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20131222-00

“Here and Nowhere Else”—Love for a Hometown at Takohachi Restaurant

This is Hizashi.

Matsukawaura in Sōma, Fukushima, was once a bustling fishing port with people coming to pick up the freshest catches.
After the disaster, though, the combined effects of the tsunami and nuclear disaster have kept most people away since.
Even still, there are people here fighting on. Area restaurants have come together to make “Recovery Challenge Rice Bowls” as a promotion to spark some interest.
Takohachi is one of those restaurants, owner Yoshiyuki Ono proudly putting in his own offering to represent Sōma.

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He explains that after the quake at first he didn’t heed the tsunami warning, but in that time before the wave came he eventually decided he might as well take refuge. Traffic was jammed so he climbed up to an inn on a nearby hill, and from there he watched the surging ocean ravage the spot he had just left.
His restaurant building remained standing, but the entire first floor was thoroughly flooded and destroyed. His entire livelihood gone, he says he spent the next four months in a daze.

 

It was then, though, that a young volunteer from Tōkyō roused his spirit once more. This outsider’s stubborn will to have Sōma rebuilt and open again provided the needed spark to get moving.

 

Moving into a temporary building, the restaurant reopened that October, about a half a year after the disaster. By April 2013, the original shop had been rebuilt and Takohachi reopened in its original location.

 

When asked why he would return, his response was simple. “I couldn’t imagine anywhere else.” Matsukawaura is where he feels he belongs.

 

The restaurant was first founded over 20 years ago, passed down to Mr. Ono who kept it as a beloved part of the town. Restoring it brought him great peace of mind and joy. “I had really thought it was gone forever.

“Seeing the customers come back this April was wonderful, and I’m happy to say business is back to quite near what it was before the disaster. I want to be able to use local fish again soon,” he speaks with cheer.

As it is this seafood rice bowl is amazing; one can only imagine how good it could be with the local fish practically right off the boat. Hopefully the all-clear for fishing here will come soon.

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December,2013

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