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Holiday Shopping in Little Tokyo West

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LAist realizes that it is entirely possible, and even mildly enjoyable, to do all of your holiday shopping on-line without bothering to leave the house or change out of your pajamas. You could also head to the local mall, buying gifts from the Gap and Banana Republic.

But you don’t have to resign yourself to buying gifts from faceless corporations. You don’t have to give a gift that’s been seen on TV. No one needs another damn sweater from Old Navy. You live in LA—a shopper’s Mecca, a spender’s paradise! Why not act like it? Get out of the house, drive right past the mall, and hit a local neighborhood to do your holiday shopping, supporting small businesses and giving cool, unique gifts.

LAist suggests you visit "Little Tokyo West" for one of the best local shopping experiences. Head over to Sawtelle Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard, where you’ll find an array of cool shops with Japanese flair.

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Find the perfect gift for the kid who has everything, or the kid inside your favorite grown-up, at Giant Robot. The store is owned by Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, co-founders of Giant Robot magazine, a celebration of Japanese pop culture. The store carries anime and zines, Gama-Go clothes and accessories, Uglydolls (which really must be seen and not explained), and so much more. Every visit unearths new and increasingly interesting toys, books, and clothes. A second store, GR2, is located just down the street on the opposite side and has awesome art, t-shirts, and assorted kitsch. You’ll be hard-pressed not to buy something for yourself.

If you're looking for something a bit more classic, visit Satsuma Imports for beautiful Japanese tea sets and sake sets. Walk past the back room and over the little bridge into the annex where you'll find delicate dishes and cups. The store also carries wooden sandals, kimonos, and cosmetics. Don't leave without having your gifts wrapped in the handsomest paper in town.

For the green thumb on your list, try Hashimoto Nursery, a family-owned business that once specialized in selling fuchsias, carrying 150 types. Or if you aren't quite sure what to buy, drop by Yamaguchi Gifts, a sort of Japanese general store. The store is owned by two brothers and carries earthenware, Japanese greeting cards, and various games and videos.

Once you're done shopping, don't leave until you've sampled the area restaurants. Sit down for shabu shabu at Mizu 212 or try some Westernized, but incredibly delicious, Japanese comfort food at Sawtelle Kitchen. You'll leave full and happy, with the satisfying knowledge that you are the hippest and most LA Santa in your circle.

Giant Robot Store
2015 Sawtelle Blvd

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2062 Sawtelle Blvd

Hashimoto Nursery
1935 Sawtelle Boulevard
(310) 473-6232

Yamaguchi Gifts
2057 Sawtelle Boulevard
(310) 479-9531

Sawtelle Kitchen
2024 Sawtelle Boulevard
(310) 445-9288

Mizu 212
2000 Sawtelle Boulevard
(310) 478-8979