Umami Mart Registry

These photos my friends in Tokyo sent me gave me a glimpse of what is going on there. The images have also reshaped my idea of what to include in my pathetic earthquake kit consisting of some nonperishable food and 4 gallons of water. (Note to self: buy sweet things and dried foods).

Most of my friends and family are still in Tokyo, feeling that the radiation threat is not immediate. But the news is unsettling everyday.

My friend Abasa who lives in Tokyo sent me a bunch of photos of Shibuya station on the Inokashira line. This line leads to the turnstyle I used to commute to work everyday. This is shocking.

Inokashira line, Shibuya Station, March 13, photo Abasa Phillips.

Shibuya bus station, March 13, photo Abasa Phillips.

He also snatched some photos inside Japan's Target equivalent Donki, in Shibuya, adding "Donki was pretty much empty, but things that Japanese don't really eat like granola and oatmeal was untouched."

Donki, Shibuya, March 13, photo Abasa Phillips.

Even after a huge event like this so many of my friends went back to work on Tuesday.

The panic engulfing Tokyo has left my friend Emi's workplace, Union Square Cafe in Tokyo Midtown, desolate enough for her to experiment with new recipes. She expressed concern about the extent of resources many businesses in Tokyo are using up while people in the north are really suffering from a lack of these resources.

Here are some photos she sent to me of the Precce Supermarket in Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi.

This sign says, "For the consideration of others, 2 per person, please."

Tokyo Midtown, Precce Supermarket, March 13, Photo Emi Tao.

The kombu and sea vegetables section (kombu and other types of kelp are said to combat the effects of radiation):

emi_precce_kombu_sea veggies314
Tokyo Midtown, Precce Supermarket, March 13, Photo Emi Tao.

My oolong-hai partner-in-crime, Mayumi, who works at Hitachi in Yurakucho says, "Maybe the situation of local supermarkets could be worse. They also don't stay open late any more due to electricity conservation."

She sent me these pictures of Seijo Ishii near her workplace.

Pasta section:

Seijo Ishii, Ginza/Yurakucho, March 14, Photo Mayumi Hirakawa.

Dried goods section:

Seijo Ishii, Ginza/Yurakucho, March 14, Photo Mayumi Hirakawa.

Since the embassies of most countries are urging their citizens to flee westward or leave the country, many of my friends have already situated themselves outside of the Tokyo area.

Although feeling relieved after traveling to Fukuoka, my friend Arnar added, "My mind is still with the people in the Sendai and Tokyo area."

Before traveling to Fukuoka, Arnar sent me these. Notice the one, lone cup o' noodle:

Shibuya, March 13, Photo Dr. Arnar Jensson.

The night of the earthquake:

Shibuya, 7-11, March 11, Photo Dr. Arnar Jensson.

Superstar (and matchmaker for me and my husband) Takachiho's photos proved that his humor is definitely still intact. Here, he snaps photos of Marusho, a market similar to Safeway, standard and mainstream. It looks like all the prepared food is gone. Meats seem to be plentiful.

Fried food natto, and fishcakes:

taka_fried food_marusho7
Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho

Dessert Tofu:

Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Breads and pastries:

Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

This sign says that on March 16, they will try to open at 10am, but may open later if delivery is delayed:

Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

The expensive stuff looks like it isn't going anywhere:

Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Produce seems abundant:

Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Along with the eggs:

Setagaya-ku, Marusho, March 14, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Seijo-ishii is a more upscale version of Trader Joe's with an international twist. The prices are higher and the square footage much smaller than Marusho. When I lived in Tokyo, I would shop here for dried foods, peanut butter and Best Foods mayo.

Most of the stuff here looks pretty untouched:

Setagaya-ku, Seijo-ishii, March 14
, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Looks like Takachiho stopped in for something specific...

Setagaya-ku, Seijo-ishii, March 14
, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Honancho, Home, March 14
, Photo Yuusaku Takachiho.

Thank you to everyone who sent me photos. Love, love, love.

Every dollar counts! SUPPORT!

- 10% of all purchases in the Umamimart Shop will go towards Earthquake & Tsunami relief efforts. Buy a mug!

- Drop by Yamahomo's Help Japan! Fundraising Party this Friday. An anonymous donor will match up to $10,000 in funds so if you're in NYC, you absolutely MUST GO!

- Donate directly to Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund. It is a highly trusted source, and they've raised over $500,000 to date for this cause.

- In April, Yoko, Kayoko + Friends will be throwing a huge fundraiser in San Francisco to support the relief. Stay tuned.

*The title of this post is inspired by Haruki Murakami's collection of short stories, published in 2000.
Column: Tokyo JUNKtion


  • Yes, good work Yamahomo, I hope it will be as succesful charity wise as it will be taste wise. MOcarons for disaster relief!

    Anders on

  • I hope you raise oodles of money for this during your dinner party. So awesome that Japan Society has been able to reach nearly $1 million. I hope everyone in your fam is doing well YamaMOto.

    yoko on

  • My best friend’s husband works for prefectural government, and he is currently in Iwate as part of rescue effort team. He reported to her that things are unbelievable. All the trucks with supplies are stuck right before reaching the destination because there’s absolutely no gas available up there. Many people are dying from hunger, cold, and stress. Right now, all the news focuses on nuclear plants, which is understandable, but there are half a million people in refuge camps, and they are running out of everything. Instead of drinking green beer tonight, even $5 donation will make a difference. Japan Society’s relief fund is reaching $1 million, and we shouldn’t stop there at all. The recovery effort is estimated to cost $400 billion, yet, every penny counts. DONATE!

    yamahomo on

  • Yamahomo: Our ReMOrthable Fund Raiser.

    Kayoko on

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