Trouble viewing this email? Click Here to read it online.
Little Tokyo Service Center News - February 2013
Farewell to California’s Gold
Bill Watanabe and Huell Howser
LTSC joins the rest of California in saying farewell to our good friend Huell Howser. In the early days of the LA Tofu Festival Huell brought his “team” – Huell and his camera man—to the JACCC plaza to tape an episode of California’s Gold. LTSC was so excited to have him and Tofu Festival was perfect for Huell because there was new and interesting food to explore and a lot of people to talk to. According to Bill Watanabe, LTSC Executive Director at the time, “I was honored to spend the day walking around the Festival with Huell and seeing all the people approach him without reservation, with big smiles and warm greetings. I could tell he was really admired and loved by many fans. But hosting Huell was a big challenge for me because he was totally spontaneous and unscripted on camera – you never knew what he might ask you or when – and that was a part of his persona and charm.”

The original episode aired on June 3, 1999 and attendance at subsequent Tofu Festivals dramatically increased. Huell re-ran the episode during the weeks leading up to Tofu Festival for many years. People heard about and came to Tofu Festival because of Huell. Huell came back to Tofu Festival in 2004 to enjoy the festival and meet and talk to even more people.

Huell also did a segment on LTSC’s re-opening the Far East/Chop Suey Café on First Street in Little Tokyo, after being shut down for ten years following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. As he walked through the restaurant, he loved hearing stories of past patrons and their fond memories of a gathering place that held many family parties and receptions. Huell really helped people to see and appreciate a diverse Los Angeles and the rich history of California.

Thank you Huell Howser for allowing Little Tokyo Service Center to be a part of your Amazing life.

Goodbye Yama

With a heavy heart, LTSC said good-bye to our friend and colleague, Yoshiyuki Clarence Yamahira or as we all called him “Yama.” Yama passed away on New Year’s Day at the age of 85.

Yama was the first resident manager of the San Pedro Firm Building--LTSC’s first affordable housing project. Yama served the residents of the building from 1992 until 2010 when he retired. His work in Little Tokyo however started much earlier. Yama was a community activist in the 1970s and worked with the Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization (LTPRO) to “help the young people” fight for greater community self-determination in Little Tokyo. He did this by reaching out to residents and small businesses facing evictions utilizing his Japanese language skills to explain the issues and disseminate information. Yama helped LTPRO educate residents on this process called “redevelopment” that was changing the face of their neighborhood.

Yama (far left) was the first resident manager of the San Pedro Firm Building.

As we all know, Little Tokyo is a special place with its historic buildings, the people that live and work in the neighborhood and the social networks that give it its distinct flavor. In his later years, Yama was a significant part of this social network and helped shape the cultural fabric of Little Tokyo.

Little Tokyo will not be the same without Yama and those other characters he could be regularly seen with as he held court in Japanese Village Plaza in front of Sushi Teri and later, Yamazaki Bakery or Las Galas. We will all miss seeing his fu-manchu beard blowing in the wind as he made his way around Little Tokyo or waiting for the bus in his Aloha shirt to go to the horse races on his days off shuffling to and fro in zori or slipahs as he would call them

Yama lived a full life and touched the lives of many people. He could be cranky at times, but was part of the folks who give Little Tokyo its personality and character. Thank you and good-bye Yama. You will be missed around here.

Purchase PGA Northern Trust Open Tickets and Benefit LTSC


LTSC is selling tickets to the Northern Trust Open, which takes place February 12-17, 2013 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. All ticket proceeds will go to charity; with 80% coming back to LTSC and 20% to The City of Hope. Tickets can be purchased at

Ticket Prices:
Daily Grounds Ticket- $30
Weekly Grounds Ticket-  $80
Weekender Grounds Ticket- $45
Weekly Clubhouse Ticket- $295

LTSC receives grant from MetLife Foundation
LTSC has received a grant from MetLife Foundation to support its Affordable Housing Collaborative. 2013 will be a busy year for LTSC’s Affordable Housing Collaborative. The Collaborative currently has 6 active projects with 2 projects under construction and 4 projects that are scheduled to begin construction in 2013. These projects include housing for homeless individuals and families, seniors, mentally ill Transition Aged Youth and low-income families. All together LTSC will be building 268 units for low-income families and people in need in Los Angeles.
Affordable Housing

LTSC will be able to complete these projects because of this grant from MetLife Foundation. The 2012 MetLife Foundation Community Development Initiative focuses on helping community-based groups expand affordable housing and economic development in their communities. LTSC was among the Los Angeles community development corporations invited to apply and selected for funding. This support is critical to LTSC’s continued work in building affordable housing.

LTSC would like to thank MetLife Foundation for supporting our endeavors to meet the pressing need for affordable housing in Los Angeles.

Did You Know
20132013 is the Year of the Snake. The lunar calendar year of 4711 begins on February 10, 2013. People born in the year of the snake are described as wise, charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, and smart.
January Donors – Thank You for Your Support!

Akemi Arakaki
Naoko & Scott Brittin
Miyoko & Carleton Burch
Yi Bing Chen
Samuel Demonteverde
Michiko Fujisaka
Leslie Furukawa
Susan Gin-Shaw
Polly & Michael Green
Therese & John Hokoyama
Peter Huang
Shigeko & Ken Inaba
Lily Jew
Maciek Kolodziejczak
Eric Kurimura
Akiko & Michael Lazare
David & Diane Matsumoto
Elaine & Masao Matsumoto
Dana & Masami Matsuno
Millennia Holdings, Inc.
Janet & Henry Minami
Joyce Miyabe
Amy Miyakawa
Kinuyo "Kay" Mori
Walter & Carrie Morita
Robert Miyamoto & Debra Nakatomi
Robbin Narike-Preciado
Cyril Nishimoto
Mary Oi
Dean Okamura
Masako Ota
Laura Shiozaki Lee
Louise Simon

Akemi Soeda
Walter & Aiko Sumi
Edwin Takahashi
Frank & Mable Takenaka
Margaret Tanaka
Linda Tanamachi
Teruko & Alden Uyemura
Robert Volk
Ruth Watanabe

In Memory of Judy Nishimoto Aguilera Ota
Ruth & Paul Kadota

In Memory of Mary & Masuo Yamada
Kathryn Higa

In Honor of Akemi Arakaki and June Yamaki
Katherine & Stephanie Yeung

In Honor of Debra Nakatomi
George Nakashima

In Honor of Yosh "Bill" Watanabe
Melodee Smith

In-kind Donations
Paul Iwahashi

Increase Your Impact with Corporate Matching Gifts

Your company may be one of thousands that “match” employee charitable contributions with corporate dollars.  Ask your HR department about your company’s matching gift policy.  Visit our website by clicking here or contact / (213) 473-1613 for more information.

Donate Your Old Car
Donated Car
Cars for a Cause

Did you know…

We accept vehicles in almost any condition

We can arrange for pick-up almost anywhere in the U.S.

Recycling your car saves energy and natural resources

Donating is a convenient alternative to selling or trading

Many people contribute more through a vehicle donation than they can give in cash

Call (213) 473-1613 or e-mail to donate today!

Ways to Help LTSC

In making a donation to LTSC, you can:


• Make a donation to a loved one for Valentine's Day!
• Make a donation in memory of a loved one
• Make a donation in honor of someone’s birthday or graduation
• Make a stock donation
• Host a fundraiser to benefit LTSC

Donate Online, over the phone or via traditional mail.
Call (213) 473-1613

Click here to manage your newsletter options.

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, please unsubscribe or email us at

Little Tokyo Service Center
231 E. Third Street, Suite G-106
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 473-3030