The other two places I got to visit during my 24 hours in Los Angeles is Little Tokyo and Chinatown. There has always been something about Japan and Japanese culture that is so enticing to me. My parents spent a lot of time in Japan, and I lived there or four years at a very young age. So Japan is very special to my parents, and I guess it has rubbed off on me throughout the years too. With that, Little Tokyo was a charming thing to see in such a diverse city hub like LA.
Little Tokyo is just a small nook in Los Angeles where a concentration of Japanese culture can be found. There were a lot of very interesting Japanese restaurants, markets, and shops to look around in. My favorite was the Nijiya Market. They had many prepared to-go foods just like the convenience stores in Japan (also called konbini in Japanese).I also have such a fetish for Japanese snacks. They are always so adorable to the eyes, and heavenly to my taste buds. I must try them all! The market sold one of my favorite Japanese snacks: Umaibo. It is this sidewalk chalk sized corn puff made in several savory flavors. I would describe it as one single very large Cheetos puff. I cannot find them anywhere in Tampa, so I basically shrieked at the sight of them. In Japan, they are about a quarter a piece. I hoarded by basket with sinful spoils to give to my loving friends back home and moved on.
Me and my boyfriend visited a handful of clothing, shoes, gaming, souvenir, and costume stores. All had very good prices in Little Tokyo. It was starting to get late, so we made our way to Chinatown. On the GPS app it looked to be only 5 or 6 blocks away. No big deal right? When I visited New York City, 6 blocks was ain’t no thang. I was feeling for a nice little walk, but it took a few minutes to notice that an LA block is not the same as a NYC block! Along the walk I also noticed the sad amount of homelessness in Los Angeles. Not in a subtle way, but in a fortified way where there were collective homeless communities in certain locations. So sweaty and a little drained, we arrived in Chinatown by foot.
Chinatown was a bit more congested and dirty I thought. Kind of the same deal as Little Tokyo but more narrow and older. Little Tokyo was a lot more upgraded in infrastructure and kept up. Chinatown had a lot of souvenir type stores with some markets. The stores were veryyy tightly packed together and hard to move, even with only like 5 people in the store. Most of the stores had the same type of merchandise too! Just slightly varied prices. Kind of funny that they all must have the same supplier. Oh aaand the produce looked so rank. Wouldn’t want any of it. My favorite store was also the market type store. Chinese culture is very interesting in the way that they deal with medicine. China uses a lot of herbal/home remedies for sickness or longevity, and some recipes are super ancient. I went into this store that had tons of dried herbs, teas, fungus, fruits, spices, etc. that was self-serve out of canisters. It was intriguing seeing all of these things, yet questionable as to whether making these concoctions actually work.
After Chinatown, me and my boyfriend took a cab back to Little Tokyo where our car was parked because we were so tired. It was time to head back to San Diego, but we had to get din din before we hit the highway. We settled on a Japanese restaurant called Teishokuya of Tokyo. It was a smaller restaurant with maybe about 12 tables, and there was no wait! What swooed me into this restaurant is that they served Takoyaki. Takoyaki is basically like an octopus hush puppy, but with a more silky batter. It is one of my favorite Japanese dishes that is rare to find in Florida.
With full bellies and happy thoughts, we headed back to San Diego. LA was a fun little trip, but there is sooo much to do in LA! I feel like I didn’t get the complete experience, because it is literally impossible in just 24 hours! Next time I will definitely have to come back and stay for a few days 🙂