“Learn Marche— Learn about today’s Pacific Coastal TOHOKU and enjoy the delicious food!” a special pop-up event, was held at LaLaport YOKOHAMA on Sunday, January 15, and at JR Ryogoku Station on Sunday, January 22.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of the two-day event, including coverage of the marketplace where visitors could purchase fresh Tohoku specialties and a talk show on food safety and the appeal of local specialties to learn about the present-day safety of ingredients and food products since the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Given that the event was held in a mall on a Sunday, the venue was filled with families who were out shopping.Families enjoyed shopping at the market, including the “all-you-can-stuff” sweet potatoes event. There were also many serious learners at the panel exhibition and talk show. The event provided an opportunity to learn about the present-day safety of food products from the affected areas from a variety of perspectives.
A special marketplace was set up in the now-closed “Phantom Platform 3” at JR Ryogoku Station. Visitors were very excited at limited-edition products available on the day in an extraordinary space and the scenery.
Given the location, many overseas visitors were present at the venue.The sight of people enjoying a friendly shopping experience in a global atmosphere was a striking feature of the event.
The specialty food section of the four coastal prefectures, the event’s highlight, was also very popular.
The market area, where visitors could purchase local specialties on the spot, was bustling with activities as many visitors explored the various stalls selling different products, such as Iwate’s “Sun Fuji” apples and Sendai’s famous “Zunda (soybeans) mochi” rice cakes.
Fukushima Prefecture, which is made up of three regions, is home to a diverse range of products suited to their respective environments.The market featured some of Fukushima Prefecture’s most prized products, such as “Shibaei Suisan’s semi-dried icefish (Shirauo);” “Ten'ei Rice,” which has won the gold medal in the International Contest on Rice Taste Evaluation for nine consecutive years; and “Daté’s large semi-dried persimmons (Ampo-gaki)” from the Isazawa district, which has perfected a technique to produce a lushly colored product.
Miyagi Prefecture is famous for its wide range of brand-name rice.In addition to rice, there are many famous varieties of local foods, such as “Sendai Beef,” a Japanese black cattle brand, and “Sendai Magarinegi (bent Japanese green onion ),” which has been cultivated since around the turn of the nineteenth century and whose angle of “bend” is considered a sign of its delicious taste. Other lip-smacking foods include Strawberry Baumkuchen, which contains the tasteful equivalent of 30 raw strawberries, Zunda Mochi, and Walnut Mochi.
Known as Japan’s third largest apple producer, Iwate Prefecture welcomed visitors with the popular Sun Fuji variety, which continues to have a strong market presence.
Ibaraki Prefecture, one of the leading agricultural prefectures in the country, proudly featured a range of products ranking first in the country in terms of production value.“Strawberries from Murata’s Family Farm,” with their elegant sweet fragrance, have such a reputation for the exquisite flavor that chefs at famous Michelin three-star hotels and world-famous pâtissiers have declared that “only Murata-san’s strawberries will do!”
A “Talk Show to Enjoy the Marche 10 Times More ” featuring culinary expert Sachiko Kondo and Yutaka Akitsu of the Research Institute of Energy Literacy was also held at the venue.
The 30-minute talk show went on smoothly in a friendly atmosphere as Dr. Akitsu explained the safety of food from the disaster area with graphs and charts, while many people listened intently to her explanation. In addition, Ms. Kondo, who is from Miyagi Prefecture, introduced delicious local, and Tohoku foods to the participants.
At the end of the talk show, the participants were given cards with Ms. Kondo’s original recipes and local apple juice. The talk show ended on a high note, with bright smiles on the participants’ faces.
In addition to the marketplace and talk show, the venue featured several workshops and panel displays on radiation in the natural world.
While radiation is usually invisible to the naked eye and, therefore, has a somewhat “scary” image, it is a familiar presence in the natural world.The workshop allowed participants to visualize and experience radiation trails and learn that radiation is, in fact, something close at hand.Watching the participants curiously peering into the containers was a memorable sight.
Visitors who filled out a questionnaire were entered into a raffle to win either “Momo-no-Megumi (Peach Blessing) ,” a local Fukushima juice, or a voucher to use at the market.
The raffle staff also vouched for the delicious taste of the peach juice.Since everyone had a chance to win, the raffle always generated a lot of excitement.
Editorial Cooperation: Consumer Affairs Agency
Photography and text by Keiko Hirata