An incredibly successful Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner in support of our ‘Nikkei Place: Feels Like Home’ initiative

On Saturday, September 24th, 2016 we celebrated and honoured four of our Nikkei community leaders at our Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner presented by Canadian Tire! We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came and supported the event, and we hope you enjoyed the evening! Your support benefits Nikkei Place: Feels Like Home  our initiative to make Nikkei Place a second home for all to enjoy. It was truly a night of inspiration, listening to the rich stories and accomplishments of our awardees. We feel thankful many of you came to celebrate with us as we honoured Dr. Akira Horii, Mr. Takeo Yamashiro, Ms. Yoko Matsuno and Mr. John Endo Greenaway for their immense service to the Nikkei Community and to Canada. This year also marked the first time we were able to award the Nikkei Youth Athletics Bursary – congratulations once again to Beth Kamimura!

Thanks to the generosity of our community, together we were able to raise over $100,000 in a single evening before event expenses for our Feels Like Home initiative.

The Board of Directors and staff of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre and Nikkei Place Foundation thank everyone — the awardees, guests, sponsors, donors, presenters and volunteers — for helping make this year’s Awards Dinner a remarkable success, and we hope to see everyone back again next year! We invite you to view and share photos from the event with your friends below or connect with us on our facebook page! Thank you once again for your support!
Photography by Manto Nakamura
Questions? Contact Nikkei Place Foundation at or 604.777.2122

Hiroshima: Memoirs of a Survivor

Sachi Komura Rummel's story of survival and renewal

Join us for a talk with author Sachi Komura Rummel

Saturday, November 26, 2016 2pm Free admission. Please RSVP to or 604.777.7000 ext.109 English and Japanese books available for purchase and signing.

In the early morning of August 6th, 1945, an eight year old girl played in the schoolyard with her classmates. Suddenly there was a flash of light followed by a tremendous blast. In an instant her life had changed forever. This is her story of survival and renewal. She hopes that her life and her story will enable people to reflect on the terror that war and nuclear weapons pose to present and future generations. Sachi Rummel

Jane Nimi receives Honorary Lifetime Membership

In spring this year, Jane Nimi received Honorary Lifetime Membership. This recognition is belated as you can imagine, any person who receives a lifetime membership has been serving the organizations for many years. Jane, is a good friend to us all here at Nikkei Place, and we have appreciated her support through the years to the seniors and to the cultural community.

Jane helped create a thriving flower arrangement program at Nikkei Home. For over 15 years, she served as a volunteer on various programs including the ever popular blood pressure measure at the Powel Street Festival.

And, to some she is best known as the stalwart and backbone of support to her late husband, Robert, who served for many years on the boards of both organization, and notably the president of the Nikkei Seniors Health and Housing Society for numerous years. We are the grateful members of our community who have benefited from Jane’s kindness, dedication and service. The Nikkei Place Honorary Lifetime Membership is a joint effort of the organizations to recognize those individuals who have been a member volunteer for 10 years or more and have been an outstanding individual for 20 years or more. Nikkei Place will be recognizing individuals each year, and Jane Nimi is the first recipient. As an Honorary Lifetime Member Jane will receive a membership for life from both organizations. Congratulations and thank you Jane! Group photo Ruth RTB Bob Jane

Dr. Akira Horii: Presidents’ Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet Dr. Akira Horii:

Presidents' Award Recipient

  • Japanese-Canadian, interned at East Lillooet
  • In 1960, became one of only four Japanese-speaking physicians in Vancouver.
  • Now a retired family physician who served many Japanese-Canadian patients
  • Clinical Professor Emeritus of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
  • Regularly shares his history and family’s story at area schools, universities and at Nikkei Place.
  • Long-time supporter of Nikkei Place and provided flu shots to the residents of Nikkei Home and donated his fees to the Society.
  • Volunteered with Strathcona area schools, Vancouver Aquarium, Nikkei Centre and Nikkei Senior’s Health Care & Housing Society.
  • Presently an active volunteer Speaker for Nikkei National Museum’s Taiken Education program
  • Former Board member of Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society

