This past Saturday, my friend, Lizzy and I decided to take the metro from Anaheim all the way to Union Station in LA. It was my first time using some form of public transportation in SoCal, so I was really excited!
0830AM. My cousin took me to the ARTIC station in Anaheim, and it’s huge! It was a very spacious and pretty station in my opinion. The station at night actually lights up in multitudes of colors as well! A lot of natural lighting came in but there really isn’t much to see or do here if you’re waiting for your train, hahaha.
0930AM. Boarding time! It took us about an hour to get to Union Station so Lizzy and I just took this time to catch up and talk about our days so far this summer. It’s such a nice way to spend some down time with your friends. We spent a lot of time looking outside of the window for graffiti art and marveling at different stations we stopped by. I got to see parts of cities I’ve never seen before.
1030AM. Union Station, L.A. I have never seen Union Station so I was just awestruck. It was absolutely gorgeous. The waiting room was so beautifully decorated. I loved the high ceiling and the old Harry Potter feel it oozed out. Hahaha, anything Harry Potter-like just makes me instantly happier!
1040AM. Catching the next metro to get to Little Tokyo! We were ABSOLUTELY LOST as to where to go after we got off the metro at Union Station. We followed crowds and then ended up at the pick up area. We knew that we wanted to get to Little Tokyo but we didn’t know which metro line to take, so I went up to an officer and asked for directions.
We found the line we needed to take to Little Tokyo and actually made it on time for boarding. Quite a funny experience because we didn’t know how to use our boarding tickets since we are both novices. There was like a tap barcode thing to use when boarding a metro but we didn’t know how to do it! We just tapped our ticket everywhere and pressed random buttons. BUT in my defense, we somehow made it to the metro on time.
1055AM. Little Tokyo
Before we went into the Japanese Village, we actually went to the Japanese American National Museum! We came on such a great day because the exhibit showcase had free admission for just that weekend. There was a ‘no photography’ sign so I did not take any pictures or videos to show you, but it was definitely a very informative and moving exhibit. The museum was focused around Japanese Internment Camps and the struggles Japanese Americans faced during this time. I was very moved by the stories documented. The way this exhibit told stories was very interactive which I found really cool! There was a lot that we could touch and interact with rather than just listening and watching. I found that extremely neat and memorable.
I can go on and on about this exhibit but we still got a long day ahead of us! So onwards.
Another reason why coming on this particular Saturday was so great- there was a Japanese Cultural Festival! They had street food vendors outside, and there were taiko performances! It was so crowded (Contrary to my picture! Everyone was in the center.) therefore we didn’t really stand and watch because Little Tokyo is true to its name- little. We walked into various shops and looked at all of the different things they had to show. I love how petite this place is and the cultural environment! Look at how cute the Hello Kitty shop is and the huge Gudetama on top of rice.
1130AM. Lunch time.
We yelped the nearest place there because we couldn’t decide and honestly, yelp is literally my best friend whenever I embark on new territory. I trust the public. (Most of the time. Hahaha!) So we went to get ramen noodle at Daikokuya Little Tokyo. This place had 7,000+ reviews with a solid 4 stars rating! The wait wasn’t too bad since we were just a party of two. There were about 13 parties ahead of us but we got seated within 35 minutes. The only downside was how hot it was and the little waiting space we had.
Okay, so Lizzy overheats. We sat in front of the grill so it was HOT. She couldn’t really eat her ramen because she was literally sweating and dying. I ended up finishing my yakisoba before her and had to actually starting fanning her so that she could eat. (Hahaha, what a princess.) It was an experience for sure. The food tasted amazing by the way! I really liked my yakisoba with veggies! It was like an upgraded ramen. I also liked the ginger they added on the side! It was very tasty with the noodles.
0130PM. Mitsuwa Supermarket and then running off to the metro station.
After a very hot lunch, we went back into the plaza to get ourselves cooled off in the supermarket! We also got nice, cold drinks while we were there. I got this mango cream soda and I actually really liked it! It took me three days to finish the bottle because I don’t really like carbonated drinks, but hey, it was still good!
The amount of times we had to run to the metro station is crazy. We would doubt that we can make it on time so we take our sweet stroll but then as the metro gets closer, we’re like “WE CAN MAKE IT.” And then we end up booking it. Onto our next destination.
Chinatown is a huge part of my childhood! I remember going to Chinatown all the time whenever it came to LA. I remember all of the dim sum and roasted pig/duck that we’d order whenever we paid Chinatown a visit. It would be packed with people on the streets and throughout the plaza. It was a very familiar place to me, and when I came back on this day, oh how much has changed! There wasn’t a lot of people. Yes, we may have came a little later in the day but I didn’t expect it to be so sparse. It felt so foreign to me because of the contrasting memories I had.
Walking through the vendors and shops brought back so much memories. It made me so happy that I was able to come back and see that the place itself has not changed, but maybe the people around this area has. And, you know what, that’s okay!
0245PM. Eastern Projects Art Gallery in Chinatown.
When we hopped off the metro, I noticed that there was an art gallery, but I wasn’t sure if it was open to the public or not. So on our way back to the metro station, I made sure to take a quick look and see if we were allowed to enter freely! Thank goodness it was free AND had air conditioning. We spent a lot of time looking at various art pieces. Lizzy and I had a conversation about what it must be like to be a human model for artists. Hahaha. I mean, that’s real right? It can’t be made up for movies now is it?
Yes, we took pictures while we were at it too because we are basic. But don’t worry, we made sure to take everything in first before snapping away!
0330PM. Back to Union Station.
We were dead tired at this point. The sun has soaked up all of our energy and we were just exhausted from running after metros. Again, we ran up the stairs to catch the metro back to Union Station. We went through the whole “we can’t make it. Oh well,” to “WE CAN MAKE IT. RUN RUN RUN,” conversation again. Out of breath, yes. But we made it. At the Union Station we had about 35 minutes left until we had to catch the last Metrolink to Anaheim. So to hopefully pass time by, we walked around Union Station and explored the area. It was really pretty in my opinion and everything + more than I had imagined.
We also got to sit in those cool waiting chairs. Not as comfy as they look though, but I felt like I was waiting for the Hogwarts Express!
When we were looking at what Metrolink we had to take, we noticed that our Metrolink’s ID was 666. At this point we were thinking, “uhhhh, who allowed this?” Hahaha, it was a Snapchat moment. I thought it was terrifyingly funny.
After sitting and cooling down for a bit in the waiting room, we went up to board our metro. We gambled with the seating and hoped that we would choose the right way to face! (I overheard a couple discussing this, and they seemed like they were sure which direction the metro was headed.) The train ride back was another one filled with random talks and of course, Lizzy had to catch her Zzz’s.
Overall, I had such a great trip using the Metrolink for the very first time! I really like the idea of using public transportation because it does save a lot of gas. It’s not costly at all. Our weekend day pass was exactly $10! I was shocked with how inexpensive it was. We hopped on three metros that day and we could’ve used the buses too if desired. It was a fun way to explore new areas with my good friend. I’m glad she trusted me enough to follow me through LA!
And I mean getting to visit a free Japanese American National Museum + art exhibit + Japanese Cultural Festival. What a bonus for broke college students! I am just so glad everything worked out, and we actually saw more than we had anticipated for!
Needless to say, it was an adventure.
Keep traveling and stay curious,