The annual Little Tokyo Sparkle, also known as Nancy Kikuchi Volunteer Day, was held May 20 with more than 400 participants of all ages.
The program opened in JACCC Plaza with remarks by lead organizers Brian Kito and Steve Nagano and a taiko performance by Walter Nishinaka. Special guests included Consul General Kenko Sone and his wife, Mami.
After picking up their tools and Little Tokyo hachimaki (headbands), volunteers fanned out to pick up trash, sweep sidewalks, wash windows, remove graffiti, and scrape off gum and stickers.
Everyone reconvened in the plaza for lunch and raffle prizes donated by Little Tokyo businesses.
Nagano, who called the event “a huge success with an overwhelming turnout,” said, “The enthusiastic volunteers cleaned Little Tokyo from Los Angeles Street to Vignes Street on the west and the east and Temple to 3rd, north to south. With support of many organizations in the community, businesses, temples and churches, the Girl and Boy Scouts, and individuals, Little Tokyo momentarily shined with its cleaned sidewalks and windows.
“With so many volunteers, no one was overwhelmed or overworked by their assignments. The combined efforts of the various groups and individuals not only made for a clean neighborhood, but hopefully connections with each other and also with Little Tokyo. There were a lot of happy, smiling participants. Donations from businesses and individuals, a grant from the Neighborhood Council, and time by the many organizers make LT Sparkle a success.”
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo (except where noted)