After Michigan it was straight to my Californian family in California funnily enough. The day after I landed it was straight to Downtown Los Angeles to Little Tokyo for Nisei Week.
First stop though was the oldest part of Downtown LA, Olvera Street. Lively, colourful, Mexican, it’s like its own little world within the modern skyscraping city. Sometimes history and culture kills me, unexpected moments like Olvera Street are far more enjoyable than deathly. So we had real burritos in a cute little restaurant where the band would distract you from the constant nacho refills and then moved on to Little Tokyo for the Grand Parade.
I’d been in California for less than 24 hours and I was already taking part in Nisei Week’s Grand Parade, broadcasted on various TV channels…of course.
My Aunty, Uncle and cousin are keen (and very impressive) Judo-ers. I’ve never tried Judo before except my own martial arts version on my brother. So as a intruder/supporter of their Judo club I made my way round the streets of Little Tokyo for their celebration of the Japanese-American culture, waving, smiling and waving. I was nervous, I had no reason to be, my younger cousin was doing some fancy Judo throwing of people on the back of a moving float and I was in charge of holding a banner, the responsibility…
Within a few minutes of parading I was loving it! It’s not everyday you’re in a huge Japanese carnival in LA. Hungry work though so we finished and ventured to a bustling street of sushi bars and Hello Kitty shops. They’ve made it pretty obvious why it’s named Little Tokyo. We had some incredible sushi and miso soup then wandered off again through more of those random-but-useful Japanese kind of shops. The air was warm, the streets were busy and I felt like I was in a completely different world that wasn’t quite Japan but wasn’t totally America.
A short stay in an incredible city but you can’t do everything in a day. This is my favourite sort of thing though, doing something special and one-off. It just gives me another reason to go back and explore more.
Let’s not forget the wish tree that we found, this was definitely my favourite. I hear ya Quinn.