Curbside Pick up

Bar Owl in Niigata City

When we mentioned to Mr. Akio Watanabe, owner of Bar EST! in Tokyo that we were heading to Niigata, he recommended that we visit Bar Owl. It was one of those things that we told him we would do but Yoko and I didn't actually...

Todai Utensil Factory

I'd like to start with a little background on the small town of Tsubame-Sanjo. This manufacturing town in Niigata Prefecture produces most of Japan's stainless steel items. If you are enjoying a little cake with a tiny fork in Tokyo or stirring a cocktail...

A Visit to Kinshihai Brewery

Sake is one of those things that really makes you appreciate locality. It's like the meyer lemons in Berkeley. It's totally cliche and played out, but local food traditions are a sight to behold. The fact that they are native to their land, makes...

A Visit to Aoki Brewery in Niigata

Kayoko and I go to Niigata every February. Our friends in Tokyo gasp in horror, "Why would you go somewhere so cold? In the middle of February?" The reason is kind of simple: it's low season and getting around is cheap and less crowded. And...

Visiting Asahi Copper Factory

When we voiced our wish to visit a few factories in Japan earlier this year, we didn't realize that so many of them would be in the same town. Not just that, but only a short drive from one another. Tsubame City in Niigata is...

Inside Yukiwa Barware Factory

Our main objective for our trip to Japan (besides noodles and ekiben) was to visit the many factories where they make the bar and glassware we select for Umami Mart. We wanted to go straight to the source, and meet the people behind the products....

Tokyo JUNKtion

Tokyo JUNKtion: Hosomaki Diaries

Trends in roll combinations in the States are rapid, with so many joints coming up with their own "house" rolls. Conversely, the combinations of rolls or makimono are very constant in Japan. In this post, I am specifically referring to hosomaki (or thin rolls). There...

Rice Harvesting in Niigata

At 5am on a Thursday morning, groggy and jetlagged, 20 of us OPENharvest participants, with Food Light Project members piled into three vans headed for Niigata prefecture. As we drove through the quiet morning streets of Tokyo, we eagerly anticipated the adventures ahead....