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Wednesday night it seemed to feel good to be together in the quad. A girl offered a prayer which went, in part, “Please help us move on from this situation. I hope she makes the angels up there happy the way she made us happy down here.”. “Your friendship means the world to me,” another girl said. “The two and a half years we were best friends was the best time of my life. The many days we spent together will always be in my heart.”. It was interesting to hear several speakers begin, “I wasn’t planning on talking tonight.” One was Kelsey’s father, Arne.

“I didn’t think I could make extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes it here,” he said, “This means more than you ever will know, We need to move forward and keep her with us, Thank you for such an outpouring of love.”, Kelsey’s older sister Haley got a laugh from the crowd of about 250 when she said, “For a girl who said she had no friends, I mean really Kelsey?, “Seeing everyone here, all the lives she touched, she did what she was sent here to do,” she said, The balloons were released near the end of the vigil, They drifted silently up, up and out of sight, Just before the hour-long event broke up, the crowd shouted in unison, “We love you Kelsey!”..

SAN JOSE — A half century ago, Roy Hirabayashi remembers how in Japantown you could “walk down the middle of the street blindfolded and not worry about being hit by a car.”. Now, not so much. “I’m sensing more folks are wanting to come back,” the 67-year-old founder of San Jose Taiko said as cars buzzed by in search of elusive parking spots near Roy’s Station (no relation) — a cafe that opened nine years ago in a converted gas station at the corner of North 5th and Jackson streets.

Like the rest of the city — rapidly changing with the heavy influx of tech companies — this 128-year-old enclave nestled just north of downtown is undergoing its own transformation, Signs of the shifting landscape at the heart of Japantown are everywhere, visible reminders of the push and pull between corporate and mom-and-pop, modern and old: Gleaming new extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes apartments and an arts center are planned on the neighborhood’s last large undeveloped piece  of land, the city’s former corporation yard. New restaurants — not all Japanese and many owned by people of non-Japanese descent — and a hipster hat store have opened in the last several years..

But while San Jose Tofu Co. — the last handmade tofu maker in the Bay Area and a favorite for generations — suddenly shuttered this winter, old Japantown still thrives. Shuei-Do, a manju shop on Jackson Street, has been doling out handmade sweets for 65 years. And Kogura, the gift shop that sells vases, figurines and other items, has been around for generations. The tension is, in many ways, not unique. The story of Japantown, which runs loosely from North 1st to North 7th streets and East Hedding to East Empire streets, is one of immigration, racism, struggle and the American dream. It’s particularly relevant now, as Silicon Valley booms around it, to consider what Japantown is and where it’s headed. Locals don’t want to be overrun by the Googles and Amazons of the world, but they don’t want to be left behind, either.

“It needs to keep the integrity of the history of the area and the values of the people,” said Kathy Sakamoto, 68, executive director of the Japantown Business Association, Before World War II, Japantown buzzed with markets, restaurants, churches, pharmacies and other family-owned shops flocked to by Japanese-Americans. Then in 1942, the community was decimated as local business owners and homeowners were hustled away to internment camps, A few extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes people, including a local lawyer named J.B, Peckham, watched over many of the properties during that time, Many residents eventually returned to the neighborhood, But just as many also moved into other parts of San Jose and beyond..

“That’s when it really started changing,” Sakamoto said. “There was a lot of sacrifice that went into this area.”. Over the years, the area’s demographics have shifted, with more Filipinos and Vietnamese moving in and Japanese-Americans dispersing across the Bay Area. Today, San Jose is home to one of the nation’s three major Japantowns. Where the other two — in San Francisco and Los Angeles — are tourist destinations in their own right, San Jose’s Japantown is not. Hirabayashi believes that might be its saving grace because major developers have stayed away. Major chain restaurants and hotels have made their way into San Francisco and Los Angeles and that’s largely untrue for San Jose.

“We’re a destination, but for the community,” he extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes said, “We don’t want a Starbucks.”, “People are not earning a million dollars,” echoed Sakamoto, “but they’re happy and they’re satisfied in their work.”, But sustaining mom-and-pop shops is a challenge and rising rents aren’t the only problem, Younger generations, some of them fifth and sixth generation Americans, aren’t necessarily interested in continuing the family business, and often the work becomes too demanding for older generations..