Country House, Moby Dick partner with local NGOs
G*GAP Band to hold fundraising concert this November on Saipan
Tucked ever so quaintly on the southern edge of Garapan’s commercial district are two of Saipan’s longest running restaurants, each very distinct in its identity: one being a country western-themed steak house and the other an enigmatic (like its namesake) getaway corner for seafood. Opened in the early nineties (’92 and ’98 respectively), the Country House and Moby Dick restaurants (both subsidiaries of Nippon General Trading Corp.) are mainstays of Saipan’s dining-out culture and a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
And yet there is far more to maintaining a successful business, particularly in any small community, than meets the eye. For the Nippon group, providing local jobs and cranking out delicious foods from day to day is simply not enough.
According to its general manager, Kato: “We believe it’s important to contribute in other ways to our respective communities and so each year we try to identify charitable causes that we can get behind and support through fundraising and cash donations whenever possible.”
In what has become an annual endeavor to make charitable donations, Nippon General is once again partnering with the G*Gap Band, a premiere country western band out of Japan, to raise funds.
“Unlike previous years, when we split fundraising proceeds between local causes and those on behalf of tsunami victims in Japan, this year we decided to put all proceeds from this year’s fundraiser toward strictly local causes here on Saipan,” Kato said.
The G*GAP Band is no stranger to Saipan, having made annual treks here to hold fundraising concerts for several years dating as far back as 2011. Past beneficiaries have included tsunami victims in Japan and tornado disaster victims in Oklahoma.
Among its beneficiaries this year are the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc. more familiarly known as NMPASI, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 to provide free legal services on behalf of eligible individuals with disabilities, and newly founded CNMI C.O.R.E., or Community Outreach for Recovery Efforts, a hodgepodge group of individuals and local organizations joining together to facilitate and coordinate recovery efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor.
NMPASI executive director Jim Rayphand said: “We’re humbled once again that Mr. Sago (owner of Country House) and Kato would recognize NMPASI’s efforts on behalf of people who have disabilities by including us as beneficiaries of this wonderful event. Last year’s G*GAP Concert was a blast and I suspect the same will be true for this year…”
In a kind of pre-emptive strike, G*GAP’s vocalist and guitarist Ryuiji Hirao sent his regards from Japan with a $500 donation to NMPASI. Kato delivered the donation on his behalf. “Unbelievable and thank you,” was all Rayphand could say about the kind gesture.
This year’s concerts will be held on back-to-back nights at the Country House Restaurant on Nov. 6 and 7 with doors opening at 6pm for a 7pm to 9pm show. Tickets are $25. Other sponsors include, Miller Lite, Certified Angus Beef, Visitors Channel, Triple J, KSPN2, Pacific Trading Co., Asahi, Country House Japan and NMPASI. For more information, call Country House Saipan at (670) 233-1908. (NMPASI)