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.


A 5th Option?

Following the release of a statement by Senator Inouye at the last Little Tokyo Community Council meeting that reflected the multiple community concerns over the potential impact of Metro’s regional connector, and on the suggestion of the mangrove property developers, the LTCC members overwhelmingly approved a motion for Metro to consider adding a fifth option that would establish an underground station under the Gold Line at the Nikkei Center property.

The following statement was approved by the full council (amended wording is in italics) at today’s monthly meeting:
The Community Council is in favor of continuing the Underground Emphasis Option, which currently tunnels underground at 2nd Street, by continuing tunneling under 1st & Alameda and providing Little Tokyo with a station under the present Gold Line Little Tokyo / Arts District Station, subject to the approval of the Nikkei Center, LLC and respecting the property and integrity of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. This would also save merchants and property owners adjacent to 2nd and Central (Office Depot block) from years of construction disruption.
Among the few concerns raised included questions about the actual feasibility of building such a station, and whether or not the underground option would actually function as a terminal station that would require passengers from other rail cars to transfer to Gold Line trains. Other members were worried of the impact of this new option would have on 2nd Street businesses and the Nishi Hongwanji Temple.

LTCC Chair Bill Watanabe, however, made it clear that the board’s motion was drafted to urge Metro investigate a fifth alternative, and did not represent an endorsement nor a preclusion of any of other proposals thus far presented by Metro.

Little Tokyo Blog & Website Project

Hello this is Michael, the NCI intern who worked on this blog over summer. At todays (10/27) Little Tokyo Community Council at the Japanese American National Museum I made a presentation about my project. A more thorough proposal and concept of the presentation can be found HERE (in PDF, available for a limited time).

In the presentation today, I proposed 6 recommendations for the future development of this blog:
  1. LTCC assign a subcommittee to coordinate the blog and website.
  2. Establish new branding of Little Tokyo Portal and Blog sites
  3. Design and develop content for portal and blog sites.
  4. Spark community involvement by promoting online discussion of important topics such as the Metro regional connector.
  5. Seek out revenue generating enterprises.
  6. Launch marketing and outreach campaign (flyers & stickers, outreach to community).
I hope you have a chance to take a look at it, and I welcome any comments, feedback and ideas on how to improve the project.

It's been about a month or so since I have been back in Little Tokyo, but it was nice to come back and attend another LTCC meeting and catch up on what has been going on.

Contact: Michael - M.oguro@ogurodesign.com.


Metro features Little Tokyo in poster series

Metro commissioned artwork for the new Gold Line destination here in Little Tokyo by local artist Shizu Saldamando. She decided to paint the 1st Street side of the Japanese Village Plaza.

Taken from the Metro website, she said, “The washi paper is vibrant and detailed with various printed designs that add depth and color to the piece, and also serve as a metaphor for the diverse, colorful history of the neighborhood,” said Saldamando. “I incorporated a wood panel as my backdrop to reference Japanese woodblock prints. The swirling lines and natural blemishes in wood made me think of Asian landscape painting as well.”

Little Tokyo served as the 19th in this award-winning series of artwork. They're really trying to change the way Angelenos view public transit by showcasing all the great places you can get to on the Metro. Let's hope it works!

Full article here: http://bit.ly/4vn5p0


Little Tokyo/Arts District Metro Gold Line to Open!

Metro has set the date for formal operations of the Gold Line station:
It is with great pride that Metro announces the opening of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension on Sunday, November 15, 2009!

As our neighbors in Dowtown, you are cordially invited to participate in the upcoming community celebrations to commemorate this special milestone. Community celebrations will take place at the following stations stops: Little Tokyo/Arts District, Mariachi Plaza, East LA Civic Center and Union Station on Sunday, November 15 from 9am-4pm. Metro will be hosting free rides to the public that day which is expected to drive traffic into your community.
Metro is also inviting community groups and organizations to host a booth at the community event. For more information, contact carlstonee@metro.net or by fax to (213) 922-5654 NO LATER than October 28.


BoLA...Site Control!

As we’ve posted on this blog for the past couple years here and here, members of the Little Tokyo community have been fighting to establish a multipurpose community recreation center that would bring young people, families, and communities together from throughout the Los Angeles and Southern California area.

The Budokan of Los Angeles (BoLA), formerly the Little Tokyo Recreation Center, has just celebrated a major milestone in the development of a regional sports and community facility in Little Tokyo that would host basketball tournaments, martial arts tournaments, and other activities. The biggest struggle (and wait) has been in the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) between BoLA and the City of L.A.

From Scott Ito, the BoLA Project Director:
We have some very exciting news to share with you regarding the MOU. The photo above documents Bill officially signing off on the MOU yesterday afternoon, along with signatures from Councilmember Jan Perry, Gerry Miller (CLA) and Carmen Trutanich (City Attorney), which will finally complete the MOU phase (it only took 1 year and 1 month). As you know, the City Council approved the MOU back in Sept 2008 and we were hoping to move through the process fairly quickly until the economic downturn hit. But, thanks to the efforts of Councilmember Jan Perry's office, we now are able to move to the next stage and are getting closer to being able to make the dream of building the Budokan a reality.

Upon completion of the MOU, we are now going to start working with the City on executing a ground lease for the site. In the coming weeks, we will be receiving a draft of the ground lease and will begin to review this document and provide our feedback to the City. As I mentioned previously, this document, upon final agreement between LTSC and the City, will allow us to completely move forward and begin raising funds and constructing the facility. We anticipate our negotiations with the City on the ground lease to last to the end of the year, so we hope to be able to make a major announcement as soon as it is complete and launch our capital campaign in early 2010.

Again, we wanted to thank everyone for their continued support and patience. While it has been a long road, with a lot of detours along the way, we now believe we are getting closer to the final destination. In the coming months, we will keep you updated and we hope to have some more exciting news towards the end of the year.

This is a pretty significant event, and for those of us who've been involved with the efforts to build a recreation center, a great relief in the ability to move forward.


Tuesday Night Fundraiser 2nite

The OCTOBER 6TH Tuesday Night Cafe will be dedicated to disaster relief efforts in the Philippines, Samoa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia.

Tuesday, October 6
120 Judge John Aiso Street
Little Tokyo
7:30 pm


Rodgers & Asia Symposium tonight in LT

East West Players and Reprise Theatre Company proudly come together to co-present a symposium Getting to Know You: Rodgers & Asia exploring the successes and controversies surrounding THE KING & I, FLOWER DRUM SONG and SOUTH PACIFIC. This entertaining and provocative evening will be moderated by Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Yellow Face) and feature musical performances and a panel discussion with Lucy Burns, Christina Klein & Great Leap's Nobuko Miyamoto.

Tonight, Oct. 5 at 8pm
David Henry Hwang Theater
Little Tokyo