Akira Horii’s parents had lived in BC since their arrival in the 1920s from Mirozu, a small fishing village in the Wakayama area of Japan. His father helped to build a thriving cod fishery and establish the first multi-ethnic fishing association, the BC Cod Fishermen’s Coop. The Horii family lived in Japantown, an area around Powell Street in Vancouver.
Following Pearl Harbor, Akira reflects on life in his neighborhood and that “Japantown came to a standstill bringing with it economic hardship and a half to social life. There were no late ball games, judo practices, concerts or visiting; no ‘hanging out’ by the young Nisei or listening and dancing to jukeboxes at a café. We were warned that breaking the curfew could lead to severe punishement, including being sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in a place no one had heard of – Angler, Ontario.”
After his father’s fishing boat was taken away and they were ordered to leave the coast, Akira and his family were granted permission to move to East Lillooet, a selfsupporting internment map in the BC interior. The family had to pay for their own transportation and housing materials. At the camp, they were responsible for building a school and paying the teachers’ wages. There, Akira also became involved in baseball. He remembers how baseball brought the Japanese-Canadian and local white communities closer. In 1949, after the ban was lifted that restricted Japanese Canadians from returning to the coast, Akira Horii entered the University of British Columbia. After finishing his first year, he was pressured into joining his father in the family fishing business. He speaks about this experience at length in an oral history interview for Simon Fraser University’s Japanese Canadian Oral History Collection. After three years, Akira went back to complete his undergraduate degree before entering medial school. He graduated in 1960, becoming one of four Japanese-speaking physicians in Vancouver. Dr. Horii has shared his story of internment at schools, churches, public lectures and through books and oral histories at his own expense. He has provided insight into the culture and heritage of Japanese Canadians from their pioneering days through war years and to the present. One of his nominees wrote ”Although now retired from his profession as a family doctor, his kindness to all people regardless of racial origin is well remembered.” He provided flu shots to residents at Nikkei Home, at no cost to the seniors. Dr. Horii is a former Board Member of the Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society and is an active volunteer speaker for the Cultural Centre’s Taiken Education program. A Nikkei Centre staff member wrote:
“Aki Horii has played a vital role in our education programs for a number of years, and in my experience with him over the past year, he has increased his amount of involvement and dedication to the programs. He has spoken to elementary, high school and university level visiting students and has visited two school in spring of 2016 to speak to one group of 40 private school students and another group of about 120 public school students at the elementary level. He is always open to helping out and is incredible to work with. He makes the programs easy to organize and operate. He is open to speaking about historical events and his personal experiences to reach the children in a unique way. Aki has also been open to using powerpoint presentations in his talks, which I operate, and has adapted to this method very easily. Aki is also featured as one of four individuals on our Taiken Education Film series: Nikkei Experiences: Our Elders, Our Stories. The films have been produced, and are being made accessible this summer to fully launch to educators in the fall of 2016. Finally, his gentle manner, approachability, and respectfulness create a good environment to teaching children and youth, and make it very easy for me to organize the programs.”
Dr. Akira HoriiIn recognition for his distinguished career in Medicine, the University of British Columbia awarded Dr. Horii with Emeritus status as a Clinical Professor Emeritus of Family Practice in 1997. Dr. Horii demonstrates an outstanding dedication to his own work while maintaining a high level of commitment to community service and education. He has been recognized by his peers and also from within his community. Dr. Horii’s interviews can be found in the following: • Interview with Akira Horii: Japanese Canadian Oral History Collection, Simon Fraser University • Interview with Akira Horii: Collections of Nikkei National Museum • Fukawa, M. Sprit of the Fleet: BC’s Japanese Canadian Fisherman (2009) • Hickman, P. and Fukawa, M., Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Takeo YamashiroYoko Matsuno, and John Endo Greenaway!

