November 21, 2012

Mr. Miura and his children pose by the Kanpai Kitchen Car

The Kamaishi Kitchen Car Project continues to provide a means for former restaurant owners to earn a living as they hope to rebuild their shops. The project is currently recruiting operators for a new restaurant car.

Mr. Miura is one example of those that the project is now helping. He had opened a restaurant in 2002 in the Tadakoe section of Kamaishi, then moved to a new, larger space in the Omachi area in December 2010. In just a few months, he had been able to nearly double his clientele and was looking forward to a bright future when disaster struck. The restaurant was destroyed and the supply of sake that he had carefully selected from around the country was swept away by the tsunami.

Despite losing his shop, however, Mr. Miura’s spirit has remained strong. He speaks of the many people he has been fortunate enough to meet as a result of the disaster and how it has broadened his perspective. He stresses that you can’t just sit around complaining about how terrible the disaster was—you have to take action, and that will lead to rebuilding the community and to economic recovery. His hope is to eventually rebuild and reopen his pub, “Kanpai,” but for now, operating a kitchen car under that same name is one step forward in that process. Mr. Miura’s juicy sirloin steak over rice is a particular favorite, and thanks to the use of a yatai (a portable, enclosed dining area that can attach to the kitchen car for dining at nighttime or in inclement weather) and to his cheerful personality, he is once again building a loyal clientele.