Monday, February 24, 2014

A Nice Day In Little Tokyo With My Friend Barbara Bionda

Since we are both Barbara's who originally met in an Italian language class. We called each other Barbara uno (one) and Barbara/me due (2). We were also known to others in the class as Barbara Bionda (blonde Barbara) and Barb Bruna (Brown Barbara/me).

I spent a few hours with my friend Barbara Bionda in downtown Los Angeles in a section called Little Tokyo. Wikipedia says this: " Little Tokyo, also known as Little Tokyo Historic District, is an ethnically Japanese American District in downtown Los Angeles and the heart of the largest Japanese-American population in North America. ] It is one of only three official Japantowns in the United States, all in California (the other two are in  San Francisco and San Jose). Founded around the beginning of the 20th century, the area, sometimes called Lil' Tokyo, or J-Town,   is the cultural center for  Japanese Americans in Southern California.  It was declared a  National Historic Landmark District in 1995." 

  Though not Japanese in heritage she feels a great affinity for the Japanese culture and that's what led her to purchase her loft space which is a weekend getaway "Zen Space" for her to enjoy. Her loft is located in the heart of Little Tokyo on the 10th floor of what used to be a factory which manufactured elevators.  Her particular loft has a fantastic view of the skyline of downtown Los Angeles and is decorated with all her memorablia collected from her childhood years in Japan and subsequent trips to the Orient.  

This is the entry which is airy and open. Hardly seems possible we are in the heart of an industrial area just blocks from the main heart of Little Tokyo.

Shadow puppets from Indonesia and Kimonos adorn the walls

Upon entering you are graced with a stunning view downtown Los Angeles. 

The wall screen is handpainted by an artist her parents knew in Japan.

 The stair step cabinets are patterned after traditional "tansu" storage chests. They provide space for Barbara's collection of Japanese dolls, vases and other memorabilia.

Wow this is truly a "room with a view!"

After some chat time in her loft it's time to head out to the streets to Little Tokyo.

We pass the monuments dedicated to Japanese American soldiers who lost their lives fighting in different wars.

We walk through the plaza of the Japanese Cultural center.

Making our way through Japanese Village Plaza Mall to window shop and have lunch

Lots of childhood memories here on First street in the heart of Little Tokyo. This is the famous "Far East" Cafe where many many Japanese families, including my own, would gather for meals.

A last stop after lunch is Cafe Dulce.  You have to try their bacon donuts. Yes "Bacon!"  crispy bits of bacon on a donut or donut hole.  It may sound strange but it tastes great!

mmmmm, gotta have one!

What a fun day in Little Tokyo,

 arigato, grazie and thank you Barb Bionda!

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