Japanese man opens free café for Kharkiv citizens after living underground with them for 9 months

22 April, 01:55 PM
The Japanese helps the people of Kharkiv (Photo:Скріншот сюжету)

The Japanese helps the people of Kharkiv (Photo:Скріншот сюжету)

A 75-year-old Japanese citizen opened the Fumi café in Kharkiv that offers free hot meals to all comers, Ukraine’s TSN visited the café on April 19.

Fuminori Tsuchiko was travelling through Ukraine when the Russian full-scale war started and decided to stay to help Ukrainians. In June, he moved to the Kharkiv Metro to support locals who were hiding there from Russian shelling.

After the Ukrainian army liberated Kharkiv and the Kharkiv Metro resumed its work, the Japanese man found another way to help Ukrainians — by offering them free hot meals.

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Tsuchiko knows most of his visitors personally, as he spent nine months living in the underground with them while hiding from Russian missiles and drones.

"Everyone has to eat every day. And at least once a day I want to feed people, because most of them have difficulties with money," Tsuchiko said.

The cooks were found through ads. They serve three-course meals and tea with sweets.

While Tsuchiko doesn’t speak English well, and few locals understand Japanese, they manage to find a common language.

He launched the café with his own money that he received from the sale of his apartment in Japan. Friends, charities, and social media followers pitch in.

The Fumi café is located near his apartment in Saltivka, near Northen Saltivlka, the most damaged district of Kharkiv.

Tsuchiko doesn’t plan on returning to Japan just yet and wants to stay in Ukraine as long as the people need his help.

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