We meant only to check out an Asian grocery called Marukai Market in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo — we were in search of an pan — but by chance we arrived at the kick-off of Nisei Week, a festival of music, prizes, colors, crowds, shabu shabu, and whatever Japanese stuff you can think of. In the photo above you see tanabata decorations, marking the one time of year when the star-crossed lovers Hikoboshi (the star Altair) and Orihime (the star Vega) are ferried over the Milky Way to be together.
Yes, there were plenty of young Japanese girls dressed in semi-Harajuku fashion, but that’s not what you see in the picture above. These kids are posing as anime characters, we know not which. Hello Kitty was there, too, celebrating Sanrio’s 50th anniversary, but our photos of Hello didn’t turn out.
The deliciousness and variety of the food aromas drove us nigh unto madness. We opted for Korean BBQ in the spirit of diversity within diversity. Power Ranger episodes from the early 90s entertained us while we snarfed.
We dropped over a hundred at the wonderful Kinokuniya Bookstore without even trying; indeed, with much restraint. Then we toddled downstairs to the original goal of the journey, the Marukai grocery store, where we loaded up on Pocky and bean cakes. Then wearily home, with the siren song of geishas pleading with us to return, a temptation to which we will succumb before Hikoboshi and Orihime next cross the Milky Way.