The Trip to Los Angeles

You know you’re on the west coast when you see flowers like these outside! So pretty!
This was actually my first time in Los Angeles. I never really thought about it but LA is so much closer to Japan than the midwest or east coast. But this was only my second time on the west coast, the last time being a trip to Sacramento when I was in sixth grade.
It’s probably because not very many of my friends lived on this side. But now that my grade school friend R lives there, I had a reason to go visit. It was so much fun! I feel like I got to see this lovely city through his eyes and it was one full of creativity, determination, and love. 
He also asked me what I wanted to do in LA and I had very specific requests. I wanted to go to the Griffith Observatory, a bookstore called The Last Bookstore, and a farmers market. We only had a weekend but R fit all my requests and even more in my short time there. I had the very best time catching up and exploring the city of angels with him! xx
(Pictures to come…)
I got to see where R works as an editor…and also got my first ever fist bump!!! x
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13 thoughts on “The Trip to Los Angeles”

  1. I should have known you'd know the scientific name for those flowers, Ru! I only knew them as Bird of Paradise but it makes sense that they'd be indigenous to South Africa, the burst of colors remind me of those houses you took photos of last time you were 😀

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  2. I have a Bird of Paradise outside the window I am facing. I had no idea it was native to South Africa. Thanks for that Ru.

    Ah. Los Angeles. The place I took my first breath. “Cough, cough. Ugh. Presages of smog.” Los Angeles: Your first time in. My first time, ever.

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  3. Ru is like my personal encyclopedia! I learn about things that I didn't even know I wanted to know about ;D

    I was slightly concerned when the pilot of our flight announced towards the end that “we are expecting clear skies in Los Angeles…or as clear as they'll be here.” But I quickly learned what he meant!

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  4. You only got your first fist bump in LA, and this year? Wow, I give them out like candy with my friends. 😀

    I wonder if it is more of a west coast thing…

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  5. Griffith Observatory! I first thought of the movie “Rebel Without A Cause.” After all, there is a bust of James Dean there. But, actually, I have no idea why you wanted to visit. So, why the Griffith Observatory, Kaori? A movie, video, blog, setting in a story? James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Nicholas Ray, after all?

    In the summer I loved the family-along-with-neighbor-kids trips to Fern Dell which was always cool and shady even on the hottest days (there are over 50 fern species) but we couldn’t help leaving the shade and creek for the hike up to the observatory. A slideshow and map here.

    I get to sound like the old geezer that I am by mentioning that in the fifties and sixties the smog was so bad it actually hurt our lungs. It was painful to inhale so that on smoggy days (the majority of days?) one could only sip the air outside by taking really shallow breaths. The smog was like contemporary Beijing. You could only tell it wasn’t thick fog by looking up. The sky was bright, whereas fog would completely have us socked in. Visibility was so bad that there were times we couldn't see at all down the outside school halls further than 10-15 meters. Regardless of how well, if you could see, or vaguely make out shapes of, the hills it was a clear day. Compared to that the skies these days are like those of a pristine wilderness. Still room for improvement though.

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  6. Are you serious? Yeah it might be a west coast thing. Or more like a guy thing.

    But do you give them out to people you just met? Granted this was a guy that works with my grade school friend who lived in Tokyo for a bit. So I guess the connection warranted a legit fist bump? I was going for a handshake so I had to quickly adjust….awwwwwkward! haha. (But I think I pulled it off okay!)

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  7. You'll have to wait for my Griffith Observatory post (which is still sitting in my draft box…so many pictures to go through!). But I didn't have an interesting reason really. I have this random list of places I'd love to see if ever I'm in that particular city. It's a pretty long list compiled from things I see in blogs, magazines or books. I only had two things listed for California, which was the Griffith Observatory, which I'd seen pictures of on someone's blog and thought the architecture as well as the view was stunning, and Salvation Mountain. So I got to check one thing off my list, which I was really happy about! 😀

    I actually had no idea that it was such a big tourist spot. But I'm glad I was able to go. The view was amazing. That's so interesting that you remember how bad the smog was. Coming from Chicago, it did seem a little hazy while I was there. But I couldn't tell if it was pollution or just a San Francisco-ish fog from the temperature difference or something. I thought it was interesting that the fog was so thick during the day that you couldn't see across the ocean but then it would thin out as the sun sets.

    I remember riding in a taxi near the Emperor's place and he mentioned how you couldn't see Tokyo Tower from that area, even though it's so close, because of the smog right after the industrial boom in Tokyo back in the day. I guess every large city goes through that era. Hopefully Beijing is able to see through the smog someday soon, too 🙂

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  8. Might be a guy thing too. Dunno.

    I did say I give them out like candy to my friends. People I don't know… not sure. It also depends on if I'm sick or they are sick.

    Now that you did your first, it is time to start learning the variations. 😉 j/k

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  9. Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. So kind of you.

    I have the same hopes for Beijing. And, yes, I remember hearing that the air pollution in Tokyo, back in the day, was horrendous. It’s hard to tell how valid the following was as a determiner of smog harshness but I remember a newspaper article with photo showing how there were something like oxygen-mask vending machines in Tokyo where people could pay for gulps of clean air (the only way to get anything like a breath of fresh air in Tokyo at that time). By the time I got there the air in Tokyo never bothered me except after returning from overseas travel and I could understand why some people said the air kind of stunk. But soon I could ignore the air in Tokyo again. (We won’t mention the soot from diesel bus and truck exhaust that turned nostrils black). From your taxi-driver experience we would have to say there was probably truth to that newspaper article about the oxygen or fresh-air vending machines.

    Coastal areas here in So Cal often get early morning fog creeping onto shore from the ocean that recedes as the day gets longer. Especially in the summer. Maybe related to the way the winds go. People in some parts of the hills live “above the fog line.”

    I just found this: “1542 – Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo navigates the coast of California. He calls present day San Pedro Bay the ‘Bay of Smokes.’” San Pedro is the main port of Los Angeles. Maybe there is something about the Los Angeles geography that promotes smog (even from Indian fires? Or naturally?).

    Did you see the Foucault pendulum inside the observatory?

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  10. Oxygen-mask vending machines??? I'd love to see that! But then again, we sell fresh air from mount fuji, so if the air were that bad during the industrial boom, I'm sure they could have sold oxygen-masks!

    My friend who lives in Beijing said the same thing you did, that she could ignore the air once she was back in it for a while. When I went to school in Hiroshima, the air was so clean there that every time I came back to Tokyo, I could definitely tell that the air was more polluted here. Only for about an hour, but I could still tell so I guess Tokyo still doesn't have the freshest air. I bet there is a study done about the air in LA. I would love to know the percentage of fog vs smog.

    And yes, I did see the foucault pendulum! I didn't know we could go inside so that was a pleasant surprise. Very interesting stuff 😀

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