By C. Chrystal DeCoster
With a little luck and continued help like this, there just might be Matsuri’s delicious Flu Buster Soup available in Lyons again someday soon.
A generous check of $3,500 from Japan was served up this weekend to Yumi and Takami Sueyoshi of Sushi Matsuri, a before-the-flood restaurant on Main Street. The Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) was fortunate to receive a matching check as well.
Japan’s massive March 2011 tsunami and earthquake prompted a rally of relief efforts from all over the globe. Locally, Matsuri hosted a wildly successful fundraiser that April which raised $10,000. Debi Stevenson, former owner of The Language Shop in Lyons, the Sueyoshi family, and Nick Schneider, once a student of Stevenson’s, spearheaded the event.
Schneider, an astrophysicist at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), a University of Colorado research organization, was coincidentally attending an atmospheric conference near the epicenter of the disaster at Tōhoku University in Japan. In the aftermath Schneider, who had limited Japanese language abilities, was graciously cared for in local evacuation centers near the ravaged research center in the catastrophically devastated town of Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture and largest city in the Tōhoku region.
The Lyons-raised recovery funds were funneled to Tōhoku University, the city of Ishinomaki, a fishing co-op that lost its fleet, a dairy farmer whose herd was swept out to sea, a friend of Yumi’s, Shigeru Kawamura, who lost his home, Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development (NICCO), and to the American Red Cross efforts that helped meet basic needs, provide potable water, equip survivors with appliances, repair damaged medical facilities, and aid the elderly and children.
On the heels of last fall’s flood here in Lyons, Schneider’s friends and colleagues at the hard hit Tōhoku University’s Planetary Plasma and Atmospheric Research Center reciprocated with kindness. Their “Fundraising Activity to Return the Favor to Lyons,” coordinated largely by Mizuki Yoneda and his boss, Soichi Okano, collected contributions from area residents, researchers and students for the owners of Sushi Matsuri and the LCF. This benevolence is exceptionally extraordinary given that many are still struggling to get back to normal inearly three years hence.
Online are ongoing efforts to specifically assist the Sueyoshi family via the Fundly site. The proceeds flowing forth to the LCF through www.lyonscf.org/, continue to systemically fuel relief efforts throughout the community. The funding of Japan’s recovery efforts persists as well. One noted site to make contributions there is: http://donate-japan.com/.
Willard Scott, an American actor, clown and media personality once deflected, “It was a big story and yesterday’s soup. Who cares?” In this particular situation, involving a flood, tsunami and earthquake continents apart, it seems many people still care empathetically about yesterday’s big stories as well as about facilitating the return of things enjoyed before the disaster, such as Flu Buster Soup on the menu at Matsuri’s.