Japanese cuisine cooking school for foreign people starts a new program targeting corporations, called “team-building training with vegan Japanese cuisine”. Through the training, corporations can also implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

The school aims for not only showing the appeal of Japanese cuisine to the world, but also providing cooking classes, in which people can contribute to society.

A new method for development of human resources via vegan Japanese cuisine cooking class, which was designed to activate organizations, build a team, and promote intercultural exchange, has started.

The association of vegan and vegetarian Japanese cuisine cooking class in Japan (Notes: It is not an official English name, but word‐for‐word translation from Japanese), a general corporate judicial person

A vegan Japanese cuisine cooking school for foreign people, BentoYa Cooking (representative director: Akiko Sugawara, head office: Minatoku, Yokohama), has started a support program providing meals for children with various difficulties, called “One meal for Two”. Every time they hold a lesson, they make a donation of money, which is almost equivalent to one meal, via an authorized nonprofit organization, katariba. They would like to provide chance to have new viewpoints for participants of the training, by adding factor of CSR to the existing team-building training with Japanese cuisine cooking.

■ What is the team-building training with vegan Japanese cuisine cooking?

The training is a new method for development of human resources through vegan Japanese cuisine cooking. It was designed to activate organizations, build a team, and promote intercultural exchange. BentoYa Cooking holds Japanese cuisine cooking classes not only for individual customers, but also providing special classes customized for corporations and local governments.

[Course of the training]
1. Self‐introduction from participants and guidance for the training
2. Selecting menus, sharing of roles and reaching a consensus in the same team
3. Vegan Japanese cuisine cooking practice
4. Evaluating completed dishes and tasting them
5. Reviewing the training

[Examples of introduction]
・ Improving teamwork between foreign and Japanese employees and activating interaction of them.
・ Providing experience of Japanese cuisine for foreign guests and strengthen partnership between them and Japanese employees
・ New employee training for foreign staff
・ As a part of CSR

Bento (a Japanese-style packed lunch) training for an inspection group from Cabinet Office

[Three goals for which you can expect effects of the training]

1. Team-building
While participants complete Japanese cuisine dishes, they reach a consensus with other members and experience the excitement of achieving goals with a team. From this, they can learn teamwork and thoughtfulness for others, in other word, guessing someone’s thought and harmony among people, which are also required by their work.

● The reason why Japanese cuisine was selected for the theme of the training
Cooking allows people to communicate well each other, even they use different languages and have different customs. Besides, Japanese cuisine has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage, so that it attracts attention from foreigners and Japanese people. For that reason, by selecting Japanese cuisine as the theme, it can be expected that the training effect increases. Through making creative sushi or bento, you can understand each participant’s character: who has cooperative personality or leadership or creativity.

Creative vegetable sushi training

Creative vegan bento

2. Viewpoint of food education, which is able to be continued by participants after the training
After the training, participants can take “sustainable vegetarian meals only made of vegetable food” in their daily meals. Participants can learn how to cook vegan Japanese cuisine only using vegetable food and concept of vegan; regardless of vegetarian or not, every participant experience that vegan cuisine can be made easily.

● The reason why they make vegan Japanese cuisine only with vegetable food
They would like to spread Japanese cuisine only with vegetable food, which is soft for body and also for the earth, to the world. Perhaps vegan is still unfamiliar concept in Japan, however, the number of people selecting vegetarian meal is increasing in the world for the reason of animal welfare, religious meal, health, or sustainable society, etc. According to honichi labo (a news site providing Japanese inbound information), it was estimated that approximately 5 % of the all foreign visitors to Japan in 2017 are vegetarian or vegan.
Reference site: https://honichi.com/news/2019/02/08/hanedaairportxvegan/

3. Contribution to society
As an original project of its own, the association supports children with various difficulties in Japan by providing meals via the authorized nonprofit organization, katariba.

● The reason why they support children with providing meals in Japan
The representative director, Akiko Sugawara, was impressed by activity of “table for two program”. Through the program, every time a consumer buys a specific set meal or food, 20 Japanese yen is contributed to school lunch for children in developing countries. From this, she started to have strong wish to spread the support activity with providing meals to children in Japan.

