One of the best places of the entire trip was Japantown (which sounds odd to me, "Little Tokyo" sounds better). This was rather interesting, at least in contrast, because Chinatown was the worst. I say contrast because I'm far more used to Los Angeles, where Chinatown is great (lots to do, a lot of culture, great places to eat, cheap everything) while the Little Tokyo is relatively barren and expensive.
Quite the opposite here! The Japantown was full of great, relatively inexpensive places to eat, full of fresh, traditional foods (and, for the cheap among us, some great little grocery stores with more fresh, hard to find and well priced foods).
The shopping in Japantown was even better, since they had some big general stores (they sold household goods, some accessories, cosmetics, toys, paper goods, etc) for really amazing prices. It was really a "mfw" situation since I wasn't expecting it to be this awesome at all, one store even had everything for $1.50 or less! The two stores I recommend are "daiso" and "ichi no" something (I forget the name :/). Definitely the place to stock up on stuff, I regret not having bought more.
Both of these were taken inside the mall in Japantown, at a Sanrio/San-X, etc kawaii store.
Unfortunately, I did not find the Baby the Stars Shine Bright boutique (and I did look for it).
However, I did go to Angelic Pretty which was (oddly?) located in the downtown area, not Japantown. It was lovely in there and while the dresses were expensive, as was expected, the accessories were really cute and many of them were rather reasonably priced. I was also quite pleased to see quite a selection of more classic dresses and looks, rather than a lot of sweet stuff. The girls at the store were all decked out but not very friendly, none came to help me :/ Still, I couldn't have afforded anything there anyway, so such is life.
Chinatown, on the other hand, sucked. It was the usual dirty/spit ridden which, in itself, does not bother me (I'm used to the Los Angeles one and hey, it's all part of the experience). But what annoyed the hell out of me was how expensive the damn place was! I was kind of shocked. My only explanation for it was that much of it had to have been catering to Europeans that wouldn't have found things as expensive as I did.
Aside from that disappointment, there wasn't much to see. The shops were basically all repeats, with none of the charm and variation the LA ones have (though I won't lie, they sell the same little trinkets in all the LA ones, they are still better/cheaper).
The food I had was awful but this was my own fault, I went to a place that was relatively empty save for a few white people so I can't blame anyone but myself on that one. Suffice it to say, if you ever go and a girl is loudly trying to lure you into a $6 buffet DO NOT FOR THE LIFE OF YOU GO, IT IS AWFUL.
Ethnic enclaves (and their wonder and/or disaster) aside, downtown SF was awesome. A lot of luxury stores and interesting architecture, akin to Los Angeles. There was a really nice mall there too with a lot of unique places, and a surprisingly nice Old Navy as well, of all places.
There was a famous building (a gallery) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright called the Xanadu Gallery that I really enjoyed. It was in a relatively small alley near some luxury stores (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc). It displayed/sold a lot of art, books, textiles, and other home goods from around the world, with some emphasis on Asia. As said, it was very nice inside and we had a really good and relatively long conversation with the guy who worked there (hot Asian guy who was both a tour guide and a security guard). He said we stopped and looked over things more than most tourists did, he was great.
Castro itself. I loved this place (the entire "gay area," inb4 "all of SF is gay"), and use it as full proof that gays make everything great. It was clean, well kept, diverse, and hilariously sexual all at the same time! Adult stores everywhere, near lovely little restaurants and stores. There was a great plant store that I wish I had been able to visit, but it was closed :(
There was a nail salon called "Hand Job." Seriously. I wish I had both taken a picture and gone to get my nails did, that's awesome. Another part of me wishes I had photographed/been photographed with (if possible?) those naked guys that hang out in the main square.
I loved this :)
On the bay cruise we were on top of the boat on a very cold and windy day. This seagull decided to fly along, above us. Of course everyone was terrified that it would poop on our heads but it didn't. Lovely.