The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles

Look how pretty the streets of Los Angeles are!
I love the lights. Los Angeles is such an artistic city, there’s art every where you look. I really had no idea…although seeing as it’s such a huge city full of artists in film, music, and who knows what else, I really should have expected it.
So here’s a question. What are some things you always do when travelling?
One of the things I always love to do when I’m travelling is to poke my head into local bookstores. The smell of books, whether new or old, always has a way of making me feel at home. And I don’t think there’s ever been a bookstore that I didn’t like. But I have to say I was pretty excited to step into this particular independent bookstore in downtown LA.
The Last Bookstore is an amazing treasure house filled with a mind-blowing wide-range of books, eclectic vinyl records, and book related art around every corner.
The building itself, which was built in 1914 (in just 10 months!), was originally occupied by Citizens National Bank. In the early 1910s this location was in the heart of the financial district, which was referred to as the “Wall Street of the West.” Today this neighborhood is known as the Historic Core and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I was really interested in learning about how this building evolved over time, and I could go on, but I’ll spare you!
It’s a really massive building though and The Last Bookstore occupies the ground floor and the mezzanine level, which is like a maze. There are books everywhere. I know, it’s a bookstore. But it’s not only on the shelves. It’s used as an art form on the walls, ceilings, and anywhere else you can imagine. I was so enthralled with this place.
You can pretty much forget about just stepping in here for a second to grab a book. Their choices are so deep and wide that it will take forever for you to choose (this was me). Or you’ll just end up walking out with a handful of books (this was my friend R). 
But isn’t that how every bookstore should be? x
Here are some pictures:

453 S. Spring St., Ground Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Mon-Thu: 10:00am-10:00pm
Fri-Sat: 10:00am-11:00pm
Sun: 10:00am-6:00pm 
*Occasionally they are closed early for a wedding (!!!)
or a gorgeous pop-up dinner like this. Love love love.

The Family of Fourteen

It all started when I thought I was being clever when I thought to give Japanese children picture books translated into English as a gift to my friend’s children who live in the US.
Then I realized I didn’t know what books had been translated. Or where to buy them.
So I, of course, asked the internet via twitter and the lovely Ru helped me out by pushing me in the right direction. And I suddenly realized that there were actually a lot of Japanese children books that have been translated. It was fun rediscovering my childhood favorites like Guri and Gura, The Gigantic Turnip, and Swimmy (which is technically not from Japan, but it was still one of my favorites!).
Then I stumbled across The Family of Fourteen Series. It’s a picture book written by Kazuo Iwamura about a family of mice and their various outings and everyday lives in the forest. Ever since his first book came out in 1983, it’s been very popular in Japan and also internationally. I actually found the series translated into 8 different languages.
We had a couple of these pictures books when we were little and I absolutely LOVED them! The illustrations are works of art and there is always so much too see each of it’s pages. I knew this was the perfect children’s book that both my friends and their children could enjoy together so I ordered a couple of these books. But I am seriously thinking about getting myself one for my library, too!
Aren’t the illustrations beautiful? x 

*All illustrations from Doshinsha’s The Family of Fourteen series webite.

The Baby-sitters Club Illustration

I stumbled upon this article last year.
And then again a week ago.
I really love it.
It’s by artist and illustrator Yumi Sakugawa.
She writes about how Claudia Kishi from The Baby-sitters Club
was her Asian American role model growing up in the states.
(if you don’t know who that is…read the illustrations below)
(read the rest of this article here)
The Baby-sitters Club was one of my favorite series to read in grade school.
And since I grew up in the states around the same time as the illustrator
it was really interesting to read this comic article she wrote.
It made me realize that we really didn’t
have a lot of famous Asian role models back then.
I had my parents.
(Forever and always.)
Also Kristi Yamaguchi.
(My family LOVES figure skating.)
And for some reason Shannon Doherty.
(I thought she was Asian but I don’t think she is.)
Oh and Connie Chung.
(I was really jealous of her hair.)
But that’s pretty much it.
I don’t live in the states anymore
so I can’t really say if things have changed.
But I’m hoping more Asians are getting out there.
Super cool and creative like Claudia Kishi.
Or maybe super cool and creative like Yumi Sakugawa.