QUINTESSENTIAL SCENE: It's a lovely fact of earth life that anywhere there is land to run on, some wind, and a kite, well... magic can happen. It doesn't take a whole lot of set-up to participate in the old and esteemed pursuit, a pursuit that's equal parts ancient art form and cherished recreational activity. And while those three elements are really all that is required for kite flying, we do have to admit that there is an optimal spot. Nope, it isn't a hilltop, as beautiful as that is, nor a backyard, as convenient as that is. We have to vote beach first, in the school of kite-flying-dom. Something about strings stretching over the waves, and the shinier kites catching the water's reflection, is definitely gasp-inducing (good gasps, of course). The Golden State has a number of excellent water-close kite spectaculars, and one of the largest? It's the Japan America Kite Festival, which is billed as "the largest kite festival in Southern California." It's set to fly again on Saturday, Oct. 20 near the Seal Beach Pier. Admission? Free.
PLAN ON SEEING... kite after kite twist and dive in the sky. Many will be traditional Japanese fliers but "international kites of all sizes and colors" are promised. And below? Martial arts demos, folk dancing, and a few kite battles to boot.
AND A RARE TREAT: Ramen burgers have been making headlines on both coasts in 2013, but finding one is a stickier wicket. Good news, though, for ramen lovers seeking out the buzzy treat: Chef Keizo Shimamoto will be at the festival with the tasty creation. He'll serve 500 burgers, but you'll want to arrive early, given that ramen burgers are inspiring plenty of long queues wherever they're served. Everything gets going at 11 a.m.