Sawtelle and Giant Robot in The Japan Times - Sawtelle Japantown: A return to one’s roots?
The Japan Times did some coverage of the Sawtelle area and its changing times - and if you're paying attention, Sawtelle is plowing ahead into an unknown future. Where did all of the people my age go? I remember many who lived in the area but they're mostly gone.
I have to thank Manami Okazaki for telling one story of the area. I've read articles like this before, so I was reading through and enjoying everyone's mini stories, and then I got to some excerpts that were tough to read:
Nikkei locals who are struggling to preserve Sawtelle Japantown’s cultural identity look to one of the community’s better-known figures: Eric Nakamura, owner of pop culture store Giant Robot.
Indeed, Toshiyuki goes so far as to describe Nakamura as being the neighborhood’s “only hope.”
“I really look to Eric Nakamura to provide a vision of what Sawtelle Nikkei and today’s Japantown could be,” Fujimoto says. “His generation is going to have to combat the big buildings, the ‘mansionization’ (of the area) and so on. In my time, the only thing that really mattered was that the Japanese were able to live here in the ghetto.”
I definitely didn't ask for this. I hope I'm not the "only hope." Right? I'm also unsure if I have a vision. Do I? I'm hoping the "vision" isn't just mine.
Giant Robot's vision was always organic. From zine to magazine to shops to more... As we grew, the vision changed, and with that comes peaks and valleys and I rode those daily. So a vision? I might not have one personally, but I'd hope to be part of one with a larger group of concerned folks. Meanwhile, I still have to survive despite the changes within the area.