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Just as I landed in South East Asia, the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan (where I was supposed to land shortly after).  Upon seeing the immediate destruction on twitter, I knew I needed to somehow help the victims upon my return, where I figured I could do the most good.  Simultaneously, an overwhelming amount of requests from my kind & generous facebook & twitter friends asked that I put together an impactful event that they too can join, so that we can all help the victims of this tragedy together.

As I made my way home, I strategized with my Sunda business partner Aeron Lancero who took immediate initiative working with the Japanese Consulate on our behalf, along with many other Asian American Community organizations, to form an “Alliance” with our Sunda & Rockit Ranch team, to create an event that would benefit one of the top charities in the U.S., that donates 100% of its proceeds directly to the cause.  The organization we chose is Direct Relief International, our event will be held on Friday, April 15th at Sunda, and we will feature a cocktail reception with passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a four-course seated dinner with live performances by JASC Tsukasa Japanese Taiko drummers, Classical Japanese dance and Japanese folk music.

Hopefully you can tell we are going all out to make a major contribution here.  To do so, we need to all be a part of this alliance and do whatever we each can, as best we can.  Tickets to our event are available here.  Most important, whether attending or not, if you could be good enough to spread this info (full press release below) to all the people, sites, press, bloggers, twitter & facebook friends, family, office mates… Anyone else you can think of, you too will be helping all greatly.  Thank you so much!

For Immediate Release:

100 % of Proceeds support Direct Relief International, a relief fund for victims of the recent national tragedies in Japan

CHICAGO –Sunda, located at 110 West Illinois Street, will host a fundraising dinner for Direct Relief International, directly benefitting the recent earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.  Direct Relief International, one of the top rated charities in the United States, is currently coordinating support for relief and recovery efforts in high-level emergency consultations with Japanese organizations, business leaders, and government officials.

The event, to be held on Friday, April 15th, will feature a cocktail reception with passed hors d’oeuvres starting at 6:00pm followed by a four-course seated dinner. Dinner will be accompanied by live performances that include JASC Tsukasa Japanese Taiko drummers,  Classical Japanese dance by Fujima  Shunojo and Fujima Yoshinojo, and Japanese Minyo (folk music) by Yoko Noge with shamisen accompaniment by Tatsu Aoki. Also during dinner, members of the associated groups and Direct Relief will be showcasing their current efforts to provide relief to the people of Japan.

The cost per ticket is $150 but will also be accepting in kind donations and sponsorships. Tickets can be purchased at  In addition, there will be a silent auction of an array of gifts donated by many members of the Chicago community. 100% of all proceeds will go to the relief fund that aids efforts to help Japan recover from the natural disaster.

Organizations of the alliance to ‘Help Japan’ include  JACL (Japanese American Citizens League), JASC (Japanese American Service Committee) and The FAN (Filipino American Network).   Event Co-Hosts include KABA (Korean American Bar Association),  IABA (Indian American Bar Association),  AABA (Asian American Bar Association) and OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans).

For more information or reservations contact Jamie Weil via email at or via telephone at 310-270-3054.

About Sunda

Chicago’scomfortably stylish New Asian restaurant serving contemporary interpretations of traditional dishes from Japan, China and the Southeast Asian Island region,is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight and on Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Valet parking is available during all hours of operation. For more information or reservations, please call (312) 644-0500 or visit

About Direct Relief International

Direct Relief International is California’s largest medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and 70 countries. It works with more than 1,000 health clinics across the U.S. to assist in emergencies and an ongoing basis, providing them with free medications for people in need.  Direct Relief is among the largest medical suppliers to Haiti in response to the 2010 earthquake.  For more information, please go to

About Rockit Ranch Productions

Rockit Ranch Productions is Chicago’s premier restaurant and entertainment development company, specializing in the creation, marketing and management of some of the city’s top venues including the New Asian restaurant Sunda, as well as the The Underground and the ever-popular Rockit Bar & Grill (with locations in River North and Wrigleyville). For more information, please go to


About Japanese American Citizens League

“The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, with 112 chapters across the United States and a chapter in Japan. The JACL’s ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry.”

Direct Relief International has collaboratedwith the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) to support relief and recovery efforts in Japan through the formation of the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund.  100% of funds donated to the Japan Relief and RecoveryFund, which will be managed by Direct Relief International, will be dedicated exclusively to relief and recovery efforts in Japan.  For more information, please go to

About Japanese American Service Committee

Established in 1946, the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) is currently providing support groups and counseling for individuals traumatized by the devastation in Japan.  The JASC also provides a vast array of psychosocial programs with special expertise in culturally and linguistically-sensitive services not widely available in other traditional care settings.  In addition, the JASC offers programs, classes and events that not only preserve the culture, history and legacy of Japanese Americans, but also keeps them living, developing and relevant in today’s contemporary culture.  For more information, go to

About The Filipino American Network (FAN)

The FAN is a Chicago-based cultural education networking 501( c ) 3 organization focused on engaging and reconnecting Filipino-Americans with their Philippine culture and traditions through events and opportunities that include monthly mixers and our annual events such asAdobofest, The Chicago Filipino-American Film Festival, Senior Gift Basket Drive and the Passport to the Philippines at the Children’s museum at Navy Pier. For more information, please go to

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