Doki Doki Report

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On the 10th of November 2018 (Saturday) the annual Doki Doki (“heartbeat”) Japanese Anime festival ( was held in Manchester at the Sudgen Sports Centre.

The day-long festival included demonstrations of martial arts, kimono, dancing and folk music and a large selection of anime related merchandise was on sale. Many of the attendees enjoyed dressing as their favourite anime characters (“cosplay”) creating a colourful and interesting atmosphere. Akemi sat on a panel of Japanese experts taking questions on Japanese culture old and new from the audience. Akemi also gave a lecture on Japanese etiquette.

Meanwhile, charity assistants raised funds by writing people’s names in Japanese Kanji. As in previous years the event was well attended and the organisers of the event contributed £1,000 to Aid for Japan, so once again our thanks go to the Doki Doki team, and Andrew Gaskell in particular for their hard work and generosity.

Maria’s Autumn Visit 2018

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Part of Aid For Japan’s mission is to reach out to some of the orphans from the tragic events of 2011. While the charity aims to connect with these children through the annual summer residential courses, it’s also beneficial for the orphans to visit the UK when the charity can arrange it.

For children that have lost their parents, this is an important step that not only broadens their view of the world but also reminds them that the world remembers them.

In July, Maria was one of the orphans who made the journey from Japan. Maria is one of the children that Aid For Japan has supported since the early days of the charity (as seen in this special TV coverage).

In the first week of her stay, Maria was treated to a professional massage, enjoyed shopping at the Ichiba Japanese Food Hall (part of the Westfield Shopping Centre) and enjoyed a range of tasty evening meals. The culinary delights included yakitori, sushi and also saw Maria helping to cook Italian seafood.

Of course part of any visit to the UK involves visiting popular tourist destinations. As a result, Maria took in a visit to the intriguing London Dungeon, a ride on the London Eye, seeing the fascinating sea-life at the London Aquarium and an educational visit to the Victoria & Albert museum.

But it wasn’t just UK activities for this visit. Maria was also taken on a trip to Paris where she enjoyed a trip to the Eiffel Tower, souvenir shopping at Galleries Lafayette and enjoying crepes for lunch. This French visit was helped by one of Akemi’s Japanese Paris-based language students who kindly acted as a tour guide. As a result, Maria was given an expert sightseeing tour of the Tuileries Gardens, Palais Royal, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter and Jardin du Luxembourg.

Maria’s UK visit was rounded out by a special visit to the Harry Potter studio tour – a magical end to this Japanese teenager’s brief holiday.

Maria, like so many of the orphans of the 2011 earthquake/tsunami, is faced with the memories of that tragic event on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to enjoy a few days in a different environment, which brings them happier memories, is an important step in the road to recovery.

Aid For Japan extends its gratitude to all those that have helped with activities this summer, including the host families and Akemi’s language students.

Aid For Japan at Doki Doki 2018

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Aid For Japan founder Akemi Solloway will be a guest at the forthcoming Doki Doki Manchester Japanese Festival on the 10th November.

The organisers of the event have also selected Aid For Japan as their charity of choice for this year’s festival.

Doki Doki, which takes place on Saturday 11th November, will feature a wealth of events and guests including Helen McCarthy, Andrew Osmond, Sophie Carroll and Art Historian and Curator Helena Gaudekova. The event will also be screening Japanese films and anime titles and will have a variety of musical guests.

Doki Doki takes place on Saturday 10th November at Sugden Sports Centre, Manchester. Tickets from £12.50 via

Aid for Japan Charity Dinner Tsurumi, Japan

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The charity dinner was organized by Aid for Japan to raise funds to help orphans of the 2011 Tsunami. The event was held in June at the Ten no In temple in Tsurumi near Yokohama city.

The temple was founded in AD 858 by the Tendai Buddhist sect (this is the Japanese website:

Guests at the dinner included members of Zonta International and The Rotary Club hailing from as far afield as the United States, England and Italy as well as local Japanese members and members of the Nara Zonta club. Star guest was a girl who is 17 years old, one of the orphans of the Tsunami.

After a tour around the temple grounds, the guests assembled to watch the temple’s head monk chant Buddhist sutras in front of the Butsudan in the beautiful main prayer room of the temple.

Everybody then moved on to the temple’s airconditioned dining room where a great spread of Japanese food (sushi, sashimi, steamed rice and vegetables, tempura battered fish amongst other items) lay in wait.

While the guests cooled down with glasses of beer, wine and sake, they were treated to a performance of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, curtesy of Ms Yukiko Murano and her assistant. Following this, Yukiko sensei was assisted by a model who demonstrated how to wear a kimono.

After a number of group photographs had captured the event, the satisfied guests returned to their Yokohama hotels.

The event raised £459 for Aid for Japan. Thank you to everybody who attended this dinner and especial thanks to Miss Sumika Hayakawa, Mr Ishiwata and Ms Murano for their kind help and support.

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