Oasis Wimmera Japanese event offers cultural feast

WIMMERA people can immerse themselves in all things Japanese while raising money to help people affected by a nuclear disaster.

A Japanese cultural event on Saturday is the latest in Oasis Wimmera’s Tastes of the World series.

Organiser Akina Koh said the event aimed to showcase Japanese cuisine and art.

She said the event at the Salvation Army kitchen in Horsham would include craft items for sale, children’s activities, and an auction.

People will also be able to taste traditional Japanese dishes including sweets and matcha green tea.

“Our aim is for people to be able to appreciate all the different cultures we have in our region through these events,” she said.

“While food is one aspect of it, we also hope people will understand the concept of what it means to be Japanese through different activities.

“We are very fortunate to have a very valuable piece of artwork from international award-winning artist Emi Kamataki that will be up for silent auction.”

Mrs Koh said money raised would go towards helping communities affected after a tsunami in 2011 triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan.

Oasis Wimmera will donate the money directly to Smile with Kids, an Australian-based non-for-profit organisation that invites children from Fukushima to Cairns each year, so they can spend time in an environment that is free from radiation contamination concerns.

“They get to go in the sea, touch leaves and walk barefoot on concrete or grass – something they can't do in Fukushima,” Mrs Koh said.

She said there were common threads between what those communities had faced and the Wimmera.

“Community resilience is something the people of the Wimmera are not unfamiliar with,” she said.

“We are prone to floods and bushfires, and the theme of building back life after disaster is not uncommon.”

The event will also include an art display from Fukushima women, where Wimmera people can write a message of support to the women and their families.

Mrs Koh said Oasis Wimmera aimed to host Tastes of the World events every few months.

“The last one was Indian-themed, and I’m not sure what the next one will be,” she said.