Home » California » Throwback Thursday: Asia in California

Throwback Thursday: Asia in California

It started with a series of Flashback Friday posts where, while I was in California, I get to turn back the time and revisit some of my travel destinations in Europe and Philippines. Then it now continues with Throwback Thursday where, while I’m here in Japan, I get to turn back the time and revisit some of my travel destinations in California. And now that my time here is coming to an end, this will be the last of my Throwback Thursday post. In February, for now, I will be revisiting my time here in Japan, and even older travel destiantions, when I get to California, and I will call it Memory Monday. ;)

Remember Europe in California? Well here is the Asia version…


California is arguably the most racially diverse state in the nation. You get in a place, look around, and you’ll never find just one racial group. Here, it isn’t difficult to cross-culture. I have a pleasure of knowing that I have plenty of options to satisfy wherever my desire and imagination decide to go or be. I can walk to the end of my street, and I can choose what kind of cuisine to eat. On the way, I can come across people of different backgrounds. I can travel further a mile or two, and it’s as if I can get transported somewhere else in the world.

The above image is taken from Chinatown in LA. Perhaps the easily recognizable place to go to experience Asian culture in California are Chinatowns in both LA and San Francisco.

It looks cool at night when everything is illuminated.

… or during the celebration of Chinese New Year, where you can also see lion dances.

Chinatown in San Francisco.

Let’s go to Japan in California…

Out of the 16 museums in Balboa Park in San Diego, my personal favorite is Mingei International Museum. They have a really nice display portion for Japan culture.

California has Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and even Little Italy.

Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo

Karaoke singing at the center stage, Habachi dining, Hello Kitty/Sanrio shops, and wish paper are some of the things you can experience in Little Tokyo.

This next one is from Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Arts…

Pavilion for Japanese Art displays the Shin’enkan collection in LACMA.

Moving on. My most favorite Asian places in California happens to be my first travel destination when I got back to California in 2011….


…Hsi Lai Temple.It’s so amazing that this hidden Asian gem is sitting atop a hill amongst the modernized, bustling city of LA.


You see, it’s very easy to cross-culture in California. It may not be the same, but it’s just an awesome thing to know that you can go to and experience an entirely different environment without crossing over seas.

Last Calls…

Internation Houses in San Diego offers exhibit of different style of houses from different countries.

Internation Houses in San Diego offers exhibits of different style of houses from different countries.



So do you know where the Asian places in your area? If not, I think it’s time for you to do some research. ;)


Cross-culture in SoCAL?

Suebee and Kat is an instant pro-blog in a matter of days. You can see Korean Friendship Bell, Japanese Pavilion in LACMA, Noodle Soup restaurant, Irish Dance Costumes, Brazilian Dance, Vietnamese Exhibit in Pico House Gallery, Dia De Los Muertos Gallery and Pacific Asia Museum, just some of their cross-culture sightings. My favorite, however, is a post that shows pictures of Kat’s grandma.


  1. cocomino says:

    Intereting. Glad to see small Japan in California.

  2. You mean you will leave Japan in Feburary?

  3. Deborah says:

    That was fun to see the pictures of China town and feel like I am there. Celebrating Chinese New Year today in Taiwan, and I felt right at home in your post. :-)

  4. Thank you for sharing our blog! You’re extremely kind. :) ~SueBee

  5. LuAnn says:

    Made me long for more time in CA. Was that Philippines door photo taken at Balboa Park?

  6. Wow, what fun and great photos! How is it such a young guy gets to travel so extensively? Thanks for taking this landlocked Okie on your travels! Love the photos!

  7. IT was a little hard looking for an Asian place when we were in the deep south. nada

  8. Colline says:

    A perfect post to celebrate the start of the new Chinese year. I wish you all the best during the year of the horse – and many opportunities to post on your blog :)

  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Rommel! I saw your post on my phone at lunchtime and couldn’t wait to see it at home on my PC. As always you didn’t disappoint, this is wonderful!

  10. Amy says:

    I’ve learned to appreciate so much about diversity through your lens and posts. A great post for the horse year! Have a great year, Rommel!

  11. Rommel, your pictures always make me smile! The Hsi Lai Temple is gorgeous – hard to believe it’s located in LA!

  12. Chinatown in LA and San Francisco would definitely be on my places to visit if I ever make it to California! :)

  13. I love that last photo with the sun and the darkened profile of the building! I don’t have far to go for Asian influence. I live in the city of San Gabriel, which is a majority-Asian community. My neighbors are mostly Chinese. Since I grew up in this city it’s been fascinating to watch the demographics change from what was once a heavily Hispanic community. We are the city with a Spanish Mission after all. :-) One of my favorite places is the Huntington Library Chinese Pavilion. I love the multi-cultural aspect of Los Angeles. There are 92 languages identified as spoken in Los Angeles Unified School District. That’s got to be some kind of record!

    • rommel says:

      We really are lucky for the many cultures California has. Now I need to make my way to Huntington Libabray Chinese Pavilion. Have you been to Hsi Lai Temple? If not, I highly suggest it. I think it might be close to Korean Friendship Bell as well.

  14. I still find it strange that there is no Philippine channel in the L.A. area, and no major documentary, elucidating the many wonders of the Philippines, either.

    • rommel says:

      You have to pay for the cable Filipino channel. There are so many Filipinos in America, so they have plenty of costumers that Filipino channel won’t ever be free.

  15. Great photos, Rommel. It’s so interesting to see how Asian culture and architecture has found its place in America. I loved visiting Chinatown in LA and San Francisco. The bright colours are so cheerful. The Hsi Lai Temple is really gorgeous. Thanks for a wonderful post again. :)

  16. mfryan says:

    The Mingei really is the best!! I used to be lucky enough to work across the street from it. Great post!! Totally agree. California is pretty cool. :)

  17. themofman says:

    My city of Hamilton does not have a genuine China Town, although a few have suggested there is because they’ve seen a very small number of Vietnamese and Korean businesses in six blocks of a specific neighbourhood. It is Toronto that has a real and large China Town, although use of the term is somewhat frowned upon by the Asian and Sian-descented population there.

    • rommel says:

      Vietnamese and Korean food are delicious- Vietnamese sandwich and Korean BBQ and kimchi to be specific. I know that there are plenty of Filipinos in Toronto, or any major cities really. :D

  18. Sun says:

    as always, your collage type posts are so well laid out, Rommel. how you stay on top with all your photos and then put it together to bring a great flowing photo story. nice. sorry to hear your stay will soon end in Okinawa but your talents needed elsewhere. :P i really love that first photograph. safe journey back to the states.

  19. TBM says:

    I grew up in Southern California and then when we moved to Colorado I was surprised and depressed about the lack of diversity. Now I’m in London and love all the different cultures.

    • rommel says:

      All three cool places you lived in! I might go to Colorado this year to travel around. Good that I’m not staying there. I might feel so out of place. :D I’m sure, though, that I could find people of my race there. We have some sort of Asian radar. Ahihihi :lol:

  20. Jean says:

    I’m here in the Canadian prairies….Chinatown is just a few blocks away from us.

  21. Madhu says:

    I would have found it hard to believe these were shot in the USofA if you hadn’t said so!! Amazing isn’t it? Are you back already?

  22. […] It’s so neat to be able to visit Japan in California. […]

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