LTSCene – July 2021 - Little Tokyo Service Center

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LTSCene Monthly Newsletter

July 2021 Issue

positive change in action headerAs COVID restrictions eased, we celebrated the return of in-person programs, big accomplishments and major milestones! Scroll down for some good news!

title text: camp budokan
Budokan Hosts Inaugural Youth Sports Camps

Camp attendees shooting basketballs26 years after the push to open a recreation center in Little Tokyo began, Terasaki Budokan successfully hosted its inaugural youth sports camps.  Across two weeks, Budokan hosted a basketball camp and karate camp, bringing in 50 youth campers.

The sight of kids running through Terasaki Budokan these past two weeks has been surreal. Throughout the years raising the funds to build the facility, it was only a dream of what it would be like to have the gym filled with kids. I was able to witness that dream come to fruition during our basketball and karate camps. It was amazing,” explained Kim Kawasaki, the programs and social media coordinator at Terasaki Budokan. 

Despite some early nerves and uncertainties due to the ongoing pandemic, the camps went safely and smoothly, as kids showed up every morning eager to work on their basketball and/or karate skills.  With the success of their inaugural camp, things are looking up for the Budokan team, after a delayed grand opening due to COVID restrictions.  With youth camps and sports leagues getting back into full swing, the Terasaki Budokan is finally able to fulfill its mission, as well as the hopes and dreams of those who worked to bring a recreation center to Little Tokyo.

title text: little tokyo eats program wraps up
Little Tokyo Eats Program Ends as Restrictions Ease

The Little Tokyo Eats program completed its final delivery on June 30, 2021, after providing a lifeline for local restaurants and low income seniors living in Little Tokyo since April of last year.  When the pandemic lockdowns began and restaurants were limited to takeout operations, LTSC sprang into action, working with local restaurants, volunteers, and Keiro, who financially supported the program from start to finish.  With Keiro’s financial backing, LTSC was able to pay restaurants $10 per meal while charging seniors only $3.  Keiro subsidized the remainder of the cost to restaurants.  Over the course of the project, 15 family owned and/or long-time restaurants in Little Tokyo received revenue totaling about $200,000 from LT Eats.

LT Eats volunteers and staffBeyond the financial relief provided to restaurants and low income seniors, there were many added benefits that resulted from the program as well. “Seniors had opportunities to have social interaction with volunteers, however limited by time constraints and language barriers. The feeling among seniors that people outside their buildings cared about them. The restaurant owners and workers feeling supported by LTSC and the community. The impact on JAs from throughout Southern California learning about this program and feeling a ‘sense of pride’ that Little Tokyo seniors were being taken care of–these were personal and community benefits during the pandemic that cannot be ignored,” explained Mike Murase, who oversaw the project.

In what was truly a community effort to support Little Tokyo’s small businesses and residents, none of this would have been possible without our dedicated volunteers and staff members who coordinated and executed the pickups and deliveries. Their kindness and willingness to help during this stressful time was truly inspiring. With restrictions easing up and businesses being able to fully reopen, we encourage our readers to stop by Little Tokyo and safely support our small businesses!

title text: senior wellness
Far East Lounge Reopens

With pandemic restrictions easing and space available at Budokan, Far East Lounge (FEL) classes were able to start up again in June.  Keeping safety and wellness in mind, there are currently 9 in-person classes and 1 virtual exercise class being offered by FEL. Close to 50 seniors participated in the program last month.  The return of FEL was a big relief for the seniors, who have spent much of the past year indoors and unable to see many of their friends.  