Perhaps it is not well-known that about one out of seven children aged 17 and under is suffering from financial difficulties in Japan. However, according to overview of comprehensive survey of living conditions in 2016 performed by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, poverty rate of children in Japan is 13.9 % (in 2015). A word, poverty of children is used to a child grown up in a home with yearly household income less than 1.22 million Japanese yen.

A workshop teaching mirin (sweet sake used as seasoning) to foreigners

[The association of vegan and vegetarian Japanese cuisine cooking class in Japan, a general corporate judicial person (BentoYa Cooking)]

Business content
1. Cooking school project teaching vegan and vegetarian Japanese cuisine, which is tasty and able to be reproduced anywhere in the world
2. Training project for people who want to be an authorized lecturer teaching Japanese cuisine to foreigners
3. Vegan Japanese cuisine tour project for foreigners
4. Marketing project about domestic or foreign vegan market

A general corporate judicial person, the association of vegan and vegetarian Japanese cuisine cooking class in Japan, has been established from one wish; that is, providing more opportunities to enjoy Japanese cuisine for foreigners, who are residents or visitors to Japan and has been difficult to have that kind of chance, because of delay in food diversity (providing various food options, which can be selected by the reason of religious meal, individual thought, and also allergy to specific foods) in Japan.

There is a demand for the vegan and vegetarian Japanese cuisine cooking class for foreigners, and it is larger than the association imagined before its start. They has opened a training school for people who want to be an instructor teaching Japanese cuisine to foreigners in foreign languages. They would like to help Japan to be connected with the world by teaching Japanese cuisine, which is tasty and able to be reproduced anywhere in the world.

Kamiooka branch (Yokohama), Kasai branch (Tokyo), branch located in front of Kyoto station (Kyoto), Kodenma branch (Tokyo), and Tsukishima Branch (Tokyo)

[Vegan Japanese cuisine cooking class held in April 2019]
On April 7th, 2019 (Sunday), 5 minutes walk from Yoga station (in Tokyo)
From 10:30 to 13:00: Character bento ( containing food decorated to look like cute characters) of Shaun the Sheep
From 14:00 to 16:30: Vegetarian dishes with motif of cherry blossom

On April 20th, 2019 (Saturday), 15 minutes walk from Kamiooka station (in Kanagawa)
A charity event by an animal shelter in the U.S. navy base in Yokosuka
Notes: All profit of the event will be contributed to the animal shelter (Pets are Worth Saving, PAWS).
From 10:30 to 13:00: Vegan bento

Every Saturday 7 minutes walk from Kyoto station (in Kyoto)
From 11:00 to 14:00: Vegan noodles and dumplings

■ Appearing in the media
A radio show broadcasted by J-WAVE (81.3MHz), “ALL GOOD FRIDAY”
Broadcast time: March 15th, 2019 (Friday), from 11:30 to 16:00 (They were introduced in “CHOYA NATURAL BEAUTY”, a short program in the show.)

■Product cooperative corporations list (in random order)
KAZETOHIKARI Co., Ltd. https://kazetohikari.jp/
Kyoritsu foods Co., Ltd. (word‐for‐word translation from Japanese) https://www.kyoritsu-foods.co.jp/
cocowell Co., Ltd. (word‐for‐word translation from Japanese) http://www.cocowell.co.jp/
Kobayashiseimen Co., Ltd. (word‐for‐word translation from Japanese) https://www.kobayashiseimen.jp/
Sumiya Bunjiro Brewery Co., Ltd. The Brewer of Sanshu Mikawa Mirin http://www.mikawamirin.com/

[The authorized nonprofit organization katariba]
The authorized nonprofit organization katariba is an educational NPO, which was established in 2001. Since the foundation, they have aimed for a society in which people believe that everyone can create a future regardless of the place where they were grown up. Their business includes “katariba” (career education programs for high school students), “collaboration school” (after school lessons for damaged areas). In addition to these, they has also developed other projects to reflecting the change of social issues, such as “b-lab” (secret bases for junior high or high school students), “my project” (in which high school students tackle local problems), “onsen campus” (making local areas more attractive by education), and “Adachi base” (providing learning and whereabouts for children with difficulties). They have consistently given high priority to educational activity for growing a motivation to learn: which is full of spontaneous mind, and becomes the power to overcome various unpredictable difficulties in future. For this purpose, they values “bias-free human relation” (relation with other than parents, teachers, friends, or seniors) and “conversations which show real intentions” from their start to today.