Japanese bar owner: Bar example of ethinic unity

Source: Xinhua [11:17 July 14 2009]

The Fu Bar on the Gongyuanbeilu Road in downtown Urumqi is like a miniature of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as it's Japanese owner works with his employees, who are Han, Uygur, Kazakh and Mongolian.

"Xinjiang has many ethnic groups and we have staff members who are Uygur, Han, Kazak, Mongolian and Hui," said the bar' owner Hiroshi Kuwae, a Japanese who has been living in Xinjiang for seven years.

"As you can see, the staff in our bar belong to different ethnic groups. And they can learn from each other," Kuwae told Xinhua during an exclusive interview on Saturday.

"Our kitchen is a good example of unity. Our Han chefs are learning from Uygur colleagues how to make Uygur dishes while the Han chef is teaching our Uygur staff how to cook Sichuan food. We call that very beneficial," said Kuwae, who said he was attracted by the mixed culture in Urumqi and he is learning the Uygur language.

"My bar is a symbol of ethnic unity in Urumqi," he said with a smile.

The bar also displays the charm of different cultures, Kuwae said, pointing to the room decorated with Beijing Opera masks, the Canadian Maple Leaf flag and some Japanese-style lanterns.

Despite its popularity among foreigners who live in and travel to the city, Kuwae had to close down his bar for three days after the deadly July 5 riot that left 184 people dead and more than 1,000 others injured.

"During the daytime, some people still come to my bar but after the sunset, we have few customers as many people were very cautious after the riots," he said.

Kuwae said he personally felt order is resuming gradually in Urumqi and he saw no tension between his multi-ethnic staff even after the deadly riots.

"They are still working happily together as ever," he added.