FEL attendees pose for group pictureSocial isolation is a major threat to the well being of seniors. “One of the main goals of FEL is to remove social isolation of our seniors and promote mental/emotional wellness with more in-person socialization and activities that stimulate creativity, expression, and stress-relief. Additionally, a majority of our participants are monolingual, which creates a language and cultural barrier and limits their access to socialization with others. Therefore, FEL provides a safe space for seniors to connect with others and the community through our activities,” explains Mototsugu “Moto” Sekiya, FEL Coordinator. FEL programming is built around the needs and interests of their participants, and staff take the seniors’ feedback seriously.  With high demand for English classes, FEL will be offering English classes starting next month, which Moto hopes will break the barriers of social isolation caused by language. “We hope this class will instill a confidence to explore new social situations.” said Moto.

If you or someone you know may be interested in participating, please email to sign up for classes!

title text: sake on the couch
LTSC’s Sake on the Couch a Big Success!

screenshot of sake on the couch

On July 17th, LTSC hosted Sake on the Couch, a fun pandemic-era twist on the popular LTSC event, Sake on the Rocks. Thanks to your support, LTSC was able to raise over $260,000 through the event.  Thank you to all our sponsors, supporters and donors!

Unlike most virtual events, guests were free to explore a custom built virtual world, while interacting with other attendees. The virtual world featured famous Little Tokyo landmarks and also included mockups of future LTSC buildings like the Crocker Apartments and the Go for Broke Project. Like the in-person event, guests enjoyed sake tastings and delicious food, picking up their kits prior to the event. We appreciate those who attended the event, and look forward to seeing everyone in person next year!

thank you for attending sake on the couch header image

title text: affordable housing
LTSC and Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre Celebrate Building Acquisition

Erich Nakano speaks at 700 Simmons Press Conference

LTSC recently acquired an 11-unit, multifamily apartment building in East LA with Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre (FCTL), a community land trust based in East LA.  To celebrate the acquisition, FCTL hosted LTSC and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis for a press conference and block party last month.  LTSC’s Executive Director, Erich Nakano, spoke at the press conference, highlighting the importance of community self determination and preserving housing affordability.  Through our partnership with FCTL, acquiring this property will protect tenants from rising rent prices, and eventually, the property will be converted into a cooperative tenant ownership. This community land trust model is one more way we’re continuing our fight for affordable housing throughout Los Angeles.  Watch the clip below for a message of support from Roberto Garcia Ceballos and Franny Ortiz during Sake on the Couch!

title text: vaccine information
LTSC Supports We Can Do This

vaccine info sheetLTSC supports We Can Do This, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s nationwide COVID-19 and vaccine education campaign. The Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Community has been hit hard by COVID-19 and many need help receiving vaccine information. We are working together to ensure our community has access to important information in our fight against COVID. Learn about COVID-19 vaccinations and get help scheduling your vaccine at VACCINES.GOV. #WeCanDoThis 

header text "quick updates"

SMV renderingFinancing Secured for Santa Monica and Vermont Housing Project

LTSC received a tax credit award, securing our last piece of financing for the Santa Monica and Vermont (SMV) affordable housing project. With $120M in financing secured, construction for the site will begin soon, bringing 187 units of much needed affordable and permanent supportive housing to East Hollywood.





senior working on self defenseLTSC Distributes Safety Alarms to Seniors in Little Tokyo

As violence against the Asian and Asian American community endures, LTSC continues to take action. Most recently, we distributed safety tip sheets and personal alarms to local seniors.  We continue to work with other community organizations to find ways to keep our seniors and community safe from racism and violence.





budokan logo on building wall

Budokan is Open for Rentals

With most COVID restrictions lifted, Terasaki Budokan is now open to the general public for rentals! Host your next event at the facility or rent out the gym for recreational use. For more details on renting the facility, click here to view the digital brochure, or visit the Budokan website at:

your donation makes a difference

Thank you to all of our wonderful donors and supporters.

Our work isn’t possible without you!

June 2021 Donors

Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Add your name to the list by making a DONATION today.

