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.


Gold Line Testing Coming Sunday

From the Daily News Wire Services and an email circulating in Little Tokyo today:

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Testing of light rail trains along the Metro Gold Line extension from Union Station to East Los Angeles will kick into high gear Sunday, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials warned the public to beware of the increased number of trains that will be using the tracks.

The testing is designed to familiarize train operators and staff with the service, and synchronize the trains with the existing service on the Gold Line, which now provides service between Union Station and east Pasadena.

During the stepped-up testing phase, which could last for more than a month, passengers will disembark southbound trains from Pasadena at Union Station, but the train will continue south to East Los Angeles, then return northbound.

During peak hours, the trains will run every seven to eight minutes, and every 12 minutes during midday hours. At night, the trains will run every 20 minutes. On weekends and holidays, the trains will run every 15 to 20 minutes in the mornings, every 12 minutes during the day and every 20 minutes at night.

Eds: Jose Ubaldo and Marc Littman, Metro, can be reached at (213) 922-3087.
CNS-09-29-2009 16:01


Regional Connector Presentation to LTCC

At the September Little Tokyo Community Council meeting last month, Metro publicly unveiled its at-grade regional connector option, which would run down Temple and Alameda. Above are some pictures of the models that the MTA brought for their presentation.

The Rafu Shimpo wrote up a story describing the complicated issues and struggles surrounding Metro's proposed development in Little Tokyo, and mentioned a letter issued by Senator Dan Inouye addressed to the chair of the MTA board brought up during the discussion. Here is the entirety of Inouye's letter:


Remembering Far East Cafe

I was just thinking of Far East Cafe on First Street in Little Tokyo and how my family used to go there every month when I was growing up. Old timers remember family gatherings, weddings, and funerals. Growing up as a kid in the suburbs, I actually wasn't crazy about the food or the place, but my dad loved it, so we went on the 2nd Sunday of every month. We would meet my Issei grandma, who would cross the street from Koyasan Buddhist Temple to meet us for dinner.

When I got older, I would often complain about going... it's one of those places that you don't appreciate until it's gone. It closed in 1994 after the Northridge Earthquake. Nowadays, people young and not-so-young hang out at the Far Bar and Lounge.

In a parallel universe, my husband grew up loving the food, going with his family from Sawtelle. Here's a poem he wrote a decade or so ago, that speaks to his love of Far East Cafe and chinameshi cuisine.

China Meshi Dreams
by Tony Osumi

relaxing in a hot tub of seaweed soup

nori and egg whites swirl
pork shoulder bobbing

translucent broth
cover my shoulders
lowering my chin to take a sip


roasted brick red

chunks hang plump

like apples on a chashu tree

warm and ripe
there for the picking
licking fingers


not even my own

pungent and fresh
melting in my mouth
with hot mustard and shoyu
whipped into circles

golden as Van Gogh’s Starry Night
new research finds:


fat free

sodium free

and lowers your


shrimp and lobster sauce
ladled thick on steaming rice
a priceless
chawan treasure
overflowing with

orange rubies

black bean pearls

and egg white satin


the last shrimp
reappearing after every bite

chicken chow mein
pan fried timelines
thread through shiitake and china pea
weave and tie us
to our pioneer past
every glazed noodle

guaranteed to have

an issei on the other end

bell pepper and onion
witness the marriage
of pineapple and pork

with vinegar presiding


for seven days
and six nights
on a romantic lazy susan

almond duck

cradled by lettuce

spruced up with nuts

born from hard times

scraps of duck meat
pressed between
heaven and earth
working peoples’ salvation--
with gravy

my father says,
Almond Duck?

as hard to describe

as the grand canyon’s


Metro Regional Connector and Gold Line Updates

Metro will be making a presentation of its regional connector plans to the Little Tokyo Community Council at LTCC’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 22 at 12 PM. It will be displaying a model of their proposed option for an at-grade design at the intersection of Alameda and Temple, an alternative plan being considered alongside their 1st and Alameda option.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the MTA also ran two to three simultaneous Gold Line trains along the Extension at vehicular traffic speeds. Metro is a little behind on their projected schedule of opening the Little Tokyo / Arts District Gold Line station in August, and unfortunately, they now won't provide a specific, let alone ballpark, date for full operation.

The MTA also released copies of fliers (in English and Spanish) that will be provided to “Rail Safety Ambassadors” and distributed to local schools.

I don't understand why Metro can't invest a pittance to design better outreach materials.