39th Powell Street Festival A Great Success!

Tonari Gumi’s involvement in this year’s Powell Street Festival was a banner success. FullSizeRender 1sThis was particularly notable because most of Tonari Gumi’s staff were either dealing with the Powell Street Festival for the first time or having to take on responsibilities they had not had before. As a consequence, there were many challenges to overcome and some of the staff had to deal with more stress than normal, but thanks to the exceptional efforts put in by our amazing volunteers, we were able to overcome the initial jitters and deliver the best results for Tonari Gumi in the past five years.

Many people have commented over the years on how enthusiastic Tonari Gumi’s volunteers are and how hard they work at the Powell Street Festival. FullSizeRender (8)What many may not know, however, is how many different volunteers are involved each year. This year, anticipating good weather, we recruited a few more volunteers than normal and some 150 different individuals, ranging from elementary school age to their early 90’s, worked together to bring about Tonari Gumi’s successful results. Tonari Gumi’s food is always popular among the festival goers and this year was no exception with Tonari Gumi selling record numbers of cold noodle salads (hiyashi chu-ka), mochi manju (Japanese sweet rice-cakes); sushi bento boxes, California rolls and inari-zushi (Japanese rice bags). Among the many volunteers who stepped forward to work long hours at producing our delicious and colourful sushi were Kazu Motohashi, Miwako Manns and Yukio Moizumi. FullSizeRender (5)Many others, too numerous to identify individually spent many hours to create the tasty dishes being sold at the Festival. We even imported some of our staff directly from Japan, as two of our volunteers cooking the ramen noodles for our salads, were soba noodle chefs who came specifically to help Tonari Gumi during this festival. Many of our volunteers had served at the Powell Street Festival for many years and were very often much more knowledgeable on what needed to be done than our brand new staff.

Another perennial favourite at Tonari Gumi’s craft and community tent are the many all-occasion cards produced by our seniors.FullSizeRender (9s) Designed with colourful hand-folded origami dolls or individually pressed and dried local flowers, these cards are individual works of art and many hundreds were sold at the Festival. Also popular at the Festival is Tonari Gumi’s used Japanese dolls, used pottery and porcelain, and — of course — the gorgeous used kimono’s and yukatas which were displayed at the entrance to Tonari Gumi’s compound. Current and former directors served at the FullSizeRender (11s)Community Tent and provided information on Tonari Gumi’s on-going programs and up-coming events such as our ever popular Premium Sake Tasting Night.

We wish to extend a special thanks to all of our many suppliers (Angel Seafoods deserves special mention), donors, volunteers and staff. Without all of these many different individuals working together, Tonari Gumi would not be able to achieve what it does. Thank you for your help. Anyone wishing to volunteer at Tonari Gumi, should contact Tonari Gumi at (604) 687-2172 or go on-line at <info@tonarigumi.ca>.

Tonari Gumi is at the Powell Street Festival for the 39th Year!

In other words, Tonari Gumi has been at the Powell Street Festival ever since it started in 1977.PSFS15_Tonari_Gumi_01 This year is no exception and we’re excited to join with the rest of the community in helping to deliver a wonderful summer tradition. Now that Oppenheimer park is available to the community again, Tonari Gumi’s booth locations are back to their traditional locations on Dunlevy Avenue and along Cordova Street.DSC_0211 Tonari Gumi’s food booth on Dunlevy is always a summer treat with our ever-favourite items: hiyashi chuuka salad (cold ramen salad); sushi bento box, inari zushi (some people call them ‘rice bags’), yummy mochi manju (sweet sticky rice cakes), ice cold barley tea and similarly cold iced coffee. The prices are great and the smiles you receive when you are served are free.

Tonari Gumi’s Community Craft Tent is just off Dunlevy along Cordova Street and th004ere you will find the amazing crafts created by our seniors just for your gift giving—to yourself and to all of your friends and relatives.012 We also have used kimonos, used Japanese dolls and other Japanese gift items. A perennial favourite is our “New To You” table where hundreds of used jewelry items are on sale to enhance your summer wardrobe. You can also find copies of Tonari Gumi’s best-selling Japanese cookbook, our durable and re-usable eco-bags, and the fashionable Tonari Gumi t-shirts available for sale. This year, we also have tickets on sale for Tonari Gumi’s 14th Annual Premium Sake Tasting Night.008 As we nearly always sell out, this is your chance to get an early-bird discount and make sure that you have your tickets for this not-to-be-missed event. 013Make sure that you come to this year’s Powell Street Festival and while there, get your food and gift items at the Tonari Gumi food booth and Community Craft Tent. See you there!

Learning About Alzheimer’s

Learning about Alzheimer’s
On July 22nd, Tonari Gumi and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. held an awareness seminar at Tonari Gumi center in Vancouver. With more than 25 seniors and family members attending. Jan Robson from the Alzheimer Society of B.C and Jim Mann, a senior volunteer, conducted a “Dementia Friends” seminar. Mariko, who is Tonari Gumi’s community Service Coordinator, provided English to Japanese translation. It was a very positive experience with everyone having learned a great deal about “how to live with” Dementia.  For more information on other “Senior Life Seminars” where you can learn about important issues in both English and Japanese, affecting seniors within the Japanese-Canadian community, please contact Tonari Gumi at (604) 687-2172.

Alzheimers Society of B.C. seminar

Alzheimers Society of B.C. seminar at Tonari Gumi

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