Takeo Yamashiro: Outstanding Community Service Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet Takeo Yamashiro:

  • Co-founder of Tonari Gumi
  • Executive Director of Tonari-Gumi for almost 30 years
  • Hiroshima survivor of Atomic bombing
  • Master Shakuhachi (Japanese flute) player
  • Educated public on shakuhachi and traditional Japanese music all over North America

Takeo Yamashiro was born in July of 1943 and is a registered survivor of the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. He began playing the shakuhachi in Kyoto, while in University. He was the last uchi deshi (live-in disciple) of master Kikusui Koku at the Shakado Temple, Kyoto where he received his shihan certificate and shakuhachi name “RENPU,” Lotus Wind. Takeo came to Vancouver, Canada as a tourist in June 1972, by an invitation of his musical students from Canada. He then became a landed immigrant in the following year as a ‘Musician Instrumentalist’ (for the shakuhachi). Of this time, he reflects that “my language skills were very limited, but the shakuhachi worked as a language, really, as a way of communicating with people.” He has performed in concert and toured as a solo artist as well as with Themba Tana, Uzume Taiko and Kokoro Dance. He achieved landed immigrancy in 1972. Along with Jun Hamada and Michiko Sakata, Takeo Yamashiro founded the Tonari Gumi Japanese social services organization. In the fall of 1973, Jun (Samuel) Hamada received a federal employment creation grant under project named “Japanese Community Volunteers”. This initial five-month-trial operation of the Issei support program, run between January and May in 1974, came into the hands of Jun and Takeo, as one of the four original employees. The Japanese name “Tonari-Gumi” was born before the termination of the project. The initial five months gave them time for quick on-site need study in the Issei community. In June, Jun and Takeo visited Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) and negotiated with Bruce Eriksen to secure a office space. Bruce sympathized with the Issei’s situation in the old “Nihonmachi” area and decided to let them use a small room shared with their Chinese Community Worker. By the end of same month, June 1974, the DERA hired Takeo as their Japanese Community Worker. Jun meanwhile had to make trips back and forth to the Vancouver General Hospital for dialysis—kidney failure. In April 1976, they were able to obtain more stable funding from the provincial government and from the City of Vancouver and opened a drop-in centre at 573 East Hastings. It was during this time that many of the current programs and services were developed. For over 30 years, he served as the Executive Director until his retirement in July 2004. After retirement from Tonari-Gumi, he has focused on playing his shakuhachi daily. He has a Canada Council CD project pending and continues to teach a handful of serious students. Throughout his life, he has educated and inspired many people all over Canada about the magic and beauty of the shakuhachi flute. Takeo was featured as part of the Verdant Stones Project at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. He has also performed at the Mariposa Folk Music Festival, the Powell Street Festival, Bumbershoot, Katari Taiko’s 15th Anniversary Concert at the Vancouver Playhouse and in concerts at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. He has served as a judge for the 1994 and 1995 Juno awards, performed on two solo albums and created more than 10 film scores that include 6 National Film Board productions such as “Obaachan’s Garden.” Takeo's community work earned him a Minister of Foreign Affairs Award in 2003. His recordings include NYO (1998, Lotus Wind Records) and Takeo Yamashiro: Shakuhachi (1988, Aural Tradition).
In an interview he was asked what his hopes were for the Canadian Nikkei Community. His answer:  Today, we have the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre (in Burnaby, B.C.) where they are busy working on research and collections of historical artifacts and archival materials through the exhibits under their developmental projects. Their collections only get richer as they dig further into our preceding generations and their lives in Canada. Accordingly, it gets easier for our upcoming generations to access resources for our ancestral history of immigration and their lives through the building and development of the JC community. As our community in future will be changing in its racial makeup and cultural values, I feel personally an urgent need of re-examination/re-evaluation on our future community needs and set a direction as to where to and how we are going. It seems to be a big challenge but we really should be talking about a multilingual and multicultural community within the JC community after all—bravo! We all live as equal members in Canada’s cultural mosaic. Hopefully, this is when one may want to seek his/her identity with their conscious effort by going through to their ancestral roots. It will add much deeper and meaningful respect and confidence to his/her own dignity as a person. It may also give one an opportunity to appreciate their cultural heritage which they can then pass on to future generations.

