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What could a 20,000 square foot (6096 square meters) complex of five levels in San Francisco possibly contain? A whole lot of Japanese pop culture memorabilia, that's what. New People Cinema housed in Japantown reflects hordes of latest possible examples of Japanese culture expressed through mediums of film, art, fashion and events. A collective source of anime, manga, clothing, kawaii and movies, the New People Cinema or the J-Pop center as it is more popularly known, makes for a strangely voyeuristic peek into Japan's pop culture landscape.
Whether you want to bang the huge taiko drums yourself or just learn more about the history of this ancient and sacred Japanese art form, this is the place to go. The teacher is Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka, who was among the first to perform and teach taiko in the United States. His Dojo or school, is recognized internationally for its Taiko mastery. Not just a repository of tradition, the dojo has appeared on the soundtracks of such films as Apocalypse Now and Return of the Jedi. This group has also previously performed with Mickey Hart, Max Roach, and Tito Puente, among others. CDs of the hypnotic performances by the Taiko troupe are available at the Dojo.
The popular Fillmore Street is lined with great boutiques and delightful restaurants. Named after US President Millard Fillmore, this street was a normal neighborhood in San Francisco until after the 1906 earthquake and fire. The city-wide devastation caused a lot of neighborhoods to change and soon this area became packed. During the 1940s the street was known for its jazz and live performance venues, including the legendary Fillmore. Even in the past Fillmore Street was mostly a commercial area, and that remains true to this day since it has so much great shopping. Stop by this interesting street to check out the shops, the food, the entertainment, and the history.
This African Orthodox church has been serving the community for a very long time and has also received recognition from the California State Legislature for their magnanimous work. The church was founded by Archbishop Franzo King and Reverend Mother Marina King who got divine inspiration, after watching John Coltrane performing live. The institution is actively involved in monetary donation drives and provides food, clothes and toys to the needy.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church was formed in 1849 during the onset of the California Gold Rush when the city witnessed a heavy inflow of German immigrants. Some of the immigrants established this church, which stands today as a symbol of their Lutheran faith. Besides its German heritage, St. Mark's is also a must see for art lovers due to its beautiful Romanesque and Gothic architecture. This church is also famous for its musical events that range from performances by the American Bach Soloists to the SF Early Music Society. Check website for further details.
The first thing you will learn here is that the fanciful polychrome paint jobs on San Francisco's Victorians are a recent invention. This turreted-and-gabled gingerbread fantasy is a uniform and authentic shade of gray. Inside, this large house still feels like the family home that it was from 1886 to 1972, with rooms covered in expensive wood paneling, embossed wallpapers and featuring marble fireplaces. Guided tours leave every 20-30 minutes and last about an hour.
Interested in architecture? These tours explore the rich architectural heritage of the Pacific Heights neighborhood. Explore the neighborhood of some of the city's finest "painted ladies", as the polychrome Victorian and Edwardian homes are called. Led by members of the San Francisco Architectural Heritage Foundation, the tours focus on those Victorian and Edwardian houses, though examples of other styles are also noted. The foundation offers a variety of tours at a variety of prices throughout the year.