Umami Mart turned five years old this past week and we threw our biggest and best Matsuri yet in the parking lot behind our shop in Old Oakland. We throw this party every year to celebrate the birth of Umami Mart and our community.
This year, we collaborated with our dear neighbors, The Trappist, for drinks. They kept the beer taps (and slushies) flowing while Kayoko and I kept the sake running cold at the Umami Mart booth. We also invited Aburaya, Shiba Ramen, and J-Shack to provide the eats, and Red Bay for icy cold brew.
Entertainment was provided by our favorite Taiko troupe, Emeryville Taiko. And Jody Stillwater kept the jams pumping with a special DJ set incorporating, Japanese retro tunes and electronica that was perfect for the perfect 74˚F sunny and clear day.
I am so proud of our staff and collaborators whose creativity and hard work made this event smooth, safe, and a hell of a lot of fun. Over 700 people showed up to join the festivities!
Without further ado, here are the photos from the event!
Set up started early in the morning. Barriers, tents, and signs were posted everywhere.
Inside, Chris and Grace, readied the shop.
Mikey making sure power was secure.
Kayoko arranging the tables.
Our two Mikes. Mike, our mailman since 2012 and Mikey our shipping and operations dude since 2016.
Food and drink vendors were all set up by 1pm. Here's the J-Shack truck!
The Trappist's offerings of Japanese beer cans and beer slushies!
Shiba Ramen menu:
Aburaya sandwich board:
Kayoko and I were pouring draft sakes and handing out two non-alcoholic drinks.
And then, people started showing up!
Cindy and Mikey checked IDs on one side.
While Johnny held it down on the other side.
In the store!
In the back parking lot!
The food and drinks were unique and busting with flavor. Aburaya fried chicken:
Shiba Ramen's spicy tan tan ramen:
Lotus root chips:
A special delivery from Atsushi from J-Shack – an okonomiyaki crepe!
Ruben manned the slushie machines.
Emeryville Taiko played two sets. One at 2:30pm and one at 4pm.
People gathered for the thunderous booms.
More people coming through.
Jody Stillwater, who provided the tunes.
Jody closed out the set with a Kayoko request: "play something by Justin Timberlake."
The Akabori and Kumano siblings! Can't do it without family.
Kayoko and I thank all staff, collaborators and guests!
The Trappist team.
Thank you making this event full of smiles and happy bellies.