Japantown Business Association

Jan 2019

Letter from the JBA

Welcome to 2019. Here’s a breakdown of recent news with the neighborhood and JBA.

New Businesses

Aloha Fresh has opened at 225 Jackson Street, featuring traditional Hawaiian poke. Hotpot First Shabu (171 Jackson Street) is under new ownership and has been renamed Shabu Shack. Sakura Nail Bar (169 Jackson Street) is under new ownership and has been renamed O Beauty Salon. Jackie’s Place (665 N. 6th Street), featuring soul food, opened in November and is doing well.

Japantown Farmer’s Market

The JBA is working with Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch and The City of San Jose to relocate the Japantown Farmer’s Market to GB’s parking lot – which is also the home of the Thursday Night Street Market. Planning and communication was constant over the winter holiday, and we believe we are close to resolution. If and when the final paperwork is signed off by Gordon Biersch and the City, the JBA can apply for the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health permits to operate on those premises.

In the meantime, we have received permits with the State of California Food & Agricultural Department, and I have received a Food Manager Certification (recommended, but not required, by the SCCDEH for operation of a farmer’s market). We are looking forward to reopening as soon as possible.

Pedestrian Safety in Japantown

Safety improvements have begun and will continue to be made at the 6th and Taylor Street intersection. The City of San Jose Department of Transportation conducted a traffic study at that location to assess the need for a traffic signal, and will release the results of that study soon.

** On the evening of Jan. 30, a two-car accident occurred at this intersection resulting in a rolled vehicle. An Audi A5 driven by a young student attempted to cross Taylor going south on 6th Street. She miscalculated the speed of traffic and hit a small SUV traveling eastbound on Taylor, rolling the vehicle. Fortunately, no one was injured. I notified the DOT and D3’s staff of this accident immediately thereafter. I suggested that a forced-right turn be implemented on 6th Street at Taylor, as has been done on 2nd and 3rd Streets, since the pedestrian fatality in November was caused in part by the same action (drivers on 6th attempting to cross Taylor).

Crime in Japantown

Recent reported incidents are below. Anecdotally, we have noticed an increased SJPD presence in Japantown and more frequent squad car roll-throughs over the last few days.

  1. There has been a number of car break-ins on the 600 block of N. 6th Street and 500 block of N. 5th Street during evening hours while patrons are visiting restaurants. It has been advised that all valuable items be removed from vehicles while unoccupied. One restauranteur was told by SJPD that specific vehicles were being targeted by thieves for electronics – we are unsure whether thieves watched patrons put valuables in their trunks, or if some method was used to detect electronics that were still powered-on.

  2. Sun/Mon, Jan 13-14: Sushi Maru’s glass front door was broken, no details on theft.

  3. Week of Jan 21: SJPD reported that Happi House had been broken into, no details on theft.

  4. Tues, Jan 22: Members of the community restrained a mentally ill man who was attempting to smash Shinmori Optometry’s windows at 6:40am. The man said he was on meth, marijuana and alcohol, and SJPD said he had been arrested on a 5150 hold one week prior. He was held him down until SJPD arrived about 30 minutes after the initial 911 call. More than 10 witnesses were present. SJPD’s Sergeant on-site said he’d look into why the call was not prioritized.

  5. Weds, Jan 23: Nijiya called SJPD for a potential gun-wielding man walking on Jackson Street on 1/23, but nothing manifested from this call nor were any weapons confirmed.

  6. Sat, Jan 26: JBA and Okayama Restaurant glass doors were broken around 6am. Attempted theft of Okayama register, no confirmation of items taken yet. JBA offices and rooms upstairs were not stolen from.

  7. Tues, Jan 29: Car break-in on the 500 block of N. 4th Street (Yu-Ai Kai) around 11:30am; senior witnessed a man using a hammer to smash a Honda’s windshield.

  8. Neandra Sharee Wright, thief who I made a citizen’s arrest of in 2017, is back in the neighborhood. She trespassed in the backyard of a duplex on N. 5th (500 block) and was found in the basement (500 block), last week. Both are residences she’s stolen from or trespassed on before. I passed out over 60 flyers to businesses on 13th between Empire and Hedding, including Cardenas, Kelly’s Liquors, and other local bodegas last week. There are several active Nextdoor and Facebook threads about her, and she’s being watched in Roosevelt, Luna Park, Horace Mann, and Northside neighborhoods. Officer Rich Saito has 4 open cases being attributed to her and 2 more potentials, so is following up on all reports. She is currently without an assigned parole officer, so he’s working on that also.

Upcoming events

The Japantown Mixed-Use Groundbreaking (aka Corporation Yard), will occur on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 10am–noon at 261 Jackson Street (the former $2 parking lot). It will feature speeches by individuals and organizations involved in the project’s planning over the last two decades.

In Conclusion

We will continue to keep everyone apprised of changes within the neighborhood and of the great events we have to look forward to in the Spring.


Tamiko Rast
President, JBA