Every season, the JCCCW’s Ganbaru Internship hosts Yuji’s Omusubi, and event which aims to bridge a connection between Japanese and Japanese American youth to learn more about each other and their shared heritage.
FREE (Donations are Appreciated)
Who is Yuji?
When former Hyogo Business and Cultural Center (HBCC) intern, Yuji Sasagaki first arrived in the United States he looked forward to meeting and getting to know young Japanese Americans. However, he soon discovered that there were few opportunities for Japanese national college students to interact with their Nikkei counterparts. Despite their obvious shared heritage, Japanese American and Japanese national youth rarely cross paths due in part to language and cultural barriers. “Being a Nisei, I’ve always felt that the Japanese community and the Japanese American community are somewhat distant and separated from each other,” said recent University of Washington graduate, Lisa Akiyama. Determined to bring these two groups together, Yuji approached the JCCCW and HBCC about creating an event to facilitate international exchange and fellowship among Japanese national and Japanese American college students and young professionals. “The central mission of HBCC has always been kakehashi (bridge), and when Yuji came to work for us, he really embodied the mission,” said HBCC Programming Director, Benjamin Erickson.
What is Yuji’s Omusubi?
The inaugural Yuji’s Omusubi event, named after Yuji for his hard work and dedication to the program, was an instant success attracting over forty participants and uncovered a community need to bring Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans closer together. While Yuji returned to Japan in September of 2010, Yuji’s Omusubi has quickly become one of JCCCW and HBCC’s most popular programs bringing people together through cooking and eating Japanese and Japanese American dishes. These events give participants the opportunity to learn new recipes, create community and make new friends. Past Yuji’s Omusubi have included okonomiyaki, nabe, and omusubi cooking classes and community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.