Fooled you. I bet you thought it yet another tired food blog. I can't say I'm an expert or even near in on Little Tokyo or Japan town or any town. However, I am qualified to talk about the ownership of property, leases, and maybe a bit about the future. There's two comments I copied and pasted below after my post about Shojin. Never mind, that the food was really good, the comments are more about the dying mall in Little Tokyo where this great spot is located. It is a more important topic that happens everywhere.
Cue up Howard Jones song, "No One is to Blame" you can listen to this while you may or may not read this.
It's tough ride, when people or companies own properties. It's a balance of who's willing to put up money, and who's not. Korean businesspersons step up to buy, it's their right to do whatever they want, unless the city tags some kind of Historical Landmark on it. Yes it is too bad that the Japanese businesses will get pushed out. If Little Tokyo becomes the next Korea town, that's the direction that the dollars are going. Even in the micro version, Sawtelle, you're seeing more and more Korean owned businesses than ever. Pinkberry, TofuVilla... etc. Where are the third generation Japanese American developers and business owners? Where are the Japanese developers and or business owners? There's not a lot, and not enough, so that's how it goes. I wish I had a better answer, but there's not enough folks stepping up to the plate to make a difference. Instead, I do see greedy Japanese American landlords, who end up driving out other Japanese Americans from their own areas. It's a free market, right?
I've heard blame placed upon the youth who bring new cultures in. I've heard blame placed on the younger Japanese Americans as well for not stepping up, like I mentioned above. Yet, you have to also take into account the greed of the older Japanese Americans as well, who don't think about who they choose to sell to, and at what ridiculous rent amounts they attempt to stick onto their tenants. It's a cycle, and the truth is, it's not pretty. But then again, it's their land to do what they want, but when things change not to their liking, they have to look at themselves as well - but they won't. Keep in mind a lot of the landlords had the experience of WWII when they got their land and possessions taken away, so shit, if they want to cash out... you can't blame them. I've talked about this same exact thing before, but I'll keep saying it until people get it - which they won't.
Here's the comments:
1) Yeah, Little Tokyo is pretty much like San Francisco's Japan Town now. Koreans bought the New Otani. The Japanese Village Plaza was sold around the same time to another non-Japanese owner. And then I heard 3-D investment, the same people that bought the SF J-Town mall, bought the Little Tokyo Mall (The one that has the parking garage above it.
2) "While non-Japanese landlords of Little Tokyo properties have become common, this sale of the large shopping mall on Alameda Street will lead to a cultural change: Korean businesses, including a grocery, spa and electronics store, will replace the current Japanese tenants, said Ryan Oh of Coldwell Banker, who brokered the deal for the new owners." - LA Business..Article
Too bad the Japanese tenants have to go.