Kristen and Rob Abergas

Mitzi and George Akamine

Don and Lynn Akamine

Janee Allsman

Ronald Amate

Anonymous (22)

Dennis Arguelles

Ako Bramson

Alicia Burr

The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

Comcast NBCUniversal

Samantha de Castro

Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara

Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen

Mark Hirai

Tatsuko Enomoto

Michele Fincher

Joyce Fujimaki

Fred Fujioka

Elaine and Danny Ganiko

Robert Guffin

Lisa Hasegawa

Jerry and Kinuko Hashimoto

Kerin Higa

Bryan Hino

Meghan Holtan

Nancee (Uyeda) and Roy Iketani

Sau Wah Ishizuka

Gary T. Izumi

Kay Kaanapu

Ken and Bonnie Kasamatsu

Grateful Crane Ensemble

Alan Kawa

Hideo and Julie Kawaguchi

Rosalyn Kawahira

Carolyn Kobayashi

Jesse Koester

Hiroshi Kojo

Atsuko and Tadashi Kowta

Joan Stonehouse

Kubota Mortuary

Ami Hongo, L’Oeuf Poche

Alyce LaViolette

Oliver Lee

Gladys Lee and Hal Platts

Lizzette Walls

Carolyn Maddock

Lori Magallanes

Susan Maki

Charlotte and Vince Matsudaira

Bob and Teresa Matsushima

Kris Miranda

Richard and Patricia Mori

Ken and Priscilla Mui

Mike Murase and June Hibino

Nicole Murph

Nancy Nagayama

Masayuki Nishino

Wendy Okafuji

John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto

Susan Osa

Janice Osumi

Kelsey Owens

PayPal Giving Fund

Agnes Regeczkey

Riot Games

Sarah Sasaki

Catherine Sato

Margaret and Ken Shimada

Beverly and Henry Shu

Donald Spivack

Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda

Michael Suzuki

Esther Taira

Kelly and Rintaro Takasu

Yuka Takeuchi

Anna Mae Tamaki

Chelle Tateishi

Keith Umemoto

Naomi Uyeda

Peeranut Visetsuth

Walt Disney Company

Momoyo Walters

Sarah Ward

Marsha and Gary Watanabe

Lesley and Russell Wong

Andrew Yamamoto

Yukiko Yamamoto

Don and Marilyn Yamane

T. Yamazaki

Catherine Yen

Richard and Lynn Yoshizumi

Carole Zaima

Tribute Gifts

In Honor of Meredith Maimoni

Shirley Komoto


Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Shek N. Lau



In Memory of S. Stephen & Sally Nakashima



In Memory of Satsuki Omae

Roger Omae


In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson

Emily and Dan Weaver


In Memory of Kiyoshi and Chieko Shimokaji

Michael Shimokaji


In Memory of Nicholas Kendall Song


Sharon Chun Wetterau

Jetty and Miller Fong

Gloria Gee

Judith Jue

Chau and Thu Nguyen

The Open Door

Roselyn Schimerlik


In Memory of Katie Tanijiri

Alice Kaku


Terasaki Budokan

Riki Aihara

Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki

Nikkei Women Legacy Association

Peggy Masutani

Paul Nakasuji

Nikkei Women Legacy Association

Jason and Rachelle Samson

Glenn Tokushige

Loana Valencia

Gary and Sandra Yamamoto

Roseann Yoshida


Terasaki Budokan Tribute Gifts

In Honor of Susan Ogawa

Craig and Cindy Ogawa


In Honor of Bill Watanabe

Mabel Fujita Harman


In Honor of Dave Yanai

Randy and Kathy Furushiro

Deanne and Keith Herbers

Randy Kitani Family

Alan and Sandra Kosaka

Ryoichi and Suzuko Kosaka

Eric Manabe

John Nojima

Mark and Raquel Shimizu

Alan Cathy Kelli Watanabe

Dave and Saeko Yanai

Garrett Yanai


Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Asao and Yukue Kitani

Harvey Kitani


In Memory of Sam Shigeru Miyamoto

Julie Sunabe


In Memory of Larry Saika

Regina Sakurai


In-kind Donations

Shelter Partnership

Accessibility Tools