IN THE HOOD: ARTS DISTRICT + LITTLE TOKYO

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By Kahlil Allen

Tuesday afternoon, Liz and I hit up the Arts District and little Tokyo. These neighborhoods are quickly becoming local favorites for restaurants, nightlife, or just to pass the time and browse the small shops scattered around.

One of my personal favorite buildings is Eighty-Two (the purple and blue building) it’s a full nightclub/bar that boasts dozens of vintage arcade games such as X-men, Frogger, StreetFighter, and Tron and one side completely caters to Old School Pinball machines.

Eighty-Two
707 E 4th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

We also hit up the Southern California Institute of Architecture located in the heart of the Arts District. It’s a quarter mile long former freight depot that opened up in 1972. Some of the alumni from this school include Juan Azulay and Shingeru Ban, who is famous for constructing housing shelters out of cardboard tubing for disaster relief victims. They usually have exhibitions from former students and more notable architects and sculptors. We managed to catch the current exhibit by Heather Roberge: En Pointe. Roberge’s work challenges structure strength with the use of giant metal columns being supported only on their points. The school is privately owned and on average has about 500 students who are focused on receiving their Bachelors or Masters in Architecture.

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC)
960 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

We ended up walking by the beautiful Zenshuji Soto Mission Buddhist temple (the first Soto Buddhist temple in North America), which was beautifully lined with paper lanterns alongside the top of the gate. While observing the garden outside and magnificently hand-carved sculptures adorning the courtyard, the ground keeper invited myself and Liz to take a look inside at the temple. Due to religious reasons we weren’t allowed to take a picture of the shrine in the sanctuary, but we took pictures of the surrounding pews which had additional lanterns floating over them. The temple offers classes on Buddhism, Japanese, Traditional Japanese Calligraphy, and Tradition Tea Ceremony Ritual.

Zenshuji Soto Mission
123 S Hewitt St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

After the temple, we walked through Japanese Village Plaza, which is lined with Japanese shops, bakeries, bars, and the famous Shabu-Shabu House where you cook your own food (the Ponzu sauce is apparently the closest thing to Jesus on earth). It was a hot as hell out so Liz and I stopped by a small Japanese beauty store to pick up a Traditional Bamboo Brush Kasa hat and a traditional geisha parasol to block the sun.

Japanese Village Plaza
335 E 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The next stop on our venture was to get some food, so we stopped at Wurstkuche located right in the middle of the Arts district which
usually has a line wrapped around the block. Apparently we came at the right time, as it was empty. This place is known for their Belgian….everything: exotic and unconventional sausage sandwiches, fries with assorted dipping sauces and about 20 or so imported beers on tap.

Wurstkuche
800 E 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

We also rolled by the Japanese American History Museum, which is currently hosting the OOMO Cube (which by the way stands for Out of Many
One). The cube is a giant Rubik’s cube that spins on its axis that has a mixture of mirrors and many different human faces split up on each
smaller square. It’s a symbol of “Human Oneness” as described by the artist Nicole Maloney, and is meant to signify the inherit unity that
we all share on Earth. This interactive art piece was put up in 2014, but apparently is only the first of many to sprout up in cities around the country.

Japanese American History Museum
100 N Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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