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japan town los angeles, ca

Living in the center of Los Angeles, I walk and ride my bike around my neighborhood, rarely drive, and hardly ever make it downtown. Saturday, I decided to explore downtown LA. I started at by USC at the California Science Center and watched the new Hubble 3D IMAX. It was incredible to see images Hubble captured, and I recommend everyone to go see this film. It’s only 45 minutes long.

Next, I visited a new (to me) Japan Town mall in downtown LA where I stumbled upon a really cool bookstore and an Asian grocery store. I stocked up on my sea vegetables: Arame, Hijiki, Nori, and picked up a bottle of Yuzu (orange paste with green hot pepper). Sea veggies cost much less at the Asian market than at a natural food store. I even ran into an old friend who lives in Santa Monica who happened to be shopping downtown too.

The photo above was shot at dusk, so the sky is an amazing blue color. I’m learning that dawn and dusk are the money shots for architecture.

Los Angeles at night

I was with Benny, an amazing photographer who’s photos are found on many of the architecture magazine covers out there. Benny Chan’s aerial photo series are printed huge, maybe 10 ft tall, if I had to guess. Standing in front of the images makes me loose my stomach as if I was really flying up in the helicopter with him. Read about Benny’s show in the LA Times.

Benny’s been inspiring me to shoot dusk and nighttime city shots, especially from the top floor of high rises. You can even find the crescent moon in the photo above. It was a beautiful city scape on a warm LA evening.

On the way home, I stopped off to visit my friend Kato Space who was hosting an old school house party in Hollywood with special guest DJ Garth, from the Wicked Crew in San Francisco. I love dancing. Besides the prior evening at Pink Floyd, I hadn’t been out dancing for months.

Dancing directly raises my level of happiness and well being. It’s a spiritual practice for me to let go and to feel the flow. It was so much fun, but way past my bedtime.

Which One's Pink?

We celebrated Phillip’s bday last night at the Canyon Club in the Valley, where we got to see Which One’s Pink?, a Pink Floyd cover band. The band was great and they played to a packed, full club.

I have to admit, seeing a Pink Floyd cover band in the Valley isn’t something I’d necessarily choose to do myself. But, I do love to experience the widest gamut of different environments, people. styles, and music. So, I kept an open mind, and told myself to experience the night in a new, fresh way.

I was surprised to find that I recognized almost all the songs, and it was a fabulous night of good music and good friends. And most importantly, Phillip had a lot of fun for his birthday.

We had to get photos with the band members as memorabilia for Phillip’s bday party. This was the man all the girls liked….the hot lead guitar and vocalist.

We nicknamed this man ‘The Laughing Man’ because he was the vocalist who would stand onstage and laugh like a crazy man in several of the songs. It did begin to sound eerie after a bit. Girls found The Laughing Man hot enough to pull out their breasts to have him autograph them with a Sharpie. I’m not joking.

Pushing myself outside my comfort zone (I had never partied in the Valley before, and haven’t been to a club of this type since High School) and approaching the night with wide eyes and no judgments (new crowd, new environment, new music) ensured I would have a terrific night full of wonderful memories to add to my ‘Memory Bank’.

I had a great time, and discovered a great new club where some of my favorite bands from high school still perform. Like the English Beat, who’ll be playing next month! I also made several wonderful new friends, and got to dance my butt off. A great night had by all!

kevin boyland, ani, and joe connelly

kevin boylan, ani, and joe connelly

The Veggie Grill is taking SoCal by storm with their delicious vegan foods. I love the fact they use soy-free cheese made from cassava root. (I’m in fact Asian, but allergic to soy products). And, they have a great marinated raw kale salad that’s yummmms.

Joseph Connelly, publisher of the best vegan lifestyle magazine VegNews, was in town on his way to Expo West in Anaheim tomorrow. So, we met up with Veggie Grill owner Kevin Boylan for dinner in West Hollywood. It was so good! I gave Joe an early copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials to check out.

We also met 3 fitness buffs. They were ripped with huge muscles on a vegan, plant based diet. All train in Jujitsu, and looked like they could be body builders. I asked the lady in the group about her protein intake, and she said she doesn’t worry about it. To build muscle, she told me to pump heavy iron at high reps of 20, 4 sets. I’m going to try that later today at the gym.

I’m all about building up my muscle mass lately. I feel that as I’m growing older, my metabolism is naturally slowing down. One way to boost it up is by building more muscle mass. I’ve noticed after years of detoxing and fasting that my body cannibalized my muscle. So now it’s time to rebuild more.

