We've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Green Line Extension in our neighborhood. Currently, the Green Line terminus in Redondo Beach is a rather long walk (but easy bike ride) to our home.
KCET's Eric Brightwell wrote about his recent experience exploring the neighborhoods around the proposed Green Line extension. When I read his piece, I was struck by the ugliness embodied in his photos. It didn't jibe with my personal experience. Bad Dad said that the area right around the proposed line is uglier than the surroundings. But, I went around with new eyes and saw the ugliness in the familiar that my brain masks out.
LA is full of these micro-communities or urban villages. That may look like just another freeway exit to you, but it leads to a familiar community to those who take that exit ramp. When I see my exit, I don't see the billboards and utility poles. My mind sees the people and businesses that make up my home neighborhood. LA is so diverse, you can travel the world within a 50-mile radius of home.
Anyway, read Brightwell's piece. I hadn't heard that Torrance is nicknamed Torrance Prefecture for its distinctly Japanese flavor, though I am not surprised. I agree with his characterization that:
[...] Eastgate Plaza, in my mind, is easily the most appealing shopping center in the region.I would also add that JTB (Japanese Tourist Bureau) has a booth/office inside Eastgate Plaza where you can book trips to Japan at some of the best rates offered anywhere.
Unlike most malls, whose collection of shops varies little from mall to mall, Eastgate Plaza is practically its own J-Town. Currently the mall is home to Bistro Beaux, Matsui, Musha Izakaya, Sushi Nozomi, Teriyaki Inn, and Torihei, and a Mitsuwa Marketplace -- itself practically a mall-within-a-mall that includes Hamada-ya Bakery, Go Squared Takoyaki & Taiyaki, Italian Tomato, J-Sweets, Lupicia, Marion Crepes, Mifune, Santouka Ramen, and Tokyo Ginza Rokumeikan as well as Japanese specialty shops like Video Eye, Books Sanseido, and Trendy.
Brightwell also remarked upon the diversity of the South Bay.
Definitions of what communities constitute the South Bay vary, but most would include those between the Santa Monica Bay and the 405 Freeway, stretching from Palos Verdes Peninsula in the south to Ballona Creek in the north. It's one of the most diverse regions in the Southland, with significant populations of Canadian, English, Filipino, German, Guatemalan, Indian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Persian, Salvadoran, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and West African ancestral origins, which means, of course, that the region also boasts an amazing variety of eateries. It's one of the most physically beautiful regions of the Southland as well, with stunning beaches and incredible views of the ocean. Even the huge oil refineries -- though they regrettably contribute significantly to air pollution -- are captivatingly beautiful in their own way.Actually, if you zoom in on the 2010 Census map to the South Bay, you can see that certain neighborhoods of the SB (especially my own) are among the .most. diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles and the entire USA.
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