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.


Monday Nights at the Ox

Most nights at the Lazy Ox Canteen, the seats are filled by folks of the non-Asian persuasion. So why are Monday nights any different?

Could it be "Half-off bottle night"? Combine that with happy hour (M-F, 5-7pm) and you just might have the ultimate bargain-seeker’s delight.

In general, the price for a full bottle of wine at the Ox is relatively affordable, with the selections very eclectic, from Argentine Malbecs to German Rieslings to Spanish Tempranillos, and everything in between.

It’s the food where things tend to get pricey. Keep in mind, the small plates are, well, small. Think izakaya or Asian-inspired tapas. Translation: don’t come here hungry. On second thought, hungry’s okay, just don’t come here starving.

An L.A. Times review said the Ox burger (comes with fries) is the best in town, but to be honest, if I want a burger, I'd rather hit Pete’s Café and Bar on 4th and Main or Café Metropol on 2nd (east of Alameda by R23) in the artist district.

Pete’s now has Mared Sous 8 on draft, and that’s a burger's best friend if you ask Ken Wada. Metropol has a Kobe-style burger, but opt for the sirloin instead, as it's both a better value and a bigger taste.

But where were we? Ah yes, Asian night, or rather, Monday nights at the Ox. Reservations are highly recommended on any night, but if they're fully booked for the night, the hostess hinted, "The bar is usually a good option around 6:30."

Oh, by the way, the half-off Monday special also includes beer bottles, I believe.

Rafu Community Page: Consultant to Help Community Address Regional Connector Concerns

As part of an effort to bring more content to the blog and to promote discussion of community events and updates, Gwen Muranaka of the Rafu Shimpo is graciously sharing content from the Rafu Community Page, published March 27, 2010. Look forward to more Community Page stories right here on the LT Blog!


Consultant to Help Community Address Regional Connector Concerns
Consultant Douglas Kim speaks on Tuesday with members of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.


Douglas Kim, a transportation and environmental planner with 25 years experience, has been hired as a consultant who will provide technical expertise to the LTCC and help assess the impacts of the proposed Regional Connector on Little Tokyo and recommend a set of mitigation measures that can protect the physical, social, and economic environment in the community.

He served for over ten years as the director of Regional Planning
for Metro and currently manages a consulting firm that provides
transit planning expertise to public agencies and local communities.
He will also work with the LTCC to ensure that a solid mitigation
monitoring plan is developed that ensures that needed mitigations are in
fact implemented in the future.

"I have a history of working with community groups to ensure that their interests are protected from those agencies that build these systems," Kim said at the LTCC meeting on Tuesday. "I've seen a lot of systems get built without a lot of community input and there's only so much a transit agency can do if they don't have the perspective of the people who live and work in the community."

Metro proposes a two-mile rail system that will connect its Gold, Blue, and Expo rail lines and allow passengers to travel throughout the region without transferring in downtown. It would include three stations in the downtown area between Little Tokyo and Bunker Hill.
The system could cost about $1.25 billion and be running by 2019, though some estimates show operations by 2025. $160 million was already approved in November 2008 through a sales tax increase.

In January 2009, Metro approved studying several alternatives, including a rail system at-grade and one partially underground. In response to community concerns about disruptions to Little Tokyo, Metro added another alternative in February 2010 that would run entirely underground through the area.

Among the issues Kim highlighted as community concerns include:
  • The community wants to ensure that the Fully Underground Alternative is selected as the solution, since the At-Grade and Partially Underground Alternatives have unacceptable impacts to Little Tokyo, such as noise, traffic, and visual impacts, particularly at First and Alameda.
  • However, the community insists that all environmental impacts from the Fully Underground Alternative be fully addressed.
  • This includes concerns about how the 3-4 year construction period could disrupt local businesses, tourism, and everyday life.
  • Major excavation and tunneling will occur in several locations to build stations, portals, and entrances. These "cut and cover" activities must minimize traffic, noise, air quality, and other impacts to nearby businesses and residents.
  • Long-term concerns include noise and vibration from the underground system, the design of new development at the Office Depot location where an underground station would be located, and the system's impact on the cultural and economic identity of Little Tokyo.
Kim will be holding meetings on April 22 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center at 4 p.m. for nonprofit organizations, churches and cultural groups; and 6 p.m. for residents to share their concerns regarding the Regional Connector. All are welcome to attend the meetings. A meeting for Little Tokyo businesses will be determined later.

For more information, contact Kim at douglaskim@verizon.net or (310) 316-2800.

Photo credit: Gwen Muranaka


Japanese Hospital: Caring for the Pre-War Nikkei Community

Discover Nikkei & the Little Tokyo Historical Society presents...

Japanese Hospital: Caring for the Pre-War Nikkei Community
Sunday, April 11, 2010

Free with JANM admission
Light reception to follow

For the early Issei immigrants, access to medical care was limited. Five Issei doctors sued the State of California after being denied papers of incorporation to build a hospital. Jordan vs. Tashiro was won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1928. Japanese Hospital opened in Boyle Heights in 1929.

The program will include:
  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Troy Kaji will talk about the historic case and the establishment of the Japanese Hospital
  • Moderator: Gwenn Jensen, author of Silent Scars of Healing Hands: Oral Histories of Japanese American Doctors in World War II Detention Camps
  • Special Guest: Janice LaMoree—daughter of J. Marion Wright, the attorney who represented the doctors in the court decision—will speak about her father presenting the case in Washington D.C.
  • Video clips from interviews sharing stories related to the community hospitals
  • Arrive early to view slideshow of historic photos from the hospitals and Little Tokyo community.
Reservations are recommended to rsvp@janm.org or 213.625.0414 at least 48 hours prior to the event.


Teens Wash Cars to Raise Funds on Saturday

 The Little Tokyo Teens
invite you to their
Wash & Munch Fundraiser

Come join us!
We’ll wash your car while you eat!!
Date: March 13, 2010, Saturday
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Location: LTSC/Casa Heiwa
231 E. 3rd Street
Grace Iino playground
(Entrance on Los Angeles Street, North of 3rd Street)

***For $10 you can get your car washed, a delicious home cooked meal with a FREE DRINK.***

Thank you for supporting the Little Tokyo Teens.
*larger cars will be charged an additional dollar*