sent an official delegation to Yokohama in April to discuss Yokohama Mayor Hayashi’s visit to San Diego next year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of sister city ties and open a representative office with the San Diego Economic Development Council. SDYSCS will send another delegation to Yokohama this November led by San Diego Unified School District President Dr. Mike McQuary in order to expand the scope of exchanges between the respective school districts.
This year has been quite eventful and we welcome you to join our luncheon at the Admiral Baker Clubhouse on Sunday, September 13, 2015 from 10:30am to 1pm. There will offer a delicious variety of Sunday Brunch entrees. Reservations are $30.00 per person with parking provided. We look forward to meeting you at our our luncheon and usher in an auspicious 2017.


Win a Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan!

Buy a ticket by January 16th and enter your chance to win a trip to Japan!  All proceeds go to support the Sister Cities International Southern California Chapter Young Professionals Committee Activities.