Ukrainians recently celebrated the 75th birthday of the Japanese man who earlier this year opened a free cafe for those in need in the city of Kharkiv amid the Russian invasion.
Background: Fuminori Tsuchiko was visiting Ukraine as a tourist in February 2022 when Russian forces broke into the country. After the Japanese embassy told him to evacuate, he moved to Poland but returned two months later.
Tsuchiko spent the next seven months underground, living with Ukrainians in subway stations and helping distribute food for them. He then teamed up with a Ukrainian friend to find a better way to help others.
The result was FuMi Caffe, which they set up in Kharkiv’s Saltivka neighborhood in April. Funded by donations, the cafe currently serves free hot meals to about 1,000 people every day.
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Best birthday ever: On Sunday, , Ukraine’s former deputy minister of internal affairs, shared a now-viral video on X showing Kharkiv residents surrounding Tsuchiko for his 75th birthday. He also revealed that the Japanese senior had sold his home in Japan to move to Kharkiv.
Tsuchiko shared the video on his own X page, calling it “the best birthday of my life.” He also posted a clip of himself receiving a Kharkiv “Hero” award from the mayor’s office.
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Reactions: X users flooded Tsuchiko with birthday greetings.
“Happy birthday, Mr. Tsuchiko! You are an inspiration and a blessing to Kharkiv and the world. Thank you for your kindness and generosity. You have made a difference in so many lives,” one user wrote.
Another commented, “Happy birthday, Mr. Fuminori Tsuchiko. You are a true hero and encourage many of us in this world to support Ukraine.”
“Happy birthday! Thank you for your work and kindness in such a difficult time,” another noted.