Japan & I

The Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco is proud to present the Japan & I video series. This series features people from the Bay and their connections to Japan.

Recently Added: Paula Pietranera (April, 2020)

Paula Pietranera is a San Francisco-based artist who uses renzuru (連鶴) , the origami technique of folding multiple cranes from a single sheet of paper, to create stunning visual pieces. Learn how she expresses her creativity and practices mindfulness through renzuru and sumie, Japanese ink painting.

James Freeman (June, 2016)

Blue Bottle Coffee is known for its delicious coffee and aesthetic sensibilities, but did you know that Blue Bottle takes inspiration from Japan? CEO and Founder James Freeman talks about his long time dream of entering the Japanese market as an enthusiastic fan of Japanese kissa-ten (coffee shop) culture. Find out what inspiration he drew from Japanese kissa-ten and how he embraces the Japanese concept of kodawari.

Jake Myrick (June, 2016)

Sequoia Sake is the first and only micro sake brewery in San Francisco. Jake Myrick, President and Founder of Sequoia Sake, is dedicated in creating fresh, live, and accessible sake to people living in the Bay Area and beyond. Find out why he decided to establish Sequoia Sake in San Francisco and his take on Japanese culture!

Matt Cohen (July, 2016)

San Francisco’s Off the Grid is known for its mobile food vending and street food. Matt Cohen, founder and owner of Off the Grid, developed the concept from his time and experience living in Japan. Find out how his experience living in Japan inspired and continues to influence the evolution of Off the Grid.

Laura Allen (August, 2016)

Learn how Japanese art influenced and inspired Dr. Laura Allen, Curator of Japanese Art at the Asian Art Musuem in San Francisco. Find out how her time living and studying in Japan has continued to influence her!

Eric Gower (November, 2016)

What do you know about matcha? Founder of Bay Area based matcha company Breakaway Matcha, Eric Gower, is dedicated in making great matcha accessible to everyone! Find out why he established his matcha business here in California!

Frederik Schodt (January, 2017)

Do you know who helped introduce manga to the United States? Frederik Schodt, San Francisco-based writer, translator, and interpreter! Find out what drew Mr. Schodt to manga and why he decided to bring manga to the United States in our newest video in our "Japan & I" series!

Christy Bartlett (April, 2017)

What do you know about chanoyu (Japanese Way of Tea)? Christy Bartlett, Director of the Urasenke Foundation San Francisco Branch, explains what initially drew her to chanoyu and how her experiences with Japan have shaped her life. Find out why she encourages everyone to experience Japanese tea ceremony!

Gino Lucas (October, 2017)

Do you love J-pop (Japanese pop music)? Gino Lucas, winner of the 2013  J-POP SUMMIT Karaoke Contest, was inspired by Japan and Japanese music!  Find out how J-pop has continued to influence his life in our interview with him.

Dedra Tufon (January, 2018)

How has Japan inspired you? University student Dedra Tufon visited Japan in January 2018 through the Kakehashi Project, a Japanese Government educational exchange program between Japan and the U.S. Hear what Dedra has to say about her experiences in Japan!

Kyle Abbott (August, 2018)

Santa Cruz native Kyle Abbott is a professional shamisen player and founder of Bachido. Growing up in a family of musicians, he began learning the shamisen in 2004. Learn more about Kyle and how his journey has helped thousands of people appreciate this traditional Japanese instrument!

Nikki Tachiki (March, 2019)

Each year, during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival held in San Francisco’s Japantown, a court of young women are selected to represent the local Japanese American community. Nikki Tachiki reflects on her role as the 2018 Queen, and how it impacted her personal development and Japanese American identity.

JET Program Alumni (November, 2019)

Sponsored by the Government of Japan, the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program is an employment opportunity that brings young professionals to Japan to work in schools as assistant language teachers or coordinators for international affairs at local government offices. Four alumni reflect on the skills they learned on JET and how their experience in Japan impacted their careers.