The Daily Manila Shimbun


Students-run restaurant links Kyoto, disaster-hit Tohoku

August 20, 2017

KYOTO- A restaurant run by college students in Kyoto is building ties between the western Japan city and the Tohoku northeastern region, devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, through local sake and foods from Tohoku.

The restaurant, open only on the 11th day of every month to remember the massive disaster on March 11, 2011, is located in Kyoto's Kamigyo Ward and run by five university students. It was launched by students at Ritsumeikan University, based in Kyoto, in May 2014.

The restaurant launch came after the founders thought they should do something to prevent people from forgetting the memory of the disaster, after their visits to disaster-hit areas, said Haruka Okuda, a 21-year-old junior of Kyoto Women's University. Okuda leads the five second-generation restaurant staff members.

Okuda also started to feel like doing something for Tohoku from Kyoto through volunteer activities, she said.

To offer fresh foods from Tohoku at the restaurant, the students buy delicacies of the season directly from producers and ask them for recommendations on how to cook the foods. The students take care of all aspects of restaurant operations, including food purchases, cooking and customer services.

For the main dish of the evening of the 11th day this month, the restaurant served sea squirt from Miyagi Prefecture in Tohoku, which is rarely available in the Kansai western region.

The restaurant, which has a capacity of around 30, was almost filled with customers an hour after opening at 6 p.m. Many of them enjoyed sea squirt sashimi. Jiji Press