Impressions of Japantown

8 12 2011

I had a meeting a block away from Japantown last weekend, and afterwards had some time to walk around the area and grab a bite to eat. It was a bit busy, so the zen of the experience was somewhat diminished, but I still love every opportunity I have to be in this unique place.

There was only one cache within walking distance for me to find, but I was delighted to see that the hider is a good friend: OLdweeb. He has a series dedicated to the now rare, almost extinct pay phone:
Little Tokyo DoDo

I was surprised to see that this one still works!


Entrance mural and tower:

A wall of haiku about the plaza:

One of the haiku:

Unique rock sculpture:

Paper lanterns, always festive:

The traditional Japanese Christmas tree?

Lunch, chirsashi sushi and hot tea:

Finally, a view towards downtown from the 2nd floor balcony of this city oasis:

The Uniqueness of Geocaching in Los Angeles

12 02 2009

This week, I take you on a photo tour of downtown Los Angeles, featuring its history, architecture, uniqueness, and odd aesthetics. The list of caches found on this tour are at the bottom; it was a day-long odyssey of seeking parking places with f0t0m0m.


The San Antonio Winery, est. 1917, is nestled in the midst of an unscenic industrial neighborhood:

Many of the caches we found were placed by GeoCraig to show us the many historic bridges over the L.A. River:

This mural is on the downtown office of the Department of Water and Power, on the site of Fort Moore which was in use during the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848:

Now a chic restaurant, the original firehouse was built in 1912:

For my dad, a railroad buff, photos of where they turn the engines at an end station for Amtrak:

A forever silent remnant of the cold war:


The new local high school for the performing arts, adjacent to a Burger King across the street.

The shape of the block and the building allow for a nice perspective:

Many old theaters line Broadway:

Our latest signature building, Disney Hall:

L.A.s original signature building, seen all over film and TV, the Bonaventure Hotel:

The Eastern Airline building has also had lots of screen time:

Sometimes L.A. does not look like L.A., like here with the quasi-Euro architecture and overcast skies:


The off-color squares are the ends of reinforcement rods placed for earthquake-proofing:

Part of our huge flower market, adjacent to the garment district, toy district, Little Tokyo, and skid row:

A Buddist temple statue:

The temple bell – note the Mexican restaurant with Moroccan architecture behind it!

A bride and groom getting photos done:

I couldn’t resist this “drive-by shooting” to catch them more up close!

Of course, there was a commercial being shot on location. This is the featured car and the camera car:

These are just some “artistic” shots I got:

A pigeon on the street light:

Intersection art:

Neon sign in Japanese with analog clock (I just love this, for some reason):

I don’t know why my camera turned the lights green, but the 2nd St. Tunnel is also commonly seen in film and TV:

Elegant architecture:

Here’s our cache find list:
Riverside-Figueroa Street Bridge 1939
Buena Vista Viaduct 1911
Score For The Ohana Pod #20
Main Street Bridge 1910
San Antonio
Another Homage to William Inge
Ft. Moore Returns–Filling in the Gaps
Cathedral–Filling in the Gaps
Court of Flags-Civic Mall–Filling in the Gaps
Central HS #9–Filling in the Gaps
Bradbury Building–Filling in the Gaps
AT&T Sculpture–Filling in the Gaps
MOCA–Filling in the Gaps
Going to the Movies–Filling in the Gaps
Civil Defense–Filling in the Gaps
I Hate This Sign–Filling in the Gaps
Engine Company No 28–Filling in the Gaps Broadway–Filling in the Gaps
Blue Balls 2.0
Cat and Dog
Old Latrobe
First Street Bridge 1929
Fourth Street Bridge 1930
Seventh Street Bridge 1927
Eat Your Veggies!
Olympic Blvd Bridge 1925
The Tables Have Turned
Washington Blvd Bridge 1931

Until next week, cache on! …. and enjoy the uniqueness of wherever you are….

Extra! Extra!

27 07 2008

I was featured in an article in the local Daily News today!

The website doesn’t show the photo that was also included:

the article is no longer available except in the archives, so I’m reprinting it here…. um… without permission (!) – shhhh….. (!!)

Daily News of Los Angeles

Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)

July 27, 2008
Author: Mark Kellam
Edition: Valley
Section: News
Page: A4
Estimated printed pages: 2
Article Text:
They are all around us, but most of us don’t know it.
They’re called caches and they are part of an international sport called geocaching, where players use personal GPS systems to track down “finds” and record them.
The No. 3 player in the world is Elin Carlson of Northridge, who has found more than 16,000 caches over the past five years.
There are more than 200,000 caches hidden worldwide.
“You can call it a game or a sport or an obsession,” Carlson said.
Players download a cache’s coordinates from the Web site, but sometimes it’s not all black and white.
“Sometimes you have to decode the instructions,” said Carlson, adding that those kinds of finds can be the most satisfying.
When cracked, the number puzzles give the cache’s longitude and latitude. Sometimes players are given multiple places they must go to before reaching the final cache.
If you’ve gone to the summer concerts in Warner Center Park, you’ve been near a cache. One is hidden in the monument honoring Fernando Award winners.
There’s also a cache hidden near a waterfall on the north end of DeSoto Avenue and several are up the hill on the south end of Reseda Boulevard, along a trail that leads to Topanga State Park.
Carlson said geocaching has brought her some moments of serendipity.
When she went to find the cache along the Topanga State Park trail, for example, she was surprised how bright the stars were at a higher elevation.
She has also stumbled upon some historic places she didn’t even know existed.
“There’s a historic park and landmark just east of the corner of Balboa and Ventura. It was (an early) settlement in the San Fernando Valley,” Carlson said, referring to Los Encinos Park. “You don’t really notice it when you drive by it.”
Through geocaching, she’s also made a lot of friends and participated in activities she never would otherwise have tried.
Because many caches are hidden in parks and along trails, she got to try — and enjoy — hiking.
That led to her decision to climb 14,000-foot Mount Shasta in Northern California recently, an experience she described as “excruciating” but personally rewarding.
The most difficult part was that there was no snow on the mountain. “It was like walking up a vertical beach all the way up,” she said.
While there were no caches on Mount Shasta, Carlson said she hopes to change that one day.
“I’m in process of getting one up there,” Carlson said. “Maybe two.”
Northridge resident Elin Carlson recently climbed Mount Shasta. Though there was no geocache on the mountain, she hopes to hide one — or maybe two — there in the
Mark Kellam is editor of He posted this story Friday to The Valley hub on
Copyright (c) 2008 Daily News of Los Angeles
Record Number: 0807290003