*(Following notes from wikipedia)* As in much of San Francisco, a period of criminality existed during the late 19th century; many tongs arose, trafficking in smuggling, gambling and prostitution. From the mid-1870s, turf battles sprang up over competing criminal enterprises. By the early 1880s, the term Tong war was being popularly used to describe these periods of violence in Chinatown. At their height in the 1880s and 1890s, twenty to thirty tongs ran highly profitable gambling houses, brothels, opium dens, and slave trade enterprises in Chinatown. Overcrowding, segregation, graft, and the lack of governmental control contributed to conditions that sustained the criminal tongs until the early 1920s.
This year’s Nisei Week parade was really special here in Los Angeles. Not only was there the usual dance groups from Japan and the local taiko groups but the featured float was a traditional from Japan, known as NEBUTA. Painstakingly crafted and painted by artisans from Aomori prefecture, this beautifully decorated float was lit from inside and really captivated us all ! (NOTE: Nisei Week is held annually in August here in LA.)
Japanese festivals captivate the energy of the local residents. Summer is the best time to see festival traditions and the colorful clothing such as HAPPI coats, HACHIMAKI head bands and beautiful kimono. You’ll also have a chance to taste so many unique snacks and see the culture in a different way that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.