I’m amazed, but at the same time feel like it’s about time, that we can shoot photos on our cell phones. Now, to be able to keep my Pandora playing in the canyons with no reception is another story. Here’s some photos I took on our hike today.

trail and ocean view

trail and ocean view

It’s been so clear the past week, you could see the tall buildings of downtown LA in the distance.

downtown LA

downtown LA

When Kanga’s passed out on the floor, it means we’ve had a good workout session. The better Kanga looks, the more muscles she has, the stronger she is, it’s a reflection of my health. That’s because the dog runs me everyday.

a worn out Kanga

a worn out Kanga

monkeys

3 monkeys in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

I just finished reading my Hanuman book. My Chinese astrological sign is the year of the monkey, and I love monkeys of all sorts. In Ubud, Bali, I visited the Monkey Forest, where I met these 3 cuties eating fresh fruits and all raw foods: leaves and fruits.

hanuman

Hanuman at the Hindu Temple in Singapore

Hanuman, the white monkey, is sometimes represented in blue, as at this Hindu temple in Singapore.

The film Avatar, which I loved, made me ponder if the beings on Pandora were related to Hanuman. The blue monkeys were connected to all of nature, had respect for all life forms, and listened to their ancestors. For me, Pandora was a beautiful representation of Eastern culture evolved from Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Hanuman embodies virtue, bravery, wisdom, knowledge, mercy, power, humility, and all that’s good including good health, modesty, altruistic deeds, and overall positive energy. A reminder that one way to feel happier is by eating more raw food, thinking positive thoughts, continuing to grow and acquire knowledge, practicing humility, and making time to give back to our communities and to help others.

airfood

Raw Airline Food

It can sometimes be a struggle to find a vegan option on an American airline. I was surprised that my flights in SE Asia on both Singapore and Silk Air both offered numerous vegan options, from Asian vegan to American vegan, and also offered a RAW FOOD option!

Cabin air pressure in flight is lower than air pressure at sea level, which means we have less oxygen being carried in our blood. Cabin pressure makes our digestion more challenging due to a 30% increase in gases trapped in our body. And, flying is dehydrating. I try to drink a liter of water for every hour of flight time.

I say a raw food platter should be served to everyone on every flight. It’s full of water, oxygen, and easy on the digestion. This isn’t rocket science, but simply common sense. Hopefully, this vegan and raw meal also helps offset my carbon emissions a little bit….

resort owner Mom Tri and I

resort owner Mom Tri and I

Mom Tri, owner of the resort, totally gets it. His spa uses edible coconut oil, he has an organic farm in Chang Mai with a cooking school, and looks super fit and healthy.

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

This is one of 3 pools at Mom Tri’s, and salt water too.

lotus pond

lotus pond

Each morning I’d find a newly bloomed lotus flower. They’re beautiful!

deck for dining

one of many decks for dining and drinking

This is just one of several decks overlooking the ocean for dining and drinking. What a view!

the beach

the beach

This is the beach at Mom Tri’s….turquoise water and white sands. I did get a minor jelly fish sting. I was with a doctor, luckily, who kept me calm, and though it left welts on my arm, it was really not a big deal. I tried to swim a mile a day in the ocean. It was bath water warm and such a treat.

Dr Richard DeAndrea and me soaking up sun

Dr Richard DeAndrea and I soaking up sunshine

It was super special to get to meet up with 2 longtime friends from SF in Phuket, Thailand.

Dr D (which in Thai means ‘the good doctor’) runs the 21 Day Detox program, and he and his partner John Wood taught me all about detoxing almost 10 years ago. Dr D is currently living in Bangkok developing his clinic with cutting edge healing therapies.

Dmy friend anthony in thailand

Anthony and I in Thailand at Mom Tri's

Anthony Hall and I go way back to SF days of raves and web 1.0. He’s an amazing photographer, and artist in general. We’re both back in LA now…and combating jet lag! Anthony’s British…perhaps that explains his stern expression. But, I did manage get him to smile…..

anthony

Anthony gives us a smile

Smiles and friends are two important pieces for fueling happiness. The sunshine and warm water and tropical environment helps too!

thailand from airplane

view of Phuket from the airplane

One way I like to entertain myself is with my camera, especially during long international flights.

sunrise

a sunrise on the plane ride back to LA from Asia

The sunrise during my very long flight back to the USA from Tokyo was beautiful. Most people were sleeping and missed this amazing view.

I don’t sleep well on planes, and you’ll usually find me doing wall push-ups and stretching in the open area by the staff. Maybe that’s why one flight attendant remembered me from my flight to Asia 6 weeks prior.

carol and ani in seminyak

carol and I watching the sun go down in Seminyak, west coast of Bali

Carol came to visit me in Bali all the way from Los Angeles, and we met our friend Deborah on the west coast in Seminyak for sunset cocktails.

Ani and Deborah

Me and Deborah

Deborah, originally from LA, now lives in Bali in a gorgeous home overlooking rice fields. Lucky lady!

sunset

the sun's setting

The sun is setting  off the west coast. I was staying mostly on the east coast in Sanur, and this was the 2nd sunset I got to watch on the island.

ani's sunset

ani's sunset

A final shot as the sky turned a brilliant fire orange red. I love the fact that it stays warm always, even after the sun goes down. Sometimes, it can be a bit too warm, if there’s such a thing.

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