Positive move for Norwich-based Sakura Japanese Yakiniku

Friday, October 5, 2012  Eastern Daily Press.

A Norwich Japanese grill owner who invested £30,000 in moving his business to Ber Street last year said he was positive about the move.

Sakura Japanese Yakiniku, which is run by husband and wife team Orlando Williams and Hiroko Matsuka, moved from White Lion Street last September.The new restaurant, which serves hand-cooked Japanese dishes, can now seat 60 diners and has a 20-seat function area for small occasions.

Mr Williams said: “Our decision to move was to enable us to develop the business, as well as attract more evening business than we were able to achieve at the White Lion address. We wanted to give it a few months to prepare and bed the restaurant into its new location before starting to aggressively market.”

He said his wife, who is the restaurant chef, wanted to spend more time experimenting with dishes for the function business.

Mr Williams said he was confident that by relaunching the restaurant it would lift the Sakura profile and produce new business. He hopes to eventually open restaurants elsewhere in the region.

Norwich diners on eating mission to raise £20,000 for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami fund

Richard Wheeler – Norwich Evening News
Monday, April 9, 2012

A restaurant owner is hoping diners will eat their way to his £20,000 fundraising target – and help Japan recover from last year’s devastating ts

Orlando Williams spent three years living in Okayama before later returning to Norwich to open Sakura, now in Ber Street.

And the married father-of-five is vowing to donate 10pc of the lunchtime takings from his Japanese yakiniku barebecue restaurant in a bid to boost the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fund.

Mr Williams said he fell in love with the country because of its ability to fascinate him during his stay between 2001 and 2004.

He said: “Before I left to go to Japan I was very apprehensive because when you are a foreigner in any country you are not too sure about how life is going to pan out for you.

“Having taken that step to come to England from the Caribbean, St Vincent, I was apprehensive about going to Japan.

“I couldn’t speak the language, didn’t know the culture – I was more worried about going there and how I would be accepted.

 “The fear was just dissipated because of the way I was accepted within the community.

“There’s always something to fascinate and take your interest in Japan. That’s why I feel an affinity to the country and hence my wanting to do this.

“I want to do it as a personal thing and I am hoping the public will be able to support me. My target is £20,000. Don’t ask me how I arrived at that but I think if that money is raised it will help in certain ways.”

Mr Williams runs Sakura with his wife Hiroko Matsuka, who he met in Norwich, with the couple enjoying their first trip together to Japan in 1996. And the former Thorpe St Andrew High School teacher, who first started living in Norwich in 1966, said he had been impressed by the sense of community and celebration of tradition rooted in the Japanese way of life.

But last year’s tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the country’s north coast, wreaked havoc across these communities, killing more than 15,000 people, injuring almost 27,000 and thousands more living in temporary shelter.

Mr Williams said: “Because we are not hearing or seeing it, it doesn’t mean it has been solved. It hasn’t. It’s up to us in a situation where we can do something to help. I feel the desire to do something.”