U.S. Japanese Restaurant Chain Donates US$100,000 in Earthquake Relief

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Tzu Chi USA CEO Debra Boudreaux (third right) accepts donations on behalf of the organization from Daisuke Suzuki (fourth left) and Tomomi Kihara (third left), representatives of Japanese eatery Gyutan Tsukasa.

Los Angeles, April 13 (CNA) Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s United States national headquarters received a US$100,000 (NT$3.23 million) donation from a Japanese restaurant chain on Saturday for Taiwan’s April 3 earthquake.

Representatives Daisuke Suzuki and Tomomi Kihara of Japanese eatery Gyutan Tsukasa, which specializes in grilled beef tongue, presented a check to Tzu Chi representatives at the foundation’s U.S. headquarters in San Dimas, California.

Aside from two locations in Japan, Gyutan Tsukasa opened its first overseas branch in Costa Mesa, California in 2013.

Both Suzuki and Kihara were received by Tzu Chi USA CEO Debra Boudreaux (曾慈慧), who also took the opportunity to display the foundation’s popular refugee tents that have recently been the talk of the town among Japanese nationals after being introduced on television.

Speaking with CNA, Suzuki revealed that the donation was the restaurant company’s way of returning the generosity of Taiwanese to Japan during the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

According to Suzuki, the founding establishment and headquarters of Gyutan Tsukasa is located in Sendai, the capital of Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, where recovery and reconstruction from the disaster continues to this day.

As a show of gratitude, Suzuki said Gyutan Tsukasa’s owner, Aizawa Koji, makes donations whenever Taiwan faces a disaster, such as the 2016 southern Taiwan earthquake.

On a personal note, Suzuki said he was present in Sendai during the 2011 disaster which destroyed his hometown Shichigahama.

Suzuki said back then many Taiwanese went to the location to assist victims and help with disaster relief.

As a fellow survivor of a devastating disaster, Suzuki wanted the victims of the April 3 temblor to not give up the hope for a brighter future.