The Nerdiest Holiday Display in Los Angeles
This is the fourth year Echizen has brought his son's action figures to Curry House for the holidays, but the first time he has attempted a display of this scale.
Echizen first approached his wife in June about the idea of making a dizzying number of miniature Santa caps for the figures' heads. "My wife said, 'I can't make so many!'" he recalls. But soon, she was wooed by Echizen's contagious enthusiasm. The couple sewed a few hats at a time over a four-month period, sizing each one to fit each figurine's head.
Shoppers who visit the plaza at Olympic and Sawtelle linger by the display window in awe. Echizen says collectors have approached him about buying some of the rarer figurines, which could fetch up to $100 apiece. But Echizen is not interested in selling them. "These are for kids to enjoy," he says, eyes crinkling.
For every holiday, Echizen is Curry House's unofficial décor supervisor. Outsize hearts and pink crepe paper adorn the ceiling for Valentine's Day; glittery orange pumpkins, bats and adorable, fuzzy spiders festoon the counters for Halloween. But Christmas is when his talents really shine. Plump, stuffed Santa dolls tightrope-walk on chains of holiday cards strung across the ceiling. Plush penguins nestle together on patches of fake snow. Brightly-lit Christmas trees glow in every nook.
The kicker? Echizen doesn't even celebrate the holiday. "I have no religion," he says with a giggle, as if confessing a secret. He just enjoys decorating and making children smile. He's fond of seasonal music, too; he likes to play Christmas tunes on the flute, he says.
Christmas hasn't even come yet, but Echizen is already thinking ahead. "For next year, I have more ideas," he confides with a grin.