One of the places I like to walk to and around on my lunch breaks is Little Tokyo. It is about three or four blocks from my office and I walk past the LA City Hall to get there.
The main street of little Tokyo is First Street. It is mostly little restaurants that serve ramen or sushi or curry or bento boxes. I have eaten at several of them and they are pretty good. At night the street is well lit and there are usually many other people walking around so you can fell comfortable to be there at nighttime. Here is a picture of First Street:
Right behind these buildings is a monument called the Go For Broke monument. During World War Two, many Japanese American men volunteered for the American military. They were put into their own units and they won more medals for bravery than any other American unit. The monument recognizes the bravery of the units and it was dedicated in 1999. Here are some pictures:
Next to the monument is the Japanese American National Museum. It is a combination new building and an old historic building. They have many exhibitions and shows but I have not yet been inside the museum. Here is a picture of the historic part of the museum which used to be part of an old Buddhist temple, the Nishi Hongwanjii Buddhist temple:
Across the street from the museum is an outdoor shopping center. It has many restaurants and gets very busy at lunch time. At the entrance to the shopping center is a replica of a fire lookout tower in old rural Japan. It is called a Yagura tower.
On the other side of the shopping center is a statue of a Japanese man, Sonotoko (Kinjiro) Ninomiya. There is also a town in Japan that is named after the man that came from humble beginnings yet pursued knowledge. The young Ninomiya—born into a poor family and orphaned at a young age—is reading a book even while working. In addition to lifting himself out of poverty with innovative agricultural methods he helped a number of feudal clans achieve financial health. Ninomiya also developed the idea that benefits received should be repaid—Hotoku or to repay virtue.
During the 1990's, Little Tokyo was really having a hard time. After the Japanese economy went down, there were not very many Japanese tourists coming to Little Tokyo like there used to be and business was very slow. Today, like in the other parts of Downtown Los Angeles, there are many new condo and apartment building developments in and around Little Tokyo. This has brought many more people and business to Little Tokyo, especially at night. Here is picture of another shopping area in Little Tokyo at night: