Welcome to the Little Tokyo Blog

We've set up this space where members of the Little Tokyo community could share information, thoughts, ideas, and opinions about the Little Tokyo neighborhood, it's people, politics, culture/history, businesses, and events.


Sea Stars...

This may seem somewhat random but i took a picture of it on my phone and i just had to write a blog on it. But according to the title, yeah, our community's future sometimes shines through even the smallest things......

I walked into Weller today and for the first time, this fountain was running! This thing was beginning to become almost an eyesore at one point, the water inside was all grungy and then all of a sudden the water was flowing today!

There was a story I once heard by this motivational speaker. He said, "there was a beach, and on this beach there were 1000's and 1000's of sea stars. There was also a girl who was picking up the sea stars and throwing them back into the ocean. When a man walked by and told her there were so many sea stars along the beach and that she wouldn't make a difference, she looked him in the face, threw a sea star into the ocean and said, 'i just made a difference.'" So although that may have been the lamest and corniest story you've ever heard, it illuminates my point that even the small things make a difference and those small things bring hope.


API Marriage Equality in Little Tokyo!

Last Thursday morning on my way to work, I was driving down First Street in Little Tokyo and I saw a bunch of people in red shirts with signs saying, "Honk for Equality!" I then remembered that that morning, there had been a press conference organized by API Equality-LA (Asian Pacific Islanders for Marriage Equality) at the Japanese American National Museum to help defeat Proposition 8 on November 4th.

So I found myself honking all the way down First Street with a big smile on my face.

Asian & Pacific Islander community leaders coming together to defeat Proposition 8: Warren Furutani, John Chiang, Judy Chu, Dennis Arguelles, Hamid Khan, George Takei, John Cho, and others.

And afterwards, the march through Little Tokyo...

Thanks to Veronica Garcia Macias for the great photos. Don't forget to vote Tuesday, November 4th!


Artcore’s 20th Annual Awards Benefit / Live Auction

October 25th, 2008
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Downtown Omni Hotel (next to MOCA)

L.A. Artcore will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this Saturday. You can preview some of their auction items here.

The gallery is located in the Union Center for the Arts - the venue that also hosts Tuesday Nights at the Cafe.

This year Artcore will honor two nominees: Kenneth A. Colorado, an international artist who has made a significant contribution to addressing global warming, and Martha A. Canales, a pioneering spirit, educator, promoter, and collector of contemporary Latino Art.

Tickets for the Annual Awards Benefit are available from L.A. Artcore. For further details please contact the gallery at: 213-617-3274.


Nov 1: Little Tokyo Community Forum

If folks remember, after the sale of Weller Court and the New Otani Hotel, the LTCC put together a community forum for the purpose of addressing the concerns by the community on the sale. In addition, to updating on the situation, the forum also divided participants into small groups in order to talk out concerns. This discussion portion was monumental in that it also helped to create goals for the Little Tokyo Community Council to pursue in 2007-2008.

Now, a year after that sale, Little Tokyo is once again hosting a community forum but this time with a greater focus on "tomorrow's Little Tokyo." We invite people who want to learn about current developments in Little Tokyo (that will be the presentation portion) as well as all other stakeholders to help plan for the community's future.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE. Well actually, just be there...


Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) Announces:
"Tomorrow's Little Tokyo"
The 2008 Little Tokyo Community Forum

Saturday November 1, 2008
JACCC Garden Room
244 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles CA, 90012
*Lunch will be provided
*Translation for Japanese Speaking participants will be provided

Please join us to get updated on current events happening in community as well as plan and provide input to build tomorrow's Little Tokyo. Presentations include:
- A changing Little Tokyo: New Developments (Presentation by Bill Watanabe)
- Little Tokyo Community Council Update (Presentation by Chris Aihara)
- Working with City Government for Community Preservation (Presentation by Alan Kumamoto)

*Discussion to Follow on Various Topics

FOR FOOD --> RVSP. email Craig Ishii at: psw@jacl.org, or call 213-626-4471.

Little Tokyo's Aoyama Tree

The Aoyama Tree located on the edge of the Japanese American National Museum courtyard was declared a City Cultural Historic Monument in May of this year.

The dedication ceremony and a bit of Little Tokyo history will be featured on Huell Howser's "California Gold" on Monday, October 20th at 7:30 P.M. and on Thursday, November 20th at 7:30 P.M. on KCET, channel 28.

Please see the tree's history and dedication ceremony in Nikkei Album, created by Fiona Potter.

Update on Go For Broke Education Center

[posted on www.downtownnews.com 10/13/08]

Little Tokyo WWII Project Gets $4 Million

News Brief

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - The Go for Broke National Education Center, a nonprofit organization that aims to educate the public on the World War II experience of Japanese American veterans, has received $4 million from the federal government to help build a new facility in Little Tokyo. Currently headquartered in Torrance, the organization signed a long-term lease with the city of Los Angeles in 2006 for property adjacent to the Go for Broke memorial in Little Tokyo, where they hope to break ground on a new educational venue in 2010. U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard and Adam Schiff and Sen. Daniel Akaka requested the funding as part of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act, which was signed into law on Sept. 30. The facility would feature an exhibit built around videotaped oral histories from men and women of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and other units that operated overseas during World War II, said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, president and CEO of the National Education Center. The organization has now raised more than $5 million of the $15 million it needs to build the center, Sato-Yamazaki said. "Go for Broke National Education Center is thrilled to receive this funding," Sato-Yamazaki said. "It takes us closer to our vision to build an education center where we can offer teacher training and educational programming that will keep the legacy of the Japanese American World War II veterans alive."


Kids Helping Kids in J-town

Last week, 2-5 year old preschoolers and Kindergarteners in Little Tokyo participated in a Trike-A-Thon to help sick children at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.


Rockers and Race cars

Some random snapshots of recent happenings in Little Tokyo...

A crowd of young people, mostly teenaged girls, gather outside of the anime collectors shop, Anime Jungle (325 E. 1st St.) on a Wednesday night. They came to Little Tokyo to meet Japanese rockstar Sugizo who stopped by LA in the middle of a North America tour. Some fans waited as long as two hours to get an autographed CD.

Imprint Culture Lab returned to the Japanese American National Museum. The event is put together by interTrend Communications; its mission is to introduce what's cool with Asian culture to the business world. This year's line up included video gaming, car culture, street fashion brands and the business of crafting.


The Little Tokyo "Vibe"

Forbes and the Associated Press featured Little Tokyo in a story over the weekend:

The last time Little Tokyo tried getting back to its Japanese roots, it was in the early 1980s with the Japanese Village Plaza, a warren of sweets shops, tea stands and trinket stores under sloping glazed-tile roofs.

Now, on the eve of the area's most ambitious development project in decades, the historically Japanese enclave has something different in mind: trendy boutiques and stylish apartments enclosed in sleek mid-rise towers.

The article talks about the Nikkei Center in the context of the recent real estate developments and how these changes are impacting the community, and how Little Tokyo is gettin' its groove back.

But hipness fades, and the next year or so is going to be critical to crafting a vision of the community that'll endure and capture and reflect the spirit of Little Tokyo.

The fact that our small neighborhood is garnering so much attention I think is testament to some of the amazing and dramatic shifts taking place here, and how a community tries to pull together to address some of the challenges to identity, culture and history. This is a really exciting and important time for all of us to be involved in Little Tokyo's future.


Regional Connector Update Meeting

The MTA is holding another series of meetings to update the community about the planned regional connector going through Little Tokyo. Jeff blogged about the last meeting back in August, and raised some valid concerns about how it could impact the neighborhood and its businesses.

It's important to come out to these discussions and provide feedback, so hope folks can make it.

Thursday, October 16th, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Central Library
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Tuesday, October 21st, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Japanese American National Museum
369 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

For additional information, call 213.922.7277 or visit their website.