I have been to Little Tokyo before when I was a student in L.A, but last night's visit was a little different as I discovered some places I haven't been before. After watching some DVDs with my cousin to show here some design elements of a cosplay I wanna do, I felt like that I could find one of the elements at Anime Jungle in Little Tokyo. After seeing them represented at a few of the previous cons I've attended, I've been always wondering where Anime Jungle keeps the gothic lolita, visual kei, J-pop stuff. I always went to the store in the Little Tokyo Mall where the figures are, but I never knew where their other shop was until my cousin asked an employee about it. So after going through an alley, we did find the other store. I'm so happy that it's still around (but I guess if you have a cult following like Amoeba Music had, you'll always have a steady business).
Anyway, I didn't find the item I was looking for, but there was a bunch of stuff I wanna get the next time I visit. Before dinner, we visited a couple of shops around the area, where I found a store that sold all kinds of Japanese clothes such as yukata (apparently the presence of an obi is what separates a house yukata from a "street" yukata) haori jackets, and happi coats.
I don't think I've ever actually eaten in Little Tokyo, and I've eaten at another location of Daikokuya, which was very busy compared to Mr. Ramen two doors down. And I guess as a sign of the troubled economic times, I saw many empty lots in Little Tokyo and a restaurant with no customers (probably because the cooking and wait staff were eating dinner in plain view at 7 pm). I guess unlike Chinatown where there seems to be many events planned throughout the year, Little Tokyo doesn't have a similar neighborhood revitilization initiative where they hold many weekend events outside of Nisei Week.
Well back to dinner...we wanted to find a place that was busy but not a long wait, so we found Oomasa where we both had a sushi/pork cutlet dinner set that included miso soup, three kinds of sashimi, three kinds of sushi, macaroni salad, cucumber/crab in vinegar, and green tea ice cream for dessert. All for less than $20. The restaurant had a mix of older Japanese and younger non-Asian hipsters, so it was a little noisy.
So that was my little trip of discovery at Little Tokyo...I guess I could have been more descriptive by hearing the Lucky Star theme song blasting in the background at the first Anime Jungle location, and how there were clips from The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya playing at the other location as my non-anime watching cousin discovered body pillows with female anime characters silkscreened on them and a Super Mario Bros. invincibility star that makes noise when you press it. However, I feel since it was a somewhat random wandering, I wasn't really interested in telling a long story, but I did want to show off the latest Newtype that I bought at Kinokuniya just because of the cover (and more related Kyoto Animation pics inside, if I only knew Japanese) and I didn't feel right borrowing the restroom key without buying something.