Performers entertain the crowd at a fundraiser held Oct. 1 at South Surrey’s Japan Bonsai Garden Art

Japan relief gets local help

Fundraiser collects $7,000 for tsunami victims

A silent auction and bonsai sale in South Surrey raised $7,000 in five hours Oct. 1 for victims of the Japan tsunami.

More than 800 people came to the event, which was hosted by Japan Bonsai Garden Art at 16164 24 Ave., and included demonstrations by expert Japanese gardeners, including a bonsai workshop, flower arrangements and Japanese black pine shaping.

Takaaki Yamaura, who organized the event, had been planning the auction and sale ever since the tsunami hit Japan. Immediately after the natural disaster hit, there was an abundance of media coverage and support but that slowly tapered off, Yamaura said.

“Although it is no longer on the front page of the newspaper or broadcast on the news, Japan is still in desperate need of our assistance,” said Yamaura.

“They have a very long road ahead of them.”

Volunteers worked tirelessly to bring the event together, which also had support from local businesses and community members, said Yamaura’s daughter, Natalie.

“Everybody was really supportive, especially the volunteers. Many were personally affected because their families are close to Japan,” Natalie said.

The money will be going through the Japanese consulate to get to Japan, said Yamaura.

Highlights of the evening included traditional Japanese entertainment, live music and guest of honour, Hideki Ito, the consul general of Japan.

Yamaura said the group plans to make this a yearly event and beat their record each year.

 

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