Tag Archives: Japanese

Great Udon at the Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church

Great Udon at the Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church


My udon and mochi at Tacoma’s Buddhist Church during their Fall Bazaar were delicious and my husband said his miso soup really hit the spot. Our meal was served by the nicest volunteer waitstaff and our tea was topped off on a regular basis. Really the fall festival was a positive experience.

The Buddhist property at 1717 Fawcett Avenue, in Tacoma, is sometimes referred to as a temple and sometimes as a church. The building, which features a lovely red tile roof and stone lanterns flanking the main door, was originally constructed in 1930 for its current use.  It is listed on the city, state and national historic registers. One interesting note to the building’s history is that it was closed in May 1942 for the duration of World War II. Many of the members of the congregation were sent to Camp Harmony (now the site of the Puyallup Fair) and the leader of the church taught Sunday School at the camp. The camp was a detention center for Japanese Americans during the war.

Luckily that time is behind us.

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Daiso, Bellevue

16230445183_202898c7be_kI’ve been going to Crossroads Mall in Bellevue for years, decades even, but I hadn’t realized that they have a Daiso Store. My only defense is that it has an exterior entrance. It is like a dollar store with everything being the same price (a little more than a dollar). I sent about $20 and walked away with a bunch of fairly useful stuff. There is a nice mural on the exterior wall.

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Yashiro Japanese Garden, Olympia

image (5)The Yashiro Japanese Garden at 1010 Plum Street SE, Olympia is a small, well proportioned public garden. It is a a joint effort of the Olympia-Yashiro Sister City Association and the City of Olympia.There are a few art pieces and a waterfall and some colorful fall foliage. More information can be found here.


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The Panama Hotel Tea and Coffee House

The Panama Hotel Coffee and Tea House at 607 South Main Street in the International District of Seattle has a fine selection of teas and plenty of history. I learned of it because my book group read The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Though it is a work of fiction, it is based on historical facts about the treatment of the West Coast Japanese during World War II. The book opens with artifacts being found in the basement of the hotel and now a days one can view some of these artifacts through a plexiglass in the floor.


Tahoma Indian Center

The Tahoma Indian Center at 1556 Market Street, Tacoma, is part of Catholic Community Services and their website is at http://www.ccsww.org/site/PageServer?pagename=families_emergencyservices_tahomaindiancenter

Their website states “Located in downtown Tacoma, the Tahoma Indian Center has met the basic needs of low-income and homeless Urban Native Peoples for more than 20 years in a safe, warm, peaceful and drug- and alcohol-free environment. The purpose of the Center is to restore and sustain the dignity and culture of Urban Native Americans in Pierce County.”

This is great old building and it has an interesting history.I’m not sure, but I think it use to be connected to a building on the now vacant lot next door. So, in full disclosure I’m not sure of the history of the property, the lot next door or both. Tacoma Public Library says the Lorenz Bldg. / Sisson House was constructed in 1890. The Astor House opened c.1899 as the first major Japanese hotel in Tacoma. It was also known as the Hiroshimaya Hotel. As of 1946, the property was known as the Columbus Hotel / Yunan Ling Herbal Medicine / Tacoma Jujitsu School. The same year, a petition was denied for the hotel and the headlines read  “all colored hotel” closed for prostitution violations.

In 1947 it was Fukui’s Grocery Store (and was “surprised by the police!”).  And by 1996 it became the Intertribal Cultural Arts Center. When looking at the spectacular doorway, I noticed that the Lion King is hanging from a coconut over the doorway. I bet there is a story there!

It’s the Year of the Dragon

What luck! The family decided to get out of the house today and each of us picked a place to go. Dear daughter wanted to go to Uwajimaya in the International District of Seattle. When we got there we learned that it is the Chinese New Year and they were having special events, such as a dragon parade. While we were there was grabbed lunch in the food court and picked up some groceries (pocky, drinks, fortune cookies). Uwajimaya is a wonderful store, which is full of treasures. It actually started in Tacoma, but when the US entered WWII the family was sent to Tule Lake Internment Camp in California. After the war, they felt more welcome in Seattle and settled themselves and their new store there. It was a loss for Tacoma! It is the largest Japanese grocery store in the Pacific Northwest.



Lily Fountain in Lakewood


Ever since I read an article in the Tacoma Weekly about the Lily Fountain by Japanese American artist George Tsutakawa, I’ve wanted to take its photo! It is a lovely, mid sized fountain outside of Chase Bank at the corner of Gravelly Lake Road and 100th Street SW. The sculpture was constructed in 1964 and was originally installed at Pacific First Federal Savings & Loan at 1102-08 Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma. For the entire article go to:


Information about George Tsutakawa can be found here http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=5426

Pagoda at Point Defiance Park

I love driving around Point Defiance Park. It soothes my soul. Today I stopped at the Pagoda at 5801 Trolley Lane and took a couple of rainy photos. It was sensibly locked, but looking through the windows worked pretty well. One window shot makes it look like Mother Nature is taking over the building!

Per the Metro Parks Tacoma website “the Pagoda was built in 1914 as a replica of a 17th century Japanese Lodge. It was originally a waiting room for streetcars. Now this magnificent structure functions as a rental facility for weddings and other private parties as well as a venue for garden shows, lectures and concerts.”



Update 4/15/2011  the pagoda was badly damaged by a suspicious fire.


Update 12/5/12 A community grand re-opening celebration is scheduled for January 12, 2013.