USJC would like to express its sincere appreciation to Associate Members Adam Moriwaki and Jasmine Wilson for organizing this event!
Co-organizers Adam Moriwaki and Jasmine Wilson
On March 13, USJC hosted the inaugural New York City Culinary Diplomacy Event commemorating the tragic events of 3/11, which occurred almost exactly four years ago. Thanks to generous contributions from Azasu, Beam Suntory, East, Go! Go! Curry, Hatsuhana, Ito En, Jin Ramen, Lady M, New York Japanese Culinary Academy, Ozeki, Sake Discoveries, Sapporo, and Wasan, attendees enjoyed delicious food and drinks highlighting the culinary tradition of Japanese cuisine. Recognizing the losses suffered by families on 3/11, the event sought to achieve meaningful connections through food, which often creates associations and feelings of “home.”
Attendance was strong as evidenced by over 100 guests, including USJC members, corporate sponsors, friends, and others who wanted to share in the experience and support USJC and TOMODACHI (50% of net proceeds will go to support TOMODACHI initiatives). Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, the new Consul General, took the time to attend despite having arrived in New York only a week ago. "A wonderful example of 'soft power,' Japanese cuisine holds vast appeal. Fine Japanese food and sake draw people together - and it does so tonight, thanks to the U.S.-Japan Council," he said in his opening remarks. "The Government of Japan considers USJC an important organization. Through its work in strengthening our relations with Japanese American communities nationwide, the Council always gives Japan valuable support and guidance."
(L-R) Council Member Allen Okamoto, Ambassador Takahashi, Mrs. Takahashi, Mrs. Okamoto
USJC Vice Chairman Gary Moriwaki and USJC Executive Vice President & COO Suzanne Basalla conveyed USJC and TOMODACHI’s missions. Other attendees of note include Motomu Takahashi (President & CEO, Mitsui & Co.), TJ Kumakura (Chief Representative, Suntory Holdings), TOMODACHI UNIQLO Fellows, and Stuart Eisenkraft (Vice Chairman, CBRE).
The soba demonstration was very popular with guests
The event included a soba demonstration by soba master Shuichi Kotani of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy and a silent auction featuring items kindly donated by Sony, the New York Yankees, Shizuka Spa, Hideki Matsui, Beq Bettina, and various local restaurants. While the event was co-organized by USJC members Jasmine Wilson and Adam Moriwaki, it could not have happened without the dedication and support of USJC Associate Members and Emerging Leaders Program alumni Georgette Furukawa-Martinez, Taiki Wakayama, and Kenshiro Uki; USJC Board Members Gary Moriwaki and Fred Katayama; Council Member Susan Hamaker; and NYJCA members Richard Kashida and Shuichi Kotani. Special thanks to all participants, donors, supporters, and attendees for making the event a wonderful occasion filled with good company and, of course, amazing food and drinks!
Click here to see more photos from the event.