Kotoko Toji has lived in Los Angeles since the 1950s but speaks little English.
When it came time to move to a retirement home 15 years ago, she had a request: Sakura Gardens.
Like Toji, many of the residents are Japanese Americans in their 80s and 90s. Most of the staff speaks Japanese.
On the Japanese holiday of Girls’ Day, Toji and her friends eat sakuramochi — a sweet rice cake filled with red bean paste and encased in a pickled cherry blossom leaf.
Sakura Gardens is a last vestige of Japanese American culture in Boyle Heights.
Since the facility opened in the 1970s, most businesses catering to Japanese residents have closed as the neighborhood solidified into a working-class Latino enclave.