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Dr. Akira HoriiYoko Matsuno, and John Endo Greenaway!

Yoko Matsuno: Japanese Culture Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet Yoko Matsuno:

  • Master teacher and dancer of Nishikawa-ryu
  • Shamisen player, specializing in Nagauta
  • Leads the Nishikawa Dance Group
  • Has been performing and teaching Japanese classical dance in Vancouver for close to 40 years
  • Formed the Satsuki-kai dance in May 2011 for members to study traditional Japanese dance under the tutelage of Master Kayo Nishikawa in a relaxed atmosphere. They perform at a number of diverse settings including senior homes and the Powell Street Festival.
  • Has led the bon-odori dance every year at the Powell Street Festival
  • Currently an active instructor at NNMCC

Yoko Matsuno started taking lessons when she was 4 years old. She liked dancing so much that she decided to proceed with the intensive study to master the art form through the Nishikawa school of odori. In 1962, she received the her Natori (teaching name), Kayo Nishikawa. Mrs. Matsuno not only dances but also plays shamisen, a three-stringed instrument used for accompanying odori. In 1973 she became a certified shamisen player specializing in Nagauta (“long song”), and took another stage name Katsuyuya Kineya. In the same year she immigrated to Canada. In 1976, she started teaching the Japanese dance to members of the Japanese-Canadian community. In the following year she began teaching “matsuri-ondo” for Powell Street Festival and the Japanese Canadian Centennial celebration. Since then she has been teaching matsuri-ondo every year for the Powell Street Festival. As a member of the Nishikawa School, she performed 65 one-hour programs at the Japan Theatre of EXPO 86, Vancouver. She has lead the cultural impact of this art and introduced it to virtually thousands of people all over Canada. For over 25 years she has been involved in “Touch of Japan”, a project by Japanese Consulate to introduce Japanese culture to Canadian public. She still actively demonstrates dance and kimono dressing to many schools, senior homes, community centres in Hope, Aldergrove, the Fraser Valley, Gibsons (Sunshine Coast) as part of cultural exchange program. She has been teaching bon-odori dance at Steveston Buddhist Church for many decades. At NNMCC, she has been volunteering as an instructor of the museum’s Education program, the Taiken program (dancing and kimono dressing) All the materials used in the program are donated by her. All of the volunteers of this particular program are her dance class students Satsuki-kai. Satsuki-kai dance group was established in May 2011 with the purpose of introducing Japanese folk dance to a broader audience. Most recently, she and the Satsuki-kai dancing group initiated and performed at the Kimono Show held on April 3, 2016 at Nikkei Centre and raised over $7,000 and donated all the proceeds. Through dance and kimono dressing, she has been introducing Japanese Culture to the Canadian community for many years, and by leading the way contributed to the enrichment of the greater community.
Her nominator writes that: Yoko “has demonstrated the best in what our community has to offer. Through selfless volunteerism and leadership she has inspired many in our community to embrace the art of Japanese dance and has had a significant impact in expanding this important cultural and iconic activity to a wide audience. Through bon-odori dance and Japanese traditional dance, she has brought many ethnic groups together. Through bon-odori dance and Japanese traditional dance, she has brought many ethnic groups together at Nikkei Cultural Centre. An example would be the bon-odori dance at Nikkei Matsuri, where young and old of all kinds of ethnic groups participate and enjoy dancing. You can see this in the faces of all the participants of the bon-odori dance.”

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Dr. Akira HoriiTakeo Yamashiro, and John Endo Greenaway!

