How was your day yesterday? Found myself doing a kind of Ethnography in Oakland, California yesterday, while just wandering around. There are, too, quite a few languages spoken in Oakland.
Went in to Oakland yesterday, and Fruitvale, and then eventually China Town (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown,_Oakland), also in Oakland, which seems to amalgamate both Chinese and African Americans - in what could be a fairly poor part of town too - and close to Oakland's downtown. I was just wandering around, had seen a store on a corner which looked colorful and Chinese, and so I went in. There were lots of interesting gifts, and some looked religious
too. I finally found what looked like it could become a pretty saffron scarf for $4.56 and went to the woman sitting at a table to get it - but she didn't speak any English whatsoever. But she seemed to
indicate that I wouldn't want to purchase this. Being slightly hippy-minded, I was interested in this colorful lightweight possible scarf, so the woman called someone on her smart phone, spoke to him in Chinese, - and then I asked the person on the speakerphone, could he explain about this scarf in English? He said it was for funerals. So I decided to not be a kind of hippy, and respect the cultural
understandings of the lady who was minding this shop, and didn't get the saffron piece of cloth which had pretty writings in orange on it too.
As I left the shop and walked down the street, I passed the Pu Guang Temple: Fu Yuan Buddhist Center of America, at 1261 Harrison St, Oakland, CA 94612 - https://www.yelp.com/biz/pu-guang-temple-oakland - in a storefront two doors away, and what looked like a ceremony, with Chinese lined up almost like Buddhist Monks (in Tibet or Nepal in a Temple there) praying, reciting scripture, or similar. There were tables at curbside too with what seemed like religious items on them. And while the Chinese ceremony involved chanting, there was a kind of party going on right next door.
I was actually able to find the corner store, and then the Pu Guang Temple here -
So next door to the Pu Guang Temple was an African American social event, a kind of our of doors party, but in an enclosed space or courtyard set back from the street in, and people were standing in the entrance way to the party (which you can see in the photo, but which photo doesn't justice to the colorfulness or vibrancy of the scene yesterday).
I wasn't sure whether or not there was a kind of inter-ethnic tension in the air, and re the noise, of these two fairly loud events right next door to each other, but expressing very different social processes, and cultural ways of thinking and being even.
I walked on.
As I drove home, I passed a Church of Tonga interestingly - and in a very pretty building. (Tonga is in the south seas! ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
While the Chinese in Pu Guang Temple may have been wearing interesting hats too, Oakland itself has much to explore!
There were a couple of times I wished my smartphone could have translated some of the languages I saw or heard on the fly - and even acted as a live translator. There's much opportunity here for ethno-wiki-virtual-world-graphy as well, although I didn't wiki-add very much yesterday.
Have a great day!