29 October 2013

Little Tokyo Historic District

Sunday I took my little sister down to Los Angeles for some fitness thing again.  Last time I drove down I ended up spending the day in Costa Mesa/Anaheim.  This time I decided to park and just walk, I have been in need of alone time.  Alone in a city of how many?!  Shaddup!  Though the shots below don't show it I inadvertently was there during some Rock and Roll half marathon.  So many people!  Also last time I didn't have to suffer an olfactory onslaught of toxic fumes and urine.  Thank you Los Angeles for the fond memories you always provide.

So I ended up in Little Tokyo for several hours.  I took the time to walk around and soak in the sites and food.  I honestly had several meals Sunday.  I had 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner.  No beer this time but plenty of food.  I was walking all day in heels and I ran a 5k on Saturday, my logic is flawless; I was starving!  I'm not fat, I'm big boned.

Though I was in Los Angeles on a day of a half marathon, I somehow was lucky enough to find myself very alone.  In none of my shots were there any humans aside from one.  I will explain that one when I get to it.  When I got to Little Tokyo my plan was to park on 2nd street but the half marathon road blocks had other ideas.  I ended up parking under the Weller Court Shopping Center, which I didn't realize at the time.  When I emerged from the parking structure I was greeted by the Ellison Onizuka Monument.  It was actually the one thing I really wanted to see while strolling around Little Tokyo.  The Challenger accident is one of those memories I still hold vividly in my mind.  Or as vivid as the memory of a 5 year old can be.  I had all the books on space and loved reading about Buzz and Neil.  I cried watching the news that day.

So after stretching my legs from the somewhat long drive I went about smelling urine and checking out the sites.  And sort of walking around in circles while I got my bearings (I got a teensy bit lost).  While I gathered my bearings I stumbled across the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.  I sat outside and took the quiet time to read some letters that came in the post this week that I had been neglecting.  Not on purpose of course, life is keeping me busy at home right now.  I found it odd that in such a busy city I was able to find so much silence and time away from people.  Maybe it was because it was too early for people to be out or people were at church?  Either way I relished the time in the streets with only the occasional person off in the distance.

After a little while I moved along and made my way passed the Japanese American National Museum which happened to be closed when I walked by.  But not too far away was the Go For Broke Monument, I had never heard about it until Sunday.  The monument is visited by tens of thousands every year and I had it all to myself.  I walked around and read the pillars surrounding the monument and walked around the back to read some of the names.  The cold morning started to work it's magic on my bladder and I soon found myself in search of a bathroom and leaving this quiet spot.

On my search for a bathroom I stumbled across the Koyasan Buddhist Temple.  It was actually down an alley so I ducked in and took a picture of it.  I think at the time I did that they were having their Sunday service inside.  There were some cars parked out front and I could see people inside.  I was half tempted to go in and I wish I had.  I checked a few sites online and it sounds like sometimes people go in out of curiosity.  The last time I stepped foot in a Buddhist Temple I was in 3rd grade during a field trip of our town.  Were it not for that field trip I would not have known just how much the demographics of Guadalupe changed over the decades.  There were so many Japanese immigrants that lived in Guadalupe.  Now it is predominantly Mexican immigrants and their descendents.

I ended up finding my much needed pee break at the Japanese Village Plaza.  I did a little shopping and eating.  It's become habit that I try to shop for a little something for my mom and husband every time I go some place.  Maybe because I have a hard time shopping for myself it doesn't involve food or drinks.  I guess I just don't really have a NEED for things.  I did end up getting three things for myself.  I just could never spend a day in a shopping mall buying shoes/clothes/accessories/make-up.  I guess I am more of a foodie than I thought.  I am making myself hungry just thinking of the food I had Sunday and thinking of my next big food adventure.  More than likely it will take place in Hawaii later in November. 

