Students enjoy Japanese culture, while donating to charity


By Gloria Stone - Staff Writer

For the first time in California University International Club history, the International Dinner benefited Second Harvest Japan.

Second Harvest Japan is a charity that creates food resources for those in need throughout Japan. Second Harvest Japan has helped children at orphanages, single parent households, as well as disabled people who are on a low income.

The International Club asked all of those attending to purchase tickets for the event. The total amount of the tickets sold would be donated to the charity.

The theme for the International Dinner was Japan. The evening entailed dinner and entertainment of all sorts.

“We chose Japan this year because we wanted to do a fund raiser, something the International Club has never done before,” International Club President Sara Di Benedetto (senior/sports management) said.

“We researched a charity then decided to sell tickets opposed to giving away free tickets and the money from the tickets is going to the Second Harvest Japan for relief,” Di Benedetto said.

Two guest chefs Hiroko Shimbo and Shuichi Kotani, along with AVI, presented dinner to those in attendance. Chef Hiroko Shimbo is a world renowned Japanese chef. She is a trained sushi chef, chef-instructor, as well as involved with the media. Shimbo appeared for the second time at California University of Pennsylvania during the International Dinner. She previously presented the art of Japanese tea to students and faculty in 2010.

Chef Shuichi Kotani studied soba for a decade in Japan before moving to New York City. He is a well-known Chef in Japan, as well as the United States.

“I love Japanese and I knew in my pocket I had Hiroko Shimbo who was just a phone call away; she was here last year and I knew I also had Chef Kotani,” Billy Cowherd, director of community relations, AVI, said.

A video from the students of the International Club was presented to introduce everyone to this year’s event. Chef Shuichi Kotani demonstrated how soba noodles are made; with hard work, dedication and an art to the Japanese food and culture.

After the demonstration, the evening ended with a performance by the West Virginia University’s Percussion Society who shared the drumming of the Taiko Drums.

The Taiko drums were presented in 600 A.D. in Japan. The drums are used to communicate, celebrate and invigorate the masses. There are many traditions dealing with the performances of the Taiko Drums.

If anyone missed the International Dinner you can still donate to Second Harvest Japan at

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