John Endo Greenaway: Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people and/or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet John Endo Greenaway:

  • Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Awardee

    Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Awardee

    Freelance Graphic Designer and Owner of Big Wave Design
  • Founding member of Canada's first taiko group, Katari Taiko
  • Founding member of Canada's first professional taiko group, Uzume Taiko, with whom he toured extensively across Europe and North America.
  • Spent five years as assistant instructor with Chibi Taiko, Canada's first youth taiko group.
  • Since 1993, he has been the Managing Editor of The Bulletin, a journal of Japanese Canadian community, history and culture.

John Endo Greenaway lived in the downtown east side for over 30 years (His parents co-founded Strathcona’s first housing co-op at Union St. and were involved in the 1970’s fight to stop the freeway). Now based in Port Moody, BC, in an interview he stated that: “When my family moved to Vancouver when I was 10 we ended up in Strathcona in what may have been Vancouver’s first housing co-op on Union Street. That was where my mother — a second generation Japanese-Canadian — started to reconnect with her roots, which she had really lost contact with, and also how I became involved in helping to form Canada’s first Taiko group Katari Taiko, work on the Powell Street Festival and more. Amazingly, the Strathcona Community Centre used to let us use its space to practise three times a week for a number of years until they realized that nobody else could do anything else when we rehearsing because of the volume. ”
He co-founded both Uzume Taiko and Katari Taiko (whose founding helped marked the re-emergence of the Japanese Canadian community who had been scattered about the country after World War II). He worked on a collaborative project “AGAINST THE CURRENT” that looked at the important role played by salmon in both Salish and Japanese history and tradition. The collaboration between Chibi Taiko, Katari Taiko, Sansho Daiko, Sawagi Taiko and Vancouver Okinawa Taiko also included storyteller Rosemary Georgeson (Sahtu Dene/Coast Salish) and Salish musicians Tzo’kam, led by composer Russell Wallace with narrations by Greenaway, and Hiromi Goto and Savannah Walling with participation of 25 DTES community members in creating the sets. The Bulletin CoverJohn has worked in the print production, design and world music field. Following his departure from Uzume Taiko in 2000, he has concentrated on his freelance design and editing business full time, working primarily in the Japanese Canadian and arts communities. His freelance clients include Hard Rubber Orchestra, Kodo, Lola MacLaughlin Dance, Takeo Yamashiro, Caravan World Rhythms, Gary Cristall Artist Management, JLS Productions, the National Nikkei Museum and Cultural Centre, the Japanese Canadian National Museum, Vancouver New Music Society, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Ashe Brasil, Vancouver Moving Theatre, Diane Kadota Arts Management, and the Japanese Canadian Citizen’s Association. John has received a number of awards such as:
  • 2007 North American Association of Asian Professionals Vancouver (NAAAP) award (Arts and Culture)
  • 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • He was honoured by the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) at the Spotlight on Leadership Celebration held in Vancouver on October 25, 2007. The NAAAP is a nonprofit organization that promotes the career advancement and leadership development of Asian American professionals in all fields through networking, respecting Asian multiculturalism, and supporting diversity and community service. Below is a shortened excerpt of his acceptance speech:
“It is somewhat fitting, I suppose, or perhaps ironic—I’m not sure which—to receive the Unsung Asian Hero Award tonight. As editor of The Bulletin, the monthly publication of the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association I have spent the past 14 years covering many unsung heroes within the Nikkei community. We have our public heroes of course, the ones we share with the rest of the world – the David Suzukis, Raymond Moriyamas, Joy Kogawas and Thomas Shoyamas – but for every man and woman in the spotlight, there are dozens more toiling away unheralded and most likely underappreciated. They are educators, artists, business owners, fishermen, community activists, cooks, students. Some are imbedded deeply within the Nikkei community, others work within the larger community. Some identify strongly as Nikkei, others would consider themselves simply Canadian. As the latest in a long line of editors dating back to 1958 (the year before I was 8 born), I have made it my mission to profile the many quiet heroes in our midst. It is sometimes like pulling teeth—if you want to talk in stereotypes, then we Nikkei tend to be a rather shy lot—but with a little coaxing, most people will open up, often in surprising ways. A CBC producer asked me the other day how our community magazine, with its relatively small circulation and limited readership can hope to bring these people greater national recognition and I replied that I don’t think that is necessarily my aim. It is, rather, to instill a sense of pride within our community, to build up, issue by issue, a sense of who we are—where we have come from, and where we are going. As a community I think we are sometimes guilty of dwelling on the past. Indeed, it is difficult to discuss the Japanese Canadian experience without the subject of the wartime Internment coming up…” “It is easy sometimes to play the victim card. But if there is one thing I have learned in my time working in the Nikkei community, it is that we are not a community of victims, but rather survivors. And yes, thrivers. I believe it is important to keep our eyes firmly forward—not forgetting the past, but using it as a springboard to a bright future. As I get older I see more and more value in the Japanese phrase shikataganai, “it can’t be helped”. I used to interpret it as defeatism, but have come to see that it simply means that railing against what can’t be changed is a waste of time and energy. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you give up, far from it—rather, you move on and change what you can.”