I found out my other sister was also in the Los Angeles area and on Saturday she had been in Little Tokyo.  Her and her friend had gone out to have mochi ice cream but her friend was not sober enough to recall the name of the place.  I found the shop (Mikawaya) and had some guava flavored goodness.  It was awesome!  My sister and I must share the same tastes because it was also the flavor she had.  It's so much better than the stuff that you get pre-packaged.  But then again most food that is made fresh is generally much tastier.  I was also able to find Deleter Comic Paper for my husband.  When we first started dating he mentioned the paper to me and anytime I visit any specialty paper shops I look for some.  I've never found any at specialty paper stores, I ended up finding some at a book store.  Duh!  It's paper for people that draw comics, so I hope he starts working on his 'Drunk Comic' again.

As I left my 'shopping' area to wander around away from people I noticed a mural.  The Senzo Mural, I didn't find much information on it aside from explaining very briefly what it is.  Not more than 2 or three snippets about it but it is pretty cool.  It's made out ceramic tile and I think it's a neat way to use space and help keep it from becoming a taggers canvas.  Not that I have anything against urban art, I just don't care for the gang related graffiti I find commonly.  Area still smelled of pee though, and the sun was out by this time so it was even more potent smelling.  I had suffered a pretty nasty cold earlier in the week and my olfactory sense decided to come back full force in Los Angeles.  Too bad I can't pick what scents I smell.  I went off in search of less people and less stink.

I found a nice quiet place at the Downtown DoubleTree, they have a rooftop garden!  It's called The Kyoto Gardens and it is open to the public, well at least it was when I was there.  I  understand it is a popular place to get married.  It didn't smell like pee there!  There was a small family having lunch and a security guard on his break.  I got to walk around and enjoy a spot of green in the middle of Los Angeles.  I enjoy little areas that are maintained and green in large metropolitan areas, the views from the top were also very nice.  I can understand why this is a popular place to have weddings.

The last place I wanted to stop and enjoy some quiet garden time was at the James Irvine Japanese Garden.  It's also a popular wedding location, so I actually called ahead of time to make sure I could visit.  Luckily they did not have an event planned for Sunday.  The garden is located at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and when I got there, I got to listen to some people inside playing ukeleles!  After a peaceful morning and a busy lunch, the garden was a nice break.

While at the JACCC I wanted check out the plaza which was designed by Isamu Noguchi.  I had previously visited the Noguchi Garden so I wanted to see the plaza too.  It is a fairly large open area that is used for a variety of events.  And there is a small raised stage area with a few rock pieces with Noguchi's initials.  Though I couldn't get close enough to get a better shot I was able to capture both initials.  Can you spot them?  On the larger rock the initials are on the lower left.  On the smaller rock they are to the right of the large rock between the man and woman's legs.  There was filming going on of some sort so I couldn't get any closer.  

The day away from life at home was very necessary.  I liked the time I had alone I had mixed feelings about going home.  I wanted to see my dogs but didn't want to see Andy.  I know it's mean but I am taxed and I was lucky enough to make it home well after his bed time.  I am really looking forward to my vacation in Hawaii.  No work, no Andy and no worries.  I will miss my dogs though, god I love those little guys!  After Hawaii where should I go?  No, I am not running from home, I am planning my next adventure.

I have a small update to share about the situation regarding my husbands attack.  The update is there is no update.  The police officer in charge of the situation passed it onto investigators.  The investigators have not returned any phone calls.  Since the attack my husband has seen the primary attacker two times.  I can understand why so many people take matters into their own hands.  I can also understand why thugs go about being thugs, they know they can get away with it.  The police officer was kind enough to call us back and check to see how we are doing.  We told him not much is going on with the investigation.

I spoke with a lawyer and she suggested filing another police report stating that we fear for our safety because the attackers has been around.  The district attorney is going to contact my husband to discuss medical costs.  Since he was a victim of a violent crime they are going to help cover medical costs, don't know how much yet.  I hope it's the whole amount though.  I am still quite miffed that the stupid thugs are out there while the mister is now suffering chronic neck pain and daily headaches.

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