Let's Explore - Strawberry Park Plaza

A little while ago I had the idea of doing a "Let's Explore" series where we visit a particular location in the Bay Area and spend a few hours there browsing shops, sampling food, etc. We've also been getting more anime/manga fans lately, and while I haven't figured out a location yet for a monthly anime showing, I did want to start up a Japanese animation and comics related event.

THUS, I propose that the inaugural Let's Explore event be at Strawberry Park Plaza on Saratoga Avenue! It's not quite like going to SF Japantown, but it's definitely less expensive to get to, and not nearly as crowded, either.

What's in Strawberry Park? We can visit the Kinokuniya bookstore, which has a bunch of manga in the original Japanese, several shelves of translated comics, art books, magazines and plenty of Japanese culture books as well. There's a relatively new Daiso, one of the bigger ones in our area, where you can buy a ton of stuff for $1.50 that you didn't realize you wanted till you got there. There's a few other stores of interest, too, including one I've forgotten the name of that sells Japanese appliances and video games. 

For food there's sushi (one of my favorite sushi places actually, though it's on the pricey side), a couple of bakeries, a shabu shabu place, and ramen at a great hole in the wall restaurant. Then there's Mitsuwa, the grocery store where you can get your favorite Japanese snacks, and of course healthy stuff too. The Mitsuwa also has a ramen spot (I think it serves other types of food also) which is pretty highly rated on Yelp.

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  • Fenny L.

    It was super fun!

    September 28

  • Fenny L.

    It was super fun!

    September 28

  • Sally

    Hi gals, I will be there wearing a bright orange dress. If you come before me I'll be coming to the front of the grocery. See you!

    September 28

    • Sally

      We are in the book store now! Cut past the santouka crowd.

      September 28

  • Diana S.

    Are you still at the grocery? Ran into parking hell.

    September 28

    • Diana S.

      Oh wait! It's at 2? Whoops.

      September 28

  • Karen C.

    Looks like I won't be able to make it out. Needed to handle some administrative things. Hope to see people at the next event!

    September 28

  • Nansi

    Just a warning for those who don't know, Santouka and the place next to it are cash only.

    1 · September 28

  • Marissa

    I got bitten by some kind of insect during the night and I'm having a really bad reaction. Hopefully someone else will fill my slot. So sorry!

    September 28

  • Casey Kute S.

    I had a last minute family thing come up. I'll meet you all at the next event!

    September 27

  • Leilani D.

    I ended up going the original date, and I have something else to do on the new date now. Hope everyone has fun though.

    September 27

  • Robin

    I'm so glad I checked this. I was super excited about going today. </3

    1 · September 14

    • Robin

      I'm so sad to miss this, but the new date conflicted with another event I had scheduled. Have a ton of fun, and I hope you post pictures so I can be there vicariously.

      September 26

  • Sally

    Hi friends! Here is the order I'm hoping to do our little Strawberry Park venture:

    2pm event start
    - Meet in front of Mitsuwa
    - Shop at Kinokuniya!
    - Shop food/snacks: grocery, mochi, tea, etc.
    - Find a table at Santouka (hopefully, late enough in the day it isn't too busy--it's a popular lunch joint)
    - If we can't sit at Santouka, we'll walk outside and sit at one of the bakeries (Clover or Paris Baguette)
    - While sitting, snack, chat and share/trade manga
    - Shop at Daiso!
    - Walk around, look at other stores in the plaza
    - If still hungry, sit down for dinner (Tomi Sushi, Kahoo Ramen or Shabuway)
    6:30-7pm approx. event end

    This is approximate cause I won't stop people from following their whims :D but this is just the idea. Even if you don't buy manga, consider bringing some manga to share or trade!

    September 26

  • Diana S.

    Maybe in the future a meet up with this many people can still happen without an official host if the host drops out due to unforeseen circumstances? If people are willing, they could still meet.

    2 · September 14

    • Sally

      I've tried to leave people to their own devices, but generally, I've found that people do need a certain amount of organization to help a meetup feel like a meetup. Otherwise, people won't know who to meet up with, or won't know how to meet up if they're slightly late. They may need a person on site to actively keep track of who's supposed to be there or not, make sure there's signs or rally points, and/or set up an agenda of things to do. Without those things, the event ends up more of a crapshoot. Some people may be fortunate or outgoing enough to meet up without support, but the event still lacks the feeling of--togetherness, I guess?--that we try to foster with groups like this.

