|I wish to have a pleasant meal again with my friends at that restaurant! I want to be of some help to them! These wishes have taken shape.|
The initiative was launched mainly by 10 volunteers residing in Hiroshima City, with the aim of supporting struggling restaurants in Hiroshima in the COVID-19 pandemic by selling advance tickets.
Starting from our wish to have pleasant meals again at those restaurants and to support them!
Interviewer：What motivated you to make the tickets?
Mr. KITAMURA：Seeing many restaurants suffering from the impact of COVID-19, I wanted to revitalize the town and enjoy meals at my favorite restaurants. Such a wish motivated me to make the tickets. I also felt frustrated that I could do nothing under these circumstances, which made me feel like starting something helpful. I work with other members with different business backgrounds, who often enjoy eating and drinking with me. We worked as volunteers when Hiroshima was hit by landslides. I did that because I wanted to give a helping hand to those who were hurt by the disaster, and also to ease my conscience.
Tickets made to represent their wishes
Interviewer：Is there anything that you could achieve because you are a volunteer organization? And what were the difficulties you faced in making and delivering the tickets?
Mr. KITAMURA：The advantage of a volunteer group is being able move quickly, which enabled us to provide support early. We formulated a draft plan of the project in late March and, a couple of days later, started moving to realize the plan. I think we sparked the moves of government support and other support activities. Since the tickets are equivalent to cash vouchers, we went to the finance bureau to consult on relevant laws. This was a hard part because it was related to money. Our members designed the tickets and we delivered them with other members and their acquaintances. I think that the cooperation of the members helped us achieve this project.
Tickets were the mental support
Interviewer： What effect did the tickets have on the restaurants? At the okonomiyaki restaurant we visited, we heard that some of the customers paid cash even though they had purchased the tickets.
Mr. KITAMURA：These tickets gave the restaurant owners psychological support. Due to COVID-19, the number of people who eat out has decreased. Some restaurant owners felt that they were not needed and even began to consider closing their stores. However, the presence of customers who had purchased the tickets supported them psychologically. The tickets can be used anytime as long as the restaurant exists. So you may choose not to use it but just keep it. If people forget about the tickets, I think it indicates a good situation.
Hiroshima Restaurants Mirai Ticket Group
We conducted interviews!
NAKAGAWA Rika（Yasuda Women’s University）：Value the ties among people!!
YOSHIZANE Saki（Yasuda Women’s University）：We were able to know the wishes of many people.
Comment from editor
Through the interview, we felt the strong wish of the Hiroshima Restaurants Mirai Ticket Group members embodied in the tickets. Through the interviews with restaurants that used the tickets, we learned not only their situations but also about the warm support they received from their customers, which we had not imagined. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the support of many people, the group has achieved SDG Goal 8 “Decent work and economic growth” through the tickets. We have thus learned that the efforts to solve problems of local communities are related to the SDGs.