Friends reach out to family of woman killed by bus

As the parents of 27-yearold Yuka Imaizumi arrived in Victoria from Japan Wednesday to bury their daughter, they were greeted by the friends who had come to care for her during her life in Victoria.

Imaizumi, a Japanese woman who had been living in Victoria since September, was killed Monday morning after being struck by a tour bus making a left from Humboldt Avenue as she crossed Douglas Street in the crosswalk.

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Greg Hays, the owner of Café Brio, where Imaizumi worked as a cook, went to the Victoria International Airport to greet her parents.

When they stepped off the plane, there was a large group of people to offer support: Victoria police investigators, staff from the Japanese consulate, a woman with the Japanese Friendship Society and a friend of Imaizumi from the school where she studied English.

Hays said as soon as Imaizumi's father was introduced to him, "our hands touched, we both kind of broke up." Hays described Imaizumi as a vibrant woman who was always happy to come to work. He said staff at the restaurant were shaken by her death and wanted to make sure her parents were well taken care of.

"Of course, the mother and father are distraught," Hays said. "It's a very, very sad time."

Hays said he hoped the parents took comfort in meeting people who knew and cared about their daughter.

Crea Zhang met Imaizumi through the Victoria International Academy, where the Japanese woman studied English.

Zhang had become close to Imaizumi and wanted to be at the airport to offer translation services for the parents, said Amanda Cabrera, the academy's managing director.

On its front desk, the academy has a book, flanked by flowers and a picture of a smiling Imaizumi, where students can write messages of condolence for her parents.

Imaizumi studied English at the school between September and December 2011.

The young woman was from Utsunomiya, a city of 500,000 about 100 kilometres north of Tokyo. She planned on visiting Montreal in September and had ambitions to see the world.

To honour Imaizumi as a talented chef, the academy is collecting donations of non-perishable food for the Mustard Seed, said Cabrera.

The academy also plans to hold either a walk or a food drive on the anniversary of her death.

"She was so kind and generous, we thought, of course, she would want something to be done in her name," Cabrera said.

"Because she's a chef, to help feed the hungry seems appropriate."

Victoria police continue to investigate the crash. No charges have been laid against the 44-year-old Horizon tour bus driver.

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