Friends tackle earthquake relief with sumo

Fundraiser for Japan set for July 21 in Victoria

Friends Cheryl Mason and Manami Kamijo throw their weight around in padded sumo wrestling costumes. They are co-organizing Banzai Japan

Manami Kamijo’s wedding was more bittersweet than celebratory.

Missing from the James Bay resident’s guest list were two best friends who chose to remain close to their home in Japan in the aftermath of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and killer tsunami on March 11.

Given that communications following the catastrophe were so faulty, “it made everyone more scared about the earthquake,” Kamijo said.

The decimation of entire communities on the island nation covered media headlines for weeks, but the stories have since faded from the spotlight.

“I kind of feel everyone is forgetting this,” Kamijo said, adding that three months later her homeland is still in crisis mode and in need of support.

Rather than feeling helpless, she and good friend and Cheryl Mason are putting on Banzai Japan, a mock sumo wrestling competition and live music fundraiser.

For a donation, spectators can take turns battling friends on the mat in padded sumo wrestling costumes. Winners get three raffle tickets while the losers get one, making them eligible to win prizes such as restaurant gift certificates and gym memberships.

“It’s pretty awesome how generous people have been,” Mason said of the community’s support. Proceeds from the event on July 21 will go to the Canadian Red Cross’s efforts in Japan.

Doors to the Victoria Event Centre, located at 1415 Broad St. open at 7 p.m. Musical guests include Victoria-based Uminari Taiko drummers, Vancouver rockers Before Helen, Kozue Matsumoto on the koto, and Victoria-based Furusato Dancers, a Japanese folk dance group.

Tickets are $15 if purchased before Tuesday (July 19) at the Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza, 642 Johnson St., or $20 at www.brownpapertickets.com and at the door.

Just Posted

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

Change room thief nabbed by West Shore RCMP Bike Unit

Quick-thinking caller leads police to suspect after witnessing theft

Victoria Shamrocks win proves costly

Shamrocks lose Rhys Duch to a season-ending injury

Victoria fulfills period promise with free menstrual products

Tampons, pads and other products available at City Hall and downtown washrooms

PHOTOS: Car Free YYJ entertains the masses in Victoria

Third annual fair where cars are banned goes off without a hitch

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Man suffers burns, dog dies in fire in Nanaimo

Structure burns down on Clifford Road property in Cedar

Province comes through with funding for Charleigh Fales

Lake Cowichan toddler only one in B.C. diagnosed with CLN2 Batten disease

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Most Read