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Cheer Up Shiogama! Onigiri Shop Shiosai

This is Takano, ariTV.

Mr. Takahashi here with his nice smile runs an onigiri (rice ball) shop in Shiogama, Miyagi.
Before the tsunami he had been working at the Yamakō sushi shop in Marine Gate Shiogama.
To support himself after the disaster, he opened this onigiri shop, “Shiosai”, on his own.

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Very particular about his ingredients, he makes his products with hopes of the return of Shiogama and its cheer.

With Miyagi rice, nori seaweed from Shiogama’s Urato archipelago, and salt from Shiogama, all of his ingredients are locally sourced in Miyagi.
The fillings are various.

Wakame seaweed stem from Sanriku

and from Matsushima: soy-preserved gibachi, a type of catfish, are just two of the unusual flavors on offer.


Marine Gate Shiogama was largely destroyed by the tsunami, and Mr. Takahashi thus lost his sushi shop job.
At the time he knew of a municipal project that could help, and immediately registered to start his own business to support himself.
Its name is the Shiogama Shutter Open Plus Project.
The idea is, to speed recovery, that the city will support rent payments for up to three years for businesses to occupy vacated commercial spaces.

Mr. Takahashi was finally able to open a year ago, July 6.
He tells us of his joy at that time for having work and, even if customers didn’t show in great numbers, he made enough money to support himself for the day.
Even still, it didn’t give a sense of security and he still went looking for other employment, all the while continuing to operate his onigiri shop.

In the display case and shelves of the shop are used and handmade goods.
It’s truly starting from zero.
To somehow make a living, and to help Shiogama to regain its energy, Mr. Takahashi has worked mostly alone.
“You can’t make onigiri and just leave them out. They’ll harden and become no good. The one thing I don’t want to do is cut corners.”
The story of Mr. Takahashi’s passion has spread by word of mouth, and along with greater numbers of customers, media besides ourselves have been coming.
When asked how things are going,
“Not bad,” he answers. “I haven’t changed my stance, and I’m making enough each day that I’d be happy to sell out; when I do sell out I close up shop. I’m just happy to make some kind of living.”


There’s no wavering in his eyes.
Before making a profit, the first thing is just to make a living.
Again and again he repeated how he was happy to have work, and his earnest wishes for Shiogama to recover.


He’s going to keep it up at this pace, and stay with Shiogama, he tells us with a smile.


Onigiri Shop Shiosai
Miyagi-ken Shiogama-shi Shirahagi-chō 2-22
Open 7:30-16:00 or until sold out, closed Sundays.
TEL 022-366-8548




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