Adventures in Retail: Little Tokyo

I’m back from Lotus Land. My daughter set me up with one of the three greatest weeks of my life in a city I adore: Los Angeles. Like a lot of smartypants east of SoCal I spent too much of my life scorning LaLa Land. Then Honor moved there, I visited, and from that first trip I’ve been dazzled. Dazzled by sunshine, hot days (no sweating) cool nights and, again sunshine. High culture and fish tacos.

My next seventy posts could be about our week in LA, and might be. The theme could be: “You are too old to be so stupid to set out on your travels with two pairs of new shoes.” They felt good in the shoe store, but when I trotted along our LA hood walk — from Loz Felix Blvd., down Vermont to Hollywood and up Hillhurst with a swing back to home, my feet were shredded.

Two days later, wearing a pair of Goodwill sandals, I cruised Little Tokyo. I think I’ve said before that if I believed in a former life, I’d believe that I was Japanese. I thought I’d entered Retail Nirvana at Kinokuniya Books. OMG. OMG. “Madame Figaro ” in Japanese, with binding on the right? What seemed like a half mile of Japanese craft and cookbooks? I admit that I spent almost an hour in an eighth of the shop. I’m proud that I got out of that orgasmic nirvanic store only sixty bucks poorer

The second encounter was, good Lord, even better. I wish I’d taken note of the shop’s name, but basically it’s a Japanese five and dime — the concept makes my toes curl a week later. Here’s part of the haul:

The coolest bento box. Brace yourself, and don’t hate me: Hello Kitty ziplock bags. Erasers in dessert form. Argyle patterned tape. A lighter with a cute dangling thang. A Hello Kitty tempura strainer. A Hello Kitty callous grater. Fifteen bucks total.

I won’t walk into Walmart for labor reasons. I won’t eat at a Cracker Barrel for the same reason. But a Japanese five and dime? Take my wallet. Please.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Adventures in Retail: Little Tokyo

  1. Lloyd

    The five and dime HAS to be Daiso – one of hundreds, perhaps thousands of their stores throughout Japan, Korea and the US.
    We have a Kinokuniya here, inside our beloved Uwajimaya, Emporium of All Things Japanese, plus a Daiso as an extra benefit – all only 3 subway stops from my work!

  2. Hey that’s the same bookstore, Costa Mesa branch, the teensy origami paper came from! Cool. GREAT selection of that gorgeous masking tape you love, too.

    I’ve lost count of the pink Japanese smallwares I own… One really can’t have too many.

  3. Yes, Priscilla, the ceiling for pink Japanese smallware is eight miles high — and the thought that you bought that tiny paper from the branch in Costa Mesa makes me feel all warm inside. I love the Left Coast.

  4. Kim McKellar

    Would you send Rowan a Hello Kitty ziplock? She has HK underwear, shirt, PJ’s and such but alas, not ziplocks. She would be yours eternally.

  5. So glad you’re back—doubleglad you had such wonderful adventures!!

    You know I don’t SHOP. That definition, however, does NOT apply to the casual saunter I might take in an Asian food market—in there for rice and green things, you understand—but there are always AISLES. Plain old shelves piled with the most enchanting small goods—why are little ersatz Tupperwares so much more appealing than the real deal? Or ten small packs of sobas, enclosed in the most glorious rainbow of pastel wrappers, so you have to buy one of each color, just for the pasta cannisters.

    Despite several Grands of the Girl Kind, I doubt I’ve EVER said Hello to Kitty, but I love your spirit of youthful enthusiasm and find your choices charming and endearing.

    Welcome back, and if you’ve got any more tee-ninecy bargains, trot ’em out. For weeks, if necessary.

  6. Kim Shook

    I would have been all OVER that Five & Dime! My favorite kind of store. I searched in VAIN for one in England (I wanted some extremely dowdy bath powder – Lily of the Valley) and couldn’t find one ANYWHERE! What a wonderful haul, Miss Mags! So good to see you blogging again.

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