Whoa, West Coast bizarro world in Japon.


Hola Folkalinos. I was in Japan for about 3 weeks this past May and it was an amazing experience. I’m finally back on West Coast Timers.

The above photo was taken in Roppongi its kinda like Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución, with clubs for days. I saw the above sign on a taco VAN run by a Middle Eastern guy. I have no idea what the sign says in Japanese but the visual is crazy right? I peeped the tacos he was serving and um… they were more like pitas posing as tacos!

As much as they believe they love tacos they also love “Taco Rice”? Its everywhere.  They have never had the real deal so they have no idea what they are missing. Latinos, Japon needs you.


My friends and I also went to a club in Roppongi because we were stuck there until 5am ( the trains stop running after midnight-ish and start running at 5am) and we knew it wasn’t our scene but thought hey, let’s experience it right? So in the club, I see from afar a group of what I thought were latinos and from L.A. no less(it was dark and I was a bit faded). One of the dudes had an L.A. cap with that L.A. swagger stance but as I got closer I see he’s Japanese! I was like, “Um, I’m from L.A. can I take your photo?” This guy’s English was limited but he sure did know how to toss up L.A. for the photo without being prepped.


This couple were a part of his crew. This was the only time this dude smiled. Please notice La Virgen de Guadalupe on his shirt. Early that night he had a white t-shirt over that with the traditional L.A. logo on the back and Aztec drawings within the letters. His girl was dressed like I used to when I was in junior high but with a shorter waterfall or pompadour.


I was told their crew were known as “Southside Loco Town” and they repped to the fullest South East Los Angeles Latino culture. How crazy is that?!



I’ve heard from many before my trip on how the Japanese have the emulating a culture/lifestyle game on lock. They are committed to the fullest. As seen below. That’s at Disney Sea of all places. We noticed this dude looking like a Japanese Eazy – E. Please take note of the Nike Cortez he’s sporting or as I call them “gangsta leans”. We also noticed his hair. Was he sporting a curl? We had to investigate, especially since my relative does hair. We went up to him and asked to touch it. He said sure and to our surprise it was crispy as hell!


Okay that’s my story.
Man, its still super hot.

25 thoughts on “Whoa, West Coast bizarro world in Japon.

  1. Ritzy, thanks for the sharing these awesome photos! I’ve always been amazed how the Japanese have been able to recreate and adopt various youth subcultures from around the world, including cholos and the like. But Southeast Los Angeles? Wow…I couldn’t be more shocked!

  2. Cool post! thanks for sharing your experience in Japan. Yes I always tripped out on how Japan takes so many styles from out here and incorprates them into their culture, especially the Cholo/lowrider style,But they also innovate so many of their own creative styles as well.

  3. Occasionally whole shows of low riders get strapped to the decks of container ships here in Pedro for either sale or show to collectors in Japan. Mr. Cartoon and a lot of other LA tattooists who do excellent traditional text/gang/LA style work fly over to do full backpieces of Eastside/LA Latino culture on barely out of high school hipsters over there.

    When the Japanese hop out of their monoculture, they go whole hog, that’s for sure.

  4. I posted a comment earlier but apparently it didn’t go through. Gah.

    I was amazed to read “Southeast.” Southeast L.A., really? If they ever come to L.A. I’ll show them the Southeast. I was kind of hoping for a Chalino shirt somewhere, but it’s all good. jejejeje

    I’m happy.

  5. That’s how culture works, folks.

    Meanwhile, in the depths of sprawling, suburban OC, white American teenagers are downloading J-Pop theme songs to their favorite anime flicks into their iPods. AND THEY KNOW ALL THE WORDS.

  6. That Bob’s fish store (fish pets, not fish food) up on Atlantic (just south of the Pomona freeway) has a manga/anime store in it.

  7. Word on the Japanese cholos. I know Danny De La Paz and he used to always travel over for low rider shows and such.

    In the late 80’s a lot of my friends who had Volkswagon bugs sold them to Japanese men who offered great money for them.

    My DJ friends tell me about how House music is huge over there with clubs adopting the mixing styles of David Mancuso and Little Louie Vega, if not just taking our US DJs over to play. This is also happening in Korea. Doc Martin recently played at party near the DMZ.

    Asia knows us and apparently likes us. When their markets and money take over in the next 5-10 years they will be ready for anything.

  8. Great Post! Thanks Ritzy! Really enjoyed it.
    I’m just glad those Japanese are not adopting the “Chuppie” style.
    We’d have another “Day of Infamy” on our hands……..

  9. Freaking awesome !!!!!! I’ve seen some of those tattoo pictures from Mr. Cartoon and them and they’re insane. I for one think it’s freaking awesome that cultures transcend across continents. I myself am a HUGE japanese fan of comics,anime, culture and everything in general. I love the pictures you took Ritzy ^_^ One of my life long dreams is to visit the land of the rising sun and come back with 50 gigabytes of pictures. Maybe we can arrange a foreign exchange program in which one of the guys you talk to over there switches places with me. It could even be a t.v. show on mtv tres.

  10. “I see from afar a group of what I thought were Latinos and from L.A. no less(it was dark and I was a bit faded).”

    I like you stories and pictures, but I take exception with you saying people look Latino. I am Latino and I have blond hair and blue eyes. If you mean Mexican-American then say so. Most Latin-Americans have no idea what a taco looks or taste like.

    There is a community of ethic Japanese from Peru and Brazil in Japan. They do the work the native Japanese do not want to do. Did you happen to run into any of them?


  11. @MV – WOW. Finally. Their menu (http://www.courthousesushi.com/Main_Menu.html) is pretty traditional, which is good. I mean, it’s not dominated by too many novelties, which is good because it means they have to get good fish.

    All the way up in San Fernando too. (Then again, next-door Pacoima has an old Japanese community. They even have a community center there: http://www.sfvjacc.net/ )

    But that place isn’t the only Japanese restaurant in a Mexican-American community. There’s Otomisan, the last one in Boyle Heights. Follow this link to a great review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/otomisan-restaurant-los-angeles

  12. str8 off tha streetz of mothaphukkin tokyo! ez’s doppelganger is kinda amazing.

    aaaalso, carne asada is not a crime…even on pita bread. salva las trocas!

  13. dona junta-
    yes they do. i saw soo many examples in the shibuya area. soo rad.

    oh yeah for sure, they have the money and go all out to be super authentic. they are soo rad in that way.

    yes the house scene is huge out there. almost every hot spot i was pointed out to was a house joint.

    el random hero-
    gracias, you mos def have to make it out there. you’d go crazy! i could not go anywhere without my camera so many moments to capture. I also took photos with my holga, which i haven’t developed yet.

    la kid-
    i didn’t say mexican-american because that’s not what i meant, either way i felt it would be a huge generalization. You are correct latinos come in all shades and latinos in los angeles are not all mexican so you can never assume, right?

    and on the brazilian tip, i was introduced to my relative’s group of friends that are half japanese and brazilian where only one in the crew knew conversational english. knowing that brazil has the largest population of japanese outside of japan i was still more fascinated by the large number of brazilians i saw in japan.

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  15. WTF! that taco stuff with pita bread and tacorice is a disgrace the the chicano culture and a greedy exploitation by the middle easterners running them. Some REAL CHICANOs need to go over there and get some trucks going! show them the REAL authentic good Mexican Food!

  16. in the first picture – which is awesome!! – there are three words from left to right, read top to bottom. it’s sloppy so either i’m not reading it correctly or it’s just jibberish.
    “takiru” – doesn’t mean anything
    “majide” – really / for reals
    “arienai” – no ants

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