About a year ago, I started to get involved with the Japanese American Community. It started with a Japanese School I found on the Internet in Pasadena. Shortly after I joined there, my aunt found a website about the Rising Stars, a JA Youth Leadership Group, there we went to the Japanese American National Museum where I was inspired to docent. I could go on and on with a list but the point is, I found out about a world from my own, which is connected in every way. I began to see the same people everywhere I went and with that I felt what it is to be a part of a community, to help nurture it as well as learn and grow from it.
As a Japanese American, during some point in our lives we have been through Little Tokyo and to some it has been a recognizable second home. Yet most don’t stop to realize the problems that the community there is facing, that Little Tokyo's former glory is fading from what it once was. They don’t realize that if something isn’t done soon, there won’t be much of the place where our history as Japanese Americans is sheltered. I'm afraid that if people don't help the Little Tokyo community; one day we will say to the generation after mine, "See look here, even though these big companies are here now, once long ago this was where the nissei came to when they came to America. This was once a part of our heritage, before companies and others came in to buy out the property..."
I have been honored to meet most of the people who dedicate their free time to keeping the community alive; who care to preserve the community for the generations that come after them. Through all of this I have realized that it isn’t hard to start to be involved with the community, because if you are involved with one thing, in time you will be connected to the rest. I have also learned two things when you are volunteering your free labor; one: both parties get something out of it; and two: the people are going to be friendly because you both choose to be there. (in most cases I hope). With some effort together we can keep and maybe even improve the Little Tokyo community.