Japanese “T.I.C. Restaurant Group” donated $11,000 to RAZOM

   There is a neighborhood in Manhattan’s East Village known as “Little Ukraine”, home to about 60,000 Ukrainian citizens who run restaurants and form the largest community on the East Coast.

     Three weeks have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine. The war situation continues to get worse, and many citizens in New York City are doing everything they can to assist their country’s tragedy. One of them is RAZOM, a Ukrainian aid organization. Since the beginning of the war, they have been sending medical supplies and other items through their local network.

     On Tuesday, March 15th, Mr. Bon Yagi, 73, president of T.I.C. Restaurant Group, a Japanese businessman that has been doing business near Veselka, a long-established Ukrainian restaurant started in 1954. There, Mr. Yagi delivered a $11,000 check in support of Ukraine to RAZOM. This amount was a portion of the revenues from Hasaki, Sakagura, Curryya, Rairaiken, Sobaya, Hai Kara, Deshiberu, Cha-an, and Shabutatsu, all of which are part of his T.I.C. Restaurant Group in New York City. “We received support from the local community during the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Mr. Yagi, who came up with the idea of donating on the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

    “We sincerely appreciate the support from our Japanese friends who also live in the East Village. We will use it to stop the bloodshed of those who are bleeding locally” said Dora Chomiak, a representative of RAZOM.  “We’ll utilize it to put an end to the slaughter among those who are bleeding in the area.” 

  Jason Birchard, second generation owner of Veselka, said, “Sending love and peace to Ukraine is the greatest thing we can do right now,” . (Ryoichi Miura, translated by Marie Koss)

(Photo: From left Mr,Yagi, Ms. Chomiak of RAZOM, Mr. Birchard of Veselka and volunteers of RAZOM. Photo by Ryoichi Miura)

Japanese Food Drive donated to FOOD BANK in Harlem NYC

    The Japanese American Association of New York, also known as the “JAA”, and the Consulate-General of Japan in New York have jointly organized the “Japanese Food Drive”. The food was donated to the Food Bank office in Harlem at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11th. The donation included 700 pounds of rice (half of which was Tohoku rice), snacks, instant noodles and cup noodles. Ito En North America also donated 300 bottles of Japanese tea. A total of $8,400 in food and donations was delivered.

    The donation ceremony was attended by Ms. Natsuko Oku, Deputy Director of the Japan Information Center of the Consulate-General of Japan in New York, Mr. Koji Sato, President of the JAA, Ms. Suki Terada Ports, Director Emeritus of the JAA, Mr. Gary Moriwaki, honorable chairman, Mr. Kazuo Koshi, Executive Chairman of the Board of MUFG, and Mr. Joshua W. Walker, President of the Japan Society, attended on behalf of Japanese companies. This campaign has been held every year since 2014 to express gratitude for New York’s support during the Great East Japan Earthquake, however it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. This was the first time in two years that a donation had been made.

     At the ceremony, Ms. Oku, Deputy Director of the Japan Information Center of the Consulate-General of Japan in New York, said, “I would like to express my gratitude to the people of New York, who experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and to the people of Japan, who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake on 3/11. I hope that we Japanese can support each other and deepen the friendship between Japan and the U.S. through this activity. Let us do our best for each other. Gambarimasho!”.

     The President of the JAA, Mr. Sato, said, “The Japanese American community is grateful to the people of New York for their support 11 years ago at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake.MUFG Chairman Mr. Koshi thanked the visitors, saying, “We were able to make this event possible with the cooperation of many parts of the Japanese American community”.

     Ms. Sultana Ocasio, Director of Food Bank NYC’s Community Kitchen, thanked the Japanese American community for their continued support, saying, “Food assistance is an activity that depends on the support of many different communities, and we sincerely appreciate the continued support from the Japanese American community.” (Photo and article by Ryoichi Miura,  translated by Marie Koss)