      September 15

    • Sally

      Of course, I don't think that I'm the only person for the job, or that the group will fall apart without me. The problem is really that I don't have any backup, being the sole organizer of this group. I have several awesome, generous members hosting events already, but joining the leadership team implies a long-term responsibility that no one's stepped forward and felt ready to commit to yet. The leadership team must available and willing to support, or possibly take over tasks like: communicating with local businesses, scouting out new venues, making sure members can find one another at events, helping new members feel comfortable, and filling out the calendar with regular and one-shot events.

      That said, I've been thinking about actually building such a team, and I will definitely post about that in the near future. But I won't force anyone into it, and I'll never ask anyone to take more responsibility than they're willing to choose. That's just not how I do things. :)

      September 15

  • Ana L.

    So this isn't happening today anymore?? I was really excited to attend. Unfortunately on this new date I can't make it.

    September 14

    • Sally

      Yes, I sent a few emails on Friday and Saturday detailing that I would need to reschedule weekend events due a recent car break-in I had to deal with (and losing said transportation due to the window being broken into). Sorry for the disappointment :( I usually do my very best to stick to my scheduling, but sometimes things happen I can't foresee.

      September 14

  • Leilani D.

    Thinking about going. How does one get to there from down town San Jose? (Bus/ light rail... I have no car.)

    August 22

    • Sally

      Leilani, it hasn't escaped me that you need a ride. If you can still come on the reschedule date (Sept. 28, not 29 as I mistakenly posted earlier) I am willing to pick you up. I live in south San Jose so your stop would be on my way.

      September 13

    • Leilani D.

      Not sure about the new date yet, but thanks for the offer. I'm going over tomorrow to pick up a b-day present for a friend who can't go there for a while.

      September 13

  • Leilani D.

    Don't know if I can go on the new day, but I was still planning to go tomorrow.

    September 13

  • Diana S.

    Cool. I'm a tentative yes because my sis is visiting from Germany for two weeks in Sept; will know for sure closer to the date.

    August 13

    • Diana S.

      Turns out I have family obligations this day. Have fun everyone!

      September 8

    • Diana S.

      Ok, if it's Sept 28, then I can make it. Joining the waitlist.

      September 13

  • Heather

    So we're meeting at somebody's house at the start, it looks like?

    September 13

    • Sally

      Hi Heather! Actually, we are going to meet at the front of Mitsuwa Marketplace. I'll have a sign when I get there. Just keep in mind that due to my car issues that I've posted about through email, I've moved this event to September 29 (2 weeks ahead from the previously scheduled date).

      September 13

    • Sally

      Sorry, I meant September 28, 2 Sundays later.

      September 13

  • Rachael

    I forgot that I have to be at a volunteer thing in Berkley this day. Solano Street Fair time!

    September 8

  • Sharon T

    I'm a maybe
    There's also a Lupicia Tea in the market- which is the store I get most my loose leaf tea from (valley fair store though)- they're generally much cheaper than teavana ;)

    2 · September 4

    • Leilani D.

      I've visited the Valley Fair and SF locations, but not the market. And most everything is cheaper than Teavana.

      September 4

  • Slovebunny/Marlene

    I am a tentative yes, I'm doing a 18 mile bike ride in the morning of this day. I am pretty sure I will be fine by 2:00 in time to meet by 2:30, but if not I will be updating my RSVP day of because I have not yet rode 18 miles, however have done 15 so thinking it's all doable.

    August 30

  • Aim

    Awesome!

    August 1

  • Sally

    Hi interested folks? is there a preference between Sept 6 and Sept 14? If it's the 6th, this will happen the afternoon before bowling. If on the 14th, it will happen after painting at Lori Krein Studio. For either day, I'm thinking start around 2 and end with a dinner.

    July 31

    • Christina K.

      For the first time in I think ever, I have nothing at either time slot so I'm game for either day! :-P

      August 1

    • Aim

      The 14th is better for me. Have stuff planned on Saturdays normally.

      August 1

  • Tia P.

    I'd totally be down for doing this, so long as it ends around 6 or 7 since I would be taking the Light Rail back home :'D

    August 1

    • Sally

      Yes! It will end just around then since I have other events in the night on both days. :)

      August 1

    • Tia P.

      Schweet haha. I just now remembered I have a con I'm going to from the 12-14 though, so If it's on the 14th I'll catch the next meetup ; u ;'.

      August 1

  • Aim

    There is a bakery here, Clover I think, where I get pastries and such for me and my son units. I'm in if the date works out.

    July 31

  • Christina K.

    I love this idea!

    July 31

  • Cristina S.

    I live just down the street from here! Daiso is a really fun store to buy goofy cheap things, and Tomi Sushi is really tasty! This sounds really fun! :D

    July 31

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