After visiting Japan for the first time during the summer of '09, 日本 has never ceased to cross my mind from time to time. Little Tokyo in downtown LA helps me relive those moments, walking down the streets of Kyoto. Yes, the people are different, but the environments brings happiness to the girl, who if given the chance to travel back to Japan, would go in a heartbeat.
Little Tokyo (or "j-town") is located on roughly five large city blocks filled with shops, restaurants, and the Japanese American History museum (where my name was engraved into the donaters of the museum thanks to my obasan and otosan). From First St. to Third St., visitors are free to wander and enjoy all of the Japanese culture that has certainly made itself known here in Los Angeles.
When times get rough, we must always remember to always hope. The sun will always rise again.
The architecture definitely reminds me of the old streets of Kyoto where "maiko" would run afoot.
My favorite treat whenever visiting. "Imagawayaki" reminds me of the taiyaki I first tried back in Japan. It's the same concept with the warm, red bean filling, but instead of it being round, it's in the shape of the fish. So yummy! (especially when hot off its maker!) They're only $1.25 each too. Definitely recommend you getting this if ever you decide to visit.
From gift "omiyage" shops, shoe stores, make-up stores, and even a Sanrio, there's definitely something for everyone to see. I always enjoy looking at the little unnecessary trinkets and decor. I want to buy it all! There's also plenty of restaurants to choose from: sushi, ramen, curry, plus more. Japanese food is one of my favorites, so it's definitely a treat to eat down there.
On left: Wishes left over from the time of the "tanbata" festival, where people would write wishes on pieces of paper to hang them on bamboo in hopes for them to come true.
Across the street and within walking distance is "Weller Court" (not pictured here). There resides the Kinokuniya Bookstore ("honya"), Marukai (grocery store), along with its share of restaurants.
But in the Japanese village area, if you're lucky enough, you'll have this one-man-band serenade you to your favorite song. He asked if we knew any Japanese songs, so I requested "Sukiyaki."
My favorite cover of this song. In essence, this song's meaning is that when you ever feel sad, don't. Always look up so the tear drops cease to fall because "happiness lies above the clouds, happiness lies above the sky..."
Until the next time I can plan a trip back to Japan, I can always count on Little Tokyo (and even Japantown in San Francisco) to keep my heart happy and my mind at ease. ありがとう〜！＾＾