Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 12, 2010

Little Tokyo’s Cherry Blossom Festival, Part I: Cool stuff to see

A sizeable contingent of Muronakas converged on Little Toyko on Saturday to enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival. There are never any cherry blossoms to be seen in downtown Los Angeles, but there was plenty to buy, eat and experience. You could learn to make a fabric floral lei, you could watch an anime and manga character fashion show, you could put six fruit flavors at once on a snowcone, or you could shop your way up and down several blocks of booths.

We first targeted the ramen house Daikokuya on First Street, which we knew would have a long line any time after noon, because it’s just that good and it does not take reservations. After stuffing ourselves on noodles and exquisite broth (get the combo meal with the shredded pork bowl on the side), we waddled out to the fair. As is usual in this family, no one travels as a unit, but instead, people peel off and eventually fold back into the pack. Adapting to this family trait has been heavily aided by the invention of the cell phone, although I am as bad as anyone else about wandering away when something catches my eye.

And there were at least three vendors that diverted me from the clan this weekend.

To make his “Exclusively Kaliki Designs,” Pasadena, CA, jewelry artist Chris Carillo — — uses beach glass in a different way from that of most jewelry-makers who work with beach glass. Carillo’s colorful and affordable necklaces are buffed to a high shine before he embellishes them with a variety of paint types. He calls them “Aloha Suncatcher Pendants.” And indeed, they are dynamite in appearance when hit by the sun.

Another part of the festival featured a booth with Hawaiian-themed quilts. All of the bed coverings from BEMI Designs are drawn and painted by hand.

Works of polymer clay are not always well represented at fairs and festivals of any kind, but there was one booth at the Cherry Blossom festival boasting miniature work. Local graphic designer and artist Jane Taguchi makes her “Mini-Mono” figurines from Fimo, and many of them are based upon Japanese folktales and the Shichifukujin (the seven lucky gods), according to the information posted at her booth. I didn’t see any business cards for her work, but if you want to track Jane down, apparently she’s an avid bowler and can be found at the Beverly Bowling Center every Tuesday night in Montebello. That’s a bit of a schlep if you don’t live in Southern California, so I did a little Googling and found her on Etsy, where she sells her work online.



  1. Cassy – thank you for your nice comments about my Fimo miniatures. So many people ask about whether I have a website or store, but the answer was “no”. Making miniatures is a hobby of mine. Well, today, I decided to start work on a website. While I was doing this, I found your blog. Your photos are excellent, by the way!

    Anyway, I just want to give you my website – it is under construction for now.


    • You’re very welcome!

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