From August 20 through August 23, visitors can enjoy presentations of delicious foods, traditional craft activities, colorful pageantry, and mesmerizing dances from the Japanese region of Tohoku. The hilly and mountainous Tohoku region, the northeastern segment of the largest island in Japan, was heavily damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Yet a massive rebuilding effort has brought a robust recovery to the region, which is now re-introducing its diverse food and culture to a global audience.
“We are so pleased that the Rising Tohoku Food Fair hosted by Mitsuwa Marketplace helps draw the world’s attention to the seriousness of the Japanese earthquake and brings awareness to the ongoing recovery of the culturally rich Tohoku region, which has so much to offer in terms of flavorful and refined cuisine, beautiful crafts, and goodwill,” said Hiroshi Kamata, chairman of the Federation of Six Tohoku Prefecture Chambers of Commerce and Industry (chairman of the Sendai Chamber of Commerce) and spokesperson for the Rising Tohoku Food Fair. “We want visitors to our live event to experience this wonderful and abundant Tohoku region as if they were really there.”
Children and adults alike can enjoy activities such as making origami Samurai armor helmets; writing wishes on tanzaku paper to be hung at the Tanabata Festival in Sendai next year; and taking photo opportunities with local Tohoku city mascots.
The huggable mascots include Miyagi City’s iconic Musubi-maru, who wears a samurai costume and resembles onigiri (a rice ball); Fukushima City’s Momorin rabbit who represents Fukushima momo (peaches) and ringo (apples); Hanagata Beni-Chan who wears a cherry-patterned kimono and hanagata flower hat; and Nebutan, a pig dressed in the haneto costume worn at Aomori prefecture’s world-renowned Nebuta festival.
Other attractions include a Da-te Busho-tai (samurai) performance; Aomori City’s Nebuta orchestra, dances from Sendai City (Suzume), Yamagata City (Hanagasa) and Morioka City (Sansa).
Over in the food section you’ll find an amazing selection of regional specialties, including Wagyu beef from Sendai, Seiken apple juice from Aomori, Odate Kiritanpo (mashed rice) skewers from Akita, fruit juices from Yamagata, and specialty dried fruits from Fukushima. A special Maguro Bowl (tuna sashimi) with an ohba leaf is $8.50, and a Kuroge Wagyu Bento. a sukiyaki and yakiniku (BBQ) combination bento is $18.50.
One food highlight that we especially enjoyed was the karinto manju, a Tohoku delicacy kind of like a donut filled with sweet bean curd. The dough is made with black sugar and the exterior is crispy, sweet, and addicting.
Wash it down with some peach juice from Yamagata, and you’ve got the perfect snack.
Ready to go? The schedule for the weekend’s events is as follows:
Food Fair (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11 am – 6 pm
Dance Performances (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11:30 am – 1 pm; 4 pm – 5:30 pm
Craft Workshops (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11 am – 11:30 am; 1:30 pm – 2 pm; 3 pm– 4:00 pm; 5:30 pm – 6 pm
Photo Session with Mascots (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 1 pm – 1:15 pm; 5:30 – 5:45 pm
The Mitsuwa Marketplace is located at 21515 S. Western Ave., Torrance, CA. Phone: 310-782-0335.