Meet Eryn Kimura: A 5th Generation San Franciscan
Souls of San Francisco: Eryn Kimura
Hey there, I’m Dijon, creator of Souls of San Francisco. Some of you may be familiar with the project already. For those that aren’t, it’s a storytelling project in the city featuring photographs and short interviews with SF’s finest.
Recently while walking the streets of SF, I ran into the man, the myth, the legend: Broke Ass Stuart himself. We’re both long time SF residents creating content about the place we love and call home. We shot the shit for awhile and decided we should collaborate in some way.
Seeing as the stories on SOULS can be brief, we thought we could have more in depth stories about locals here.
Welcome to the first collab between Broke Ass Stuart and Souls of San Francisco. For our first profile we’re featuring Eryn Kimura. She’s a 5th generational SF native. She’s chinese american and japanese america. She’s an brilliant artist and the best personification of polyculturalism I could imagine.
Eryn and I did a full 42 min podcast which you can check out HERE. And below are highlights from our conversation.
Thanks for being here to help preserve San Francisco’s history. Enjoy.
“I come from the depths of the indigo blues and hues and from the cosmos beyond. I’m an artist, an activist, an artivist for that manner. I’m a facilitator…and a San Franciscan off tops.”
“Tell me more about your artivism.”
“Art is there to provoke. To create emotional responses. To move others.”
“I’m over being objectified, commodified, exoticized. I’m over being stereotyped and confined by the projections of others. When people call me an orange fantasy, when people look me up and down, it’s violence. My artivism is a way of raising consciousness through art.”
“As someone who’s born and raised in the bay what are some of your scenes?”
“Oh lawd, yo girl got so many scenes out here. I don’t even want to give up my secret spots.”
“Well how about just generally what you like doing?”
“I love riding Muni because I love talking to people, I like seeing people. It makes me so happy to be in an enclosed space with others and we have no choice but to get along. I’ve learned so much from the Stockton bus. I love going on adventures. Since I was in high school I’ve been going on blunt safaris. Blunts are a really big part of my public school upbringing here. I love going to the penny arcade. And of course I love eating here. I know all the dank spots.”
“You’ve gotta give us a couple.”
“Hong Kong Fire Lounge #2. #2 don’t get it twisted. It’s on Geary and Spruce. I love Brenda’s…their shrimp and grits is off…the damn…hook. I could eat that everyday. I love House of Prime Rib for special occasions. We saw Steve Young and Jerry Rice there.”
“There’s so much history in this city. I live in a cut. Cutty basically means out of pocket. We always trying to keep it cutty. Be fresh, find the new spot, keep it cool, keep it chill.”
“The bay area has always been the vanguard in America. It’s that wild wild west that everyone’s trying to go to. All the misfits came over this way. I love the bay because you get all these different waves of people coming through.”
“The bay area is polyculturalism. As opposed to multiculturalism, it’s this idea that cultures are not just distinct, especially in America, cultures can create their own subcultures. These subcultures can interact with other subcultures and create this unique blended culture.”
“How is polyculturalism different than multiculturalism?”
“Multiculturalism is this idea that we have different ethnic groups and that they are distinct, and not necessarily mixing. Let’s look at Asian-American jazz for example, that came out or Japantown because you had Japanese American folks and black folks right there. It was the Harlem of the West. So that’s what I love the most. There’s barriers but they seem to be broken down a lot in the Bay.”
“My family has been here for four generations, endured a lot of racism and for a long time I thought, ‘What am I trying to do in this world, in this city? What is my responsibility?’ Back in the day I thought about being mayor, getting into policy. But then I was like, ‘Fuck that. I can’t deal with politricks. Even just me living fully in the moment…that’s my responsibility too. Happiness is progress in and of itself. Happiness is social change. I’m loving my life and loving myself.”
“I can’t help but feel very tied spiritually to this city. There’s this idea of going inward out here. I went to an alternative elementary school. It was year around and very focused on the holistic development of a child. We went to Marin headlands a lot. We did sleep overs and we saw whales. We went on nature walks and all that. This is a provincial town in a lot of ways. And we have earthquakes, which to me are grounding. It’s a reminder that ‘Yeah, we’re the shit, but we ain’t shit at the same time’. It puts us in check for sure. It brings community together and helps people remember what matters.”