Welcome to Fred’s Guide to LA. As one of the original curators of cool in LA, our team has put our heads together to share a monthly roundup of our latest discoveries around the city.
To kick off our new series dedicated to sharing hometown faves, we're beginning by honoring AAPI Heritage Month and have spotlighted five Asian-founded businesses around LA. Read more below — and always make time to support your local businesses.
The Little Tokyo Flea Market was founded in 2021 by fashion entrepreneur Tatsu, the Little Tokyo Flea Market houses local vendors at the Terasaki Budokan community center in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. They strive to create a special and unique environment filled with good energy throughout Little Tokyo.
Tatsu, originally from Japan, had been working in the fashion industry for over a decade. He always wanted to do what I love, and combined his two top passions— fashion and entertainment to create his market.
He loves to see people having fun at his event, and feels grateful to run it in the melting pit of LA that has a little bit of everything. He is proud of his Japanese culture, and talks about“Omoiyari” which means to have sympathy and compassion towards another person. It teaches people to have a thoughtful mentality during good or bad times.
Saucy Chick Rotisserie was founded by husband and wife duo Rhea and Marcel, Saucy Chick Rotisserie was started with several converging themes: to find a meal suitable for those with differing palettes with healthy ingredients , all while reconnecting with the neighborhood in the digital age their business was founded in.
There were several themes converging when they were creating their restaurant: the desire to get a healthy-ish meal on the table suitable for people with different palates, a need for real ingredients, the vision of reconnecting with the neighborhood in a digital world and last but not least, rooted in representation and LA.
They love being able to connect with so many Angelenos. The city has a wealth of diversity, stories and food scenes. The diversity in the South Asian diaspora - from region to region has many nuances in culture, language, food and customs. We will be supporting and amplifying other AAPI owned businesses.
The Japanese American National Museum was founded in collaboration with the Japanese American veterans group led by Young Oak Kim and Buddy Mamiya, and founding president Bruce Kaji, the Japanese American National Museum was designed as a part of a development project for a Japanese American history museum in Little Tokyo. The vision was to not only preserve the history of what happened to Japanese Americans, but to also preserve the stories, the artifacts and the experiences.
JANM creates groundbreaking historical and arts exhibitions, educational public programs, award-winning documentaries, and innovative curriculum that illuminate the stories and the rich cultural heritage of people of Japanese ancestry in the United States. JANM also speaks out when diversity, individual dignity and social justice are undermined. Its underlying purpose is to transform lives, create a more just America and, ultimately, a better world.
Cyan Ceramics was founded as a way to connect back to the body and nature, Catherine, founder of Cyan Ceramics, has now built her business of small batch handmade ceramics from the ground up. While living in NYC, she felt like she needed something to ground mhere from the grinding lifestyle she had. Through small batch, handmade ceramics, she found beauty in the slow and imperfect.
She tries to carry that same thoughtful, minimalist approach to each piece created. Chinese culture is at the center of her work, as she embraces and celebrates her culture and heritage all year round. She always amplifies Asian voices, drawing inspiration to educate herself on her history and going deeper into her own identity. She believes that community is at the crux of her culture; of who they are and what they do.
The Nonaka-Hill Gallery was founded by Taka, a former art director at a Japanese fashion company, and his partner Rodney, co-owner of the Marc Foxx art gallery in LA. The two set out to create an art gallery in Los Angeles focused on post-war and contemporary art from Japan, to bring more of Japan’s diverse culture to America.
Rodney's great-grandparents lived in Japan during the Meiji Era, around 1900, and he spent his childhood with objects they brought back from Japan. They decided that their lives should be shaped by what they really want to express, so they created a gallery to focus on Japan.