JAPANESE culture is blossoming in the surfing community of Dicky Beach, thanks to Genta Tsukimori.
Genta, who owns Yume Japanese Restaurant in Rooke St, is committed to sharing the best of his knowledge and heritage.
For two years, he has been working with local high schools whose students are studying the Japanese language.
Genta invites groups of students to his restaurant to gain new experiences - a great alternative to classroom-based learning.
They practise ikebana (flower arranging), calligraphy, traditional tea ceremonies, the art of origami and sushi making - all while conversing in his native tongue.
Genta said the students really enjoyed the experience. It gave them an opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture.
The father-of-three has been a Dicky Beach resident for six years and is an active member of the lifesaving community.
After a career as a managing director for international health care seminars, Genta has been in the hospitality industry for only three years.
He calls his cuisine "life-saving foods" and is dedicated to promoting the health benefits of the Japanese diet.
"My mission is to promote Dicky Beach as a healthy community," Genta said.
He has a strong sense of community spirit and has developed a disaster victims' support charity through the restaurant which stemmed from the 2011 Japanese
Six Japanese residents benefited from the charity in the aftermath and were sponsored to travel to the Sunshine Coast for rehabilitation.
The money is raised within the community by special functions held at Yume such as traditional tea ceremonies and ikebana workshops.
Genta also used donated funds to buy a beach-access wheelchair, which is available for the disabled and elderly to enjoy the beauty of Dicky Beach while escorted by a member of Yume's staff.
His love of Dicky Beach is infectious and he is gaining local support for his different charity focuses.
Genta even promotes Dicky Beach produce by making his own sea salt from the ocean across the road.
For Sunshine Coast residents who would like to try Japanese culture, Genta recommends starting with the food.
Before moving to its new premises in Dicky Beach, Yume was hosting a Sushi and Healthy night, which became very popular.
For a set price, random menu choices appear at your table until you can take no more, and as Genta suggests, it allows people to try things that they would not usually order.
From June, Genta plans to host these nights every Monday.
If you're after a bit of theatre, Yume also provides a sushi bar proudly manned by head chef Shiro Kitamura who trained in Japan and has 36 years' experience in slicing and dicing the freshest of fish.
According to the World Health Organisation, Japanese people have the longest life expectancy in the world and one of the main reasons is the traditional diet.
So take a leaf out of Genta's book and swap fish and chips for sushi and edamame once in a while, and you might just live forever.
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