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Dr. Akira HoriiTakeo Yamashiro, and Yoko Matsuno!

Our First Monthly Giving Mingle!

By Elina Wakabayashi, NPF Monthly Giving Co-Ordinator On Saturday, April 11th, we held our first ever Nikkei Place Foundation Monthly Giving Club Appreciation Mingle! It was an exciting chance for us to reunite with some familiar faces in the community as well as happily welcome new faces to Nikkei Place. Monthly Giving is a different form of giving back to the community and is suitable for any age -- thank you all for the support and heart for Nikkei Place! Continue reading

J-Fest at Nikkei Centre: A Cosplay + Fandom Celebration

J-FEST was at Nikkei Centre was on March 7!

It was a celebration of all things J-pop hosted by the Vancouver Anime Convention Society. J-Fest was a culmination of fandom for the love of favourite animes, mangas, games, and the like. I got to watch performers taiko drum, speak with local artists in the Artist Alley/Dealer Room, and of course, see a great number of local cosplayers. Simply put, it was a unique and fun filled experience!

In the spirit of the event, let’s talk about COSPLAY!


Cosplay is a performance art; it is about celebrating a love for a favourite anime/manga/game character or Japanese fashion aesthetic by emulating how they look and even behave. The word itself originates from combining the terms “costume” x “play”. The word was coined by Nobuyaki Takahashi of Studio Hard while attending a World Science Fiction Convention held in Los Angeles in 1984. Those who do cosplay are called cosplayers – people who dress up in a costume or fashion style that represents a specific character from a game, comic book, cartoon, manga, anime or Japanese fashion aesthetic (such as Lolita, maid, or school girl). The concept of cosplaying has actually been growing as a hobby since 1990, becoming a unique and grown pop culture phenomenon in Japan and other countries, like in Vancouver! Cosplay is often associated with “Otaku” culture – a word that describes a person with obsessive interests, commonly with anime and manga fandom. The Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo is a popular gathering otaku site. And if you thought cosplay only had to do with clothes and accessories, you are mistaken! Since 1998, there has been a number of cosplay restaurants popularized in Japan, catering to devoted anime and cosplay fans. Waitresses and/or waiters at such cafes dress up as video game or anime characters, or maids/butlers, in Tokyo’s Akihabara district in Japan. You can actually experience something akin to the real deal at anime conventions in Vancouver! J-Fest in fact had their own version of a "Bishounen Cafe"! These café’s are more than just about food, they are about the entire environment from décor, to the behaviour of the servers and how they interact with customers. At a maid cafe, for example, don't be surprised when the maid servers take your food order and call you "master"!

