Sakuramochi is sweet pink mochi, anko(red bean paste), wrapped in a pickled sakura (cherry blossom) leaf. Invented in 1717 AD, originally meant for those visiting their family graves, this sweet grew popular among the crowds of hanami-goers and is now eaten during the spring season.

Wagashi stores are an incredibly important cultural staple to Japanese American communities. Events like the changing of the seasons, holidays, tea ceremonies, weddings, birthdays, funerals etc., you will find specific sweets for these special gatherings.

Lack of generational interest or gentrification, or a combination of both, are forcing these under appreciated keepers of culture to close at a time when we need them the most.

I don’t mind driving to Sakura-ya in Gardena for various reasons.
First of all, it is delicious.
Second, I love their quality control reminder of having to eat everything the same day.
Third, the shop closest to me in Little Tokyo is owned by a bootlicker who drives a Maserati and runs the local LAPD substation.


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