Umami Mart Registry
drink. eat.

Photos by Travis LoDolce and Wataru Umeda.

For an entire week after the Sendai earthquake and tsunami first hit, I was wrapped in an incurable, numbing daze. I would wake up with a pang in the pit of my stomach from the night before--I felt nauseous. Helpless. Hopeless. Thousands of people pronounced dead; even more thousands still missing. Threats of radiation and lack of food and everyday necessities. Hoards of people, young beside old, crowded in gym halls and community centers. What the fuck was going on in this planet???

Then, over lunch one day, Yoko and I decided to throw a fundraiser. And just like that, the wheels started turning--rapidly. Plans began stacking on top of each other, and there was no turning back. We brought all our friends in the Bay Area together, and with the support of an A-list committee, we were able to line up an impressive list of liquor sponsors, Peko Peko enthusiastically said "YES!" to catering the event (despite the fact that he had the Bakesale for Japan on his plate too), desserts by Sandbox Bakery, and we somehow convinced guitarist Tommy Guerrero and his crew to join us for the cause.

Through people's love for Japan, and their generosity to those in need, we were able to raise over $10,000 for Second Harvest Japan. To date, we're at $10,457.95. HOLY SHITBALLS!

Here are some pics from the magical evening, which took place at The Burritt Room (SF) on Tuesday, April 5.

Tommy Guerrero
Tommy Guerrero. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Alter candles. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Finishing Touches
Peko Peko shumai prep. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

DJ Mixes
Gadget (Function 8). Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Tommy Guerrero
Tommy + Band. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Mix for Kayoko
Choya umeshu sour. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Rice Balls
Peko Peko onigiri prep. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Desserts by Sandbox Bakery (SF)
Choux puffs by Sandbox Bakery. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Somethin' to Sip'on
Sake courtesy of Joto Sake and Takara. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Neyah White, Yamazaki Whiskey Brand Ambassador
Neyah White, Yamazaki Whisky Brand Ambassador. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Tommy Guerrero
Tommy Guerrero. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Wakasagi no nambanzuke (fried smelt in vinegar sauce) by Peko Peko. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Happy People
Decor by Louesa Roebuck. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Thank You
Guest bartenders Erik Ellestad and Tabitha Solomon. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Tommy Guerrero + Band
Tommy's band. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Yamazaki whisky highballs. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

The floor. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

Tommy Guerrero + Band
Tommy's band. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Tommy Guerrero
Tommy Guerrero. Photo by Wataru Umeda.

This was most certainly a massive collective effort that we managed to put together in three weeks. Allow me to shout out to all THE GIFT OF FOOD (SF) Committee: Neyah White, Yamazaki Whisky; Matthew Meidinger + Kevin Deidrich, The Burritt Room; Tommy Guerrero; Shinichi Washino; Norma Listman; Mai Sasaki; Isaac Bess; Louesa Roebuck, FLORA; Sylvan Mishima Brackett, Peko Peko .

Major THANK YOUS to all our generous donors and food + drink sponsors. And of course, to all of YOU who made it out to our little tea party. What a night!

Special thanks to our DJs Gadget, TophOne, Orb, and Gabuちゃん, and all the musicians of Tommy's band. Thank you thank you to our cameramen Travis LoDolce, Wataru Umeda and Joe Stillwater. Big big thank you to all our floor staff and guest bartenders. And Alice Lin of Facebook.

One last huge hug to my #1 partner-in-crime, Yoko Kumano.

THANK YOU FOR COMING! Photo by Wataru Umeda.

Tommy and Friends
Yoko, Tommy, me + Washi. Photo by Travis LoDolce.

You think that's it for fundraising for Japan? Pssh, I don't think so. We're scheming for THE GIFT OF FOOD to travel to NYC and LA. Maybe another blowout one in SF? Can't stop/ Won't stop. Stay tuned!

Stay strong, Japan!

*Top photo by Travis LoDolce.