Octopus’ Garden:

Creating a Disneyland-like Restaurant for All Ages and Nationalities

Reviewed By Junko Mayede, Nikkei Life Editor Photo 2015-03-06, 5 59 42 PM This month I am reviewing Octopus’ Garden, a restaurant celebrating its 23rd anniversary this September. On the day I visited with my co-worker, I noticed that despite the restaurant being packed to the gills, owner and chef Sada-san always seemed to be having a great time chatting with the customers, with a cheery smile on his face. Chef Sada provided us with a unique tasting menu to enjoy! We first tasted a smoked salmon and tomato salad, reveling in the savory aroma of the fish. Next was the restaurant’s specialty, ‘Sada’s Own’ Nomu Uni Shooter – a unique way of tasting fresh sea urchin. Then came 3 kinds of extremely fresh sashimi. This dish was actually presented in a way he thought customers would enjoy it most. The toro (salmon belly) nigiri we tasted just melted in our mouths. He presented it on the counter as if we had suddenly been transported to a kaiten-zushi restaurant (where sushi comes out on a conveyor belt)! I saw with my own eyes Sada-san’s desire for customers to have a wonderful time, as he paid close attention to his customers and the food he served them. Watching Sada’s care and charisma, I felt so appreciative of my meal. I spoke with Sada-san, and he told me that he originally wanted to be a hairstylist or cook because he has always been good with his hands. At age 18, he had the chance to learn Asian fusion cuisine in Japan and became a chef – a useful experience that he got to learn. Q  |  Where does your inspiration for the menu come from? A.  In this multicultural country, I’m not too particular about traditions, thining about what kinds of tastes our customers grew up with at home. I take time to come up with the menu and the way the food is served, as well as make an extra effort to create dishes that are difficult to prepare at home so customers truly enjoy dining at my restaurant. When I asked what his goal for the future was, Sada-san replied, “First is to maintain my health, and then, with a smile, to spend the rest of my life nurturing a Disneyland-like restaurant full of dreams… Why not?” 
Sada remarks, I’m so glad I have mastered so many techniques! Depending on the customer, I like to change the presentation of the food to try and maximize a customer’s experience.
 Restaurant_Octopus' Garden_Mr. Sada


今回は、今年9月で23年目を迎えるOctopus' Gardenを是非紹介したい。 私と同僚が訪れたこの日は、お店が満席で忙しいにも関わらず、オーナー兼シェフのサダさん(星加定俊氏)は、明るい笑顔を忘れず、お客さんとのコミュニケーションを常に楽しそうにされていた。 私たちは、まず、スモークの香りを存分に楽しめるスモークサーモンとトマトのサラダを戴いた。 続いて、新鮮なウニをユニークにアレンジしたレストラン名物のウニ・シューターや、私たちをイメージして盛り付けて戴いた、とても新鮮な刺身三品盛り!! 次には、口の中でとろけてしまうサーモンのトロのにぎりを、カウンターで特製回転寿司のように出していただくなど、食事を楽しみながら美味しく戴いた。 お店にいる間は、少しでも素敵な時間を過ごして欲しいと願う気持ちが、料理に反映され、足を運んでくれている一人一人に目を向け、気配りをされている姿を目の当たりにした私は、出された料理に心から感謝をさせていただいた。元々手先が器用で、美容師か料理人になりたいと考えていたというサダさんは、18歳の時に、日本で和洋折衷料理を学びシェフになられたという。実は、この経験がとても役に立っていると語ってくれた。 Q  |   メニューのインスピレーションは、どこから来ていますか? A.  マルチ・カルチャーであるこの国で、伝統などにこだわりすぎず、来ていただくお客様が、どんな家庭の味で育ってこられたかをイメージし、メニューや料理の出し方など考える事でしょうか。 その上、家でなかなか作れないような食事をこの店で楽しんでいただけるように努力しています!! これからの目標は何ですか?と尋ねたところ、「健康第一に、笑顔で、ディズニーランドのように夢のあるお店を一生続けて行くことですかね」と。
そして最後に「色々と学んでおいて、本当に良かったです‼   お客さんによって、同じ料理でも器を変えたり、料理の出しかたを変えたりもしますよ。」と語っていただいたことをしっかり体験させていただいた夜を過ごした。

Octopus' Garden
1995Cornwall Ave • Vancouver, BC  |   (604)734-8971  |