July 26, 2013

The Many Faces of Nuoc Mia (Sugarcane Juice)

by Kayoko Akabori

It’s been three months since I went to Vietnam. For an entire week, Johnny and I scootered around Saigon, and then a few days down the Mekong Delta. It was an unforgettable trip, that I have yet to recount here. Once I get all the photographs organized, I’ll write a big post about all our […]

June 19, 2013

Conbini Cabaret: My Inconvenient Conbini Town

by Moto Yamamoto

Conbinis are everywhere in Japan. Lawson, 7-Eleven, AM/PM, Yamazaki Daily, to name a few. You throw a rock, and you would probably hit three conbinis simultaneously. Well, let me tell you, that only happens in urban Japan. I grew up in Wakayama, in the middle of the mountains. The holy Koya mountain is about an […]

June 18, 2013

Conbini Cabaret: Conbini Sushi Cherry Pop

by Anders Arhoj

*For the next week, we will be celebrating conbini culture on Umami Mart, in preparation for the opening of U-MART on Tuesday 6/25. Check back every day for a new Conbini Cabaret article. Umami for life! -KA The first time in my life I stepped into a conbini (convenience store) in Tokyo was on the evening I […]

May 10, 2013

Kayo’s Kitchen: On Adulthood, Canceling My Credit Card, and Getting a New Frying Pan

by Kayoko Akabori

More and more these days, I’m starting to feel like a grown-up. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I am a business owner, or if it’s the hipster kids who walk around without a care in the world (who I can’t connect with at all), or if it’s the pop culture references that […]

January 8, 2013

MOTOism: In Memory of My Aid (2000-2012)

by Moto Yamamoto

Aid, Kitchen passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. She was 12 years old. Since she was adopted (refurbished model), the exact date of birth is unknown. The cause of death is paralysis. The bowl is completely stuck on the base, and no matter what I’ve tried, it won’t dislodge. In another words, her brain […]

January 1, 2013

MOTOism: Family Crabbing

by Moto Yamamoto

Happy New Year. 2013 has started with a perfect sunrise in Japan. Hopefully it signifies that the rest of the year to be bright and shiny. 2012 was filled with happenings: from Taylor Swift changing boyfriends 18 times, to Gangnam Style to Sandy craziness to starting my own business. Let’s hope 2013 will be a […]

October 17, 2012

Just For You: The Best Hangtown Fry in San Francisco

by Kayoko Akabori

In the spirit of getting back into writing and sharing my thoughts more often on Umami Mart, I want to tell you the story of how Johnny and I met. It was the summer of 2011. I had been going on dates throughout the year, and “putting myself out there” on internet dating sites and […]

April 24, 2012

Great UM Noodletown: Idiyappam

by Kayoko Akabori

Here’s something I dragged out of my photo archives. It’s from my trip to Kerala, India back in 2007. We spent two days and one night in the backwaters on a houseboat — probably one of the most glorious experiences of my life! One thing I clearly remember was our breakfast on the boat. The […]

March 9, 2012


by Kayoko Akabori

Spring is just around the corner, and plum blossoms are bursting all over Japan, California, and beyond. A year after the devastation of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, Japan still stands, its spirit strong, with people going about its business just like the rest of us. While the struggle is not over — affected areas […]

August 31, 2011

Skankynavia: Copenhagen Onigiri (A Tribute to Tokyo)

by Anders Arhoj

My city has experienced the wettest summer in the recorded weather history of Denmark. Just this morning I woke up to a two hour thunderstorm with the most insane cracks, blitzes and a mustard yellow hazy sky. It felt like some aliens were landing on the planet in giant yellow spaceships. Unfortunately they didn’t, and […]