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China-Japan friendship concept share-house opens its second branch in Asakusa - Seeks financial donation for renovation

China-Japan friendship concept share-house opens its second branch in Asakusa - Seeks financial donation for renovation

OwnerMr.Takashi Shimizu

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Situated 8 minutes away by foot from Tokyo Metro's Minowa station is the share-house "Panda House", which opened it's second branch to guests on July 25. The establishment encompasses a concept of "Chinese-Japanese friendship", as owner Mr. Kiyomizu enthuses with namimg of "panda" as a symbolism for the friendship of the two countries. The share-house is 4 storeys tall, and consists of 17 rooms. Mr. Kiyomizu says this as a reason for opening a second branch in Asakusa: "In Taito ward, we have tradition-rich Asakusa, as well as Pandas from China at Ueno Zoo".

"During my University years, I shared a dormitory with a student from China. I learned and gained an interest through exposure to authentic Chinese cooking" Mr. Kiyomizu reflects. In addition, with experience living near Shanghai for half-a-year due to work, he adds "I was able to have cultural exchange with the locals, I was taken good care of." Following his return to Japan, he realized that there were few places where people from China and Japan can interact. Therefore, he established the Chinese-Japanese cultural exchange associaton, where once membership reached over 300, it occured to him that "I wanted to do this 24/7, so I had to make a place where Chinese Japanese exchange can happen anytime". This encouraged him to open his first share-house in July 2014.

In the share-house, activities such as mochi pounding, and the making of cakes wrapped in leaves take place according to the season. Mr. Kiyomizu enthuses "Although it is my own culture, I realize that there are many aspects I don't understand." By setting up a whiteboard, he is happy that event visitors leave messages "encouraging me to continue being a bridge for great relations between Japan and China" he mentions beaming. "Through this place, connections between people are increasing rapidly. I hope to continue to do this until the phrase "China Japan culture exchange" disappears through fostering great relationships and removing cultural barriers," he shares.

Donations to aid in the renovation of the second branch are taking place through the crowd funding website "READYFOR".

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