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Wishes from Little Tokyo [Slide show]

After disasters and in difficult economic times, people are vulnerable. So it's no wonder that, given the opportunity, they're happy to make wishes -- for good health, happiness, enough money to make a living.

An op-ed on Sunday's page features wishes that visitors to downtown L.A.'s Little Tokyo tied to bamboo branches in the Japanese Village Plaza. Naoko Ikeda, owner of Blooming Arts, began the project in the quad outside her shop in July so Angelenos could offer good wishes for Japan, and of course, for their own happiness.

The tradition comes from the Tanabata Festival in Japan; The famous festival is held in an area severely damaged by the March earthquake and tsunami. The wishes in the plaza will be ceremonially set on fire during the 3rd Annual Tanabata Festival in Little Tokyo, which runs from Friday through Monday (Aug. 12-15).

Sounds from the Japanese Village Plaza and photos of visitor wishes are above.

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--Samantha Schaefer

Photos: Wishes tied to bamboo branches in Little Tokyo's Japanese Village Plaza in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Samantha Schaefer and Julia Gabrick/Los Angeles Times

 

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