Far East Lounge is located under the “Chop Suey” sign on First Street in Little Tokyo.
Far East Lounge is located under the “Chop Suey” sign on First Street in Little Tokyo.

Far East Lounge, a gathering place for seniors and others in Little Tokyo, will have its grand opening on Sunday, Aug. 10, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The event will include refreshments, performances and demonstrations. Program begins at 3 p.m.

A project of the Little Tokyo Service Center, the Far East Lounge is much more than a physical setting to hang out, but offers recreational and cultural activities such as jewelry making, chorus, arts and crafts, mahjong, calligraphy and bonsai.

The lounge is also transformed into a health and wellness studio to practice yoga, tai chi and qi gong, as well as to conduct classes in fall prevention, healthy eating and cooking, and medication management.

To stimulate the mind, educational programs such as English and other language instruction, basic computer and smartphone use, video-making and oral history, and strategy games are offered.

Social workers and teachers provide informational workshops and referrals on developments in Social Security, Medicare and Medi-Cal, as well as other government programs. Other presentation topics include elder abuse, caregiving basics, memory loss and dementia, scam prevention, “5 wishes” and more.

The modest space is designed for flexible use so that matinee movies, community meetings and other activities can take place.

There are about 1,000 older adults living independently in Little Tokyo, and several thousand more in neighboring communities. Social isolation is one of the greatest risk factors for seniors to live healthy lives independently in the community. There are very few culturally sensitive and language-appropriate opportunities for Japanese and other immigrant seniors to interact socially, stimulate the mind, and exercise their bodies.

Although bilingual social workers have provided case management services, interpretation and translation, and counseling sessions to individuals and families for the past 34 years, in times of diminishing government funding and a dramatic increase in the older adult population, it is more crucial than ever before that socialization, prevention and early intervention be provided.

Far East Lounge is located at 353 E. First St. (under the “Chop Suey” sign) between San Pedro Street and Central Avenue. For more information, contact Izumi Harry, coordinator, at (213) 621-4158 or FEL@LTSC.org.

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