I arrived into Los Angeles a couple of days before day 1 of Anime Expo. I had originally planned to get in on day 0, so I needed to extend my original reservation at the Figueroa hotel. The hotel turned out to be fully booked and I had to look for another hotel to stay for the extra night. This turned out to be a good thing, as I ended up in the Kyoto Grand hotel, right in the middle of little Tokyo.
After checking in to the Kyoto Grand hotel, I had lunch at a sushi restaurant closeby. After lunch I went on a walking tour of downtown L.A. A few blocks west of little Tokyo was the Bradbury building. Being a big Blade Runner fan, I definitely had to visit. Luckily the main lobby is open to the public and photography was allowed. The interior is beautifully detailed and well maintained – very different from the run down, retro-fitted, cyberpunk feel as portrayed in the movie.
From there I headed north to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The architecture is recognizably Frank Gehry. It was fun to be able to walk around the building – the path went to different levels and meandered, reflecting the shapes of the building’s elements.
A few blocks east was the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. The original cathedral was the St Vibiana, but this was damaged during the 1994 earthquake and the new cathedral was needed.
The design of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels I think, has some brutalist and post modern elements. I find these very interesting, but at the same time, I don’t think this fully suits the function of building. But, inside the cathedral, are tapestries of blesseds and saints along with portrayals of the average parishoners. To me this element makes liturgical sense and makes this building a proper cathedral.
After leaving the cathedral I slowly made my way back to the hotel. The Kyoto Grand has a beautiful rooftop garden and I was able to take some photos while enjoying drink. I headed back out and poked around the shops and restaurants in little Tokyo.
After hours, I hanged out the 2nd Street jazz bar, just a few blocks away from the hotel. There was a pretty good live jazz/samba band playing and the place was packed. I went to buy a drink and the bartender was indicating some sort of special deal, I couldnt hear what she was saying, but I agreed and ended up getting/paying for 2 beers and a shot of tequila – the bartender was cute. I kept the beers but gave the shot away to some ladies sitting at the bar…
I checked out the following morning and headed to the Figueroa hotel. My buddy of fotaku.com fame was arriving into L.A. around midday and I wanted to check in early to make sure our room was not as bad as some of the online reviews indcate – the room itself was fine and location was pretty