“Owariya”  Itopia shopping strip

On March 11 2011, when the strong earthquake hit the pottery shop it caused major damages inside the store.
Then the strong force of tsunami hit right into the shop.

Mr. and Mrs. Kondo, the shop owners, evacuated to the second floor along with their dog , ”Momochan”

The inside of the shop was filled with debris and sludge.

Exhausted and there being no end in sight, they thought about giving up their store over and over again.
However, many dedicated volunteers turned up to help Owariya to remove debris and sludge inside the shop.

Moved by their volunteers spirits, Mr.and Mrs.Kondo changed their mind and decided to start up their business again.

They thought about what they could do to begin with.

They placed the ad in the newspaper telling that they were ready to give away 10 free items of undamaged pottery to local residents if they could prove that they were affected by the disaster.

Mr. and Mrs. Kondo stressed “People could eat rice balls and anything to live without plates until settling down.

However, as people get back to their normal life, they may desire to eat rice with plates and miso-soup with Owan or Japanese miso-soup bowl.”

On the day when Mr. and Mrs. Kondo donated undamaged pottery, over 80 residents queued up in front of the shop.

These dishes were given to tsunami affected residents who lost all their properties.

They asked two residents, Ms Amano and Mr. Imamura, for help to draw their expression on the shutter of their shop.

“Thank you so much to all Japanese for supporting us the people of Ishinomaki.

We try to do our best to reconstruct.” Vessel of life, Owariya”

The couple wish to send a message of gratitude to unnamed volunteers for thanking their wonderful support when needed.
Elderly couple Mr. and Mrs. Kondo keep on smiling.

Owariya is located at the entrance of Itopia shopping strip.
The yorkshire terrier, Momochan will always welcome you for a visit.

(Note from Hiroyuki Harada with SIESTA)


Kondo’s ancestors moved in from Owari-region, currently known as Nagoya city 100 years ago

A pottery shop “Owariya” has run by Mr. and Mrs. Kondo

By exchanging a selection of pottery from all areas of Japan, they wish to send messages of gratitude throughout Japan and they are determined to do their best

Thank you so much for supporting the people of Ishinomaki. We will do our best.

Ryo-chan and Kazu-chan do their best, never giving up even though they are already elderly couple

Hanging on to their pottery shop , at vessel of life Owariya


"Kanenao Hardware store" Itopia Shopping Strip

On the day of the Eastern Japan Earthquake, the tsunami destroyed the store and vehicles flowed into the shop.
It was so devastating that the store had to be totally cleaned and refitted.

We are lost for words about how stressful that experience was; the clean up has been a long process.
Kanenao owners, their gentle nature clear for all to see, warmly welcomed us. Their beloved cat names ‘ABIZO’ had been lost since the earthquake, but surprisingly he came back home after a month after the disaster.

We could tell how the couple love Abizo so much.
Friendly Abizo was clinging to me during the interview so I could translate what he was saying ‘Hey, what are you doing here....?’
Please come and visit to say Hi to ‘ABIZO’, the friendly cat.
Now we present ‘ABI’, the nickname for Abizo as the main character for our commercial series and he will be a symbol for Itopia shopping strip.
For your information, Kanenao Hardware store is located across Kameshichi Kimono store.

(Note from Hiroyuki Harada with SIESTA)

Kanenao Hardware store (Living centre, Kanenao)

Oh my dining!
Living centre Kanenao (Hardware and homeware Kanenao)
Pans, Pots, Baskets and Bowls
Cooking Knives, Cutting Board, Kettles and Thermos Pots
Better selection of home & Kitchen ware than anywhere else
Itopia's only hardware store Kanenao hardware store
the name of lovely signature cat is Ichikawa Abizo

( joke arranged by the name of famous traditional dancer, Ichikawa Ebizo)

The store owner is AKIRA!


"Pro shop Maruka" Council Main street

Originally, Mr Sasaki a connoisseur of the fresh seafood was running a wholesale seafood business.
The local restaurants and food outlets he distributed to were badly damaged
by the tsunami as was his business.

He suggested to the owners of retailers affected "Why don't we restart all the businesses together at my place!”
Now 5 stores are open for business inside his Maruka shop.
It seems like a street lined with famous stores.
You can eat on the premises after buying food items. Rice and Miso soup are also offered.
At a glance, the connoisseur Mr Sasaki looks a bit blunt but he is not an unsociable man.
Please feel free to visit and try out Ishinomaki's fresh yummy seafood available inside the Maruka shop.

(Note from Hiroyuki Harada with SIESTA)

Pro shop Maruka

Stickler for seafood
Maruka Sasaki is a Connoisseur
If noticed, here is a street lined with speciality stores
Pro shop Maruka
If rushed you can take out but...
Why not settle down to have your food here!
Have your delicious lunch
Eat at Maruka


"Omachi Shinagawaya" Itopia shopping strip

This is a retail clothing outlet selling mainly local school uniforms and women's clothing.
In the past, it stood on the street called ' Omachi' meaning a big town, before the name was changed to 'Itopia" in recent times.
So the shop has kept its original street name as ' Omachi Shinagawaya'.

The tsunami swallowed all first floor belongings and shop fittings, and all the uniforms prepared for the new school year were stained with sludge. And the process of clean up what’s left in the shop caused chaos for alternative arrangements of delivering school uniforms to the customers.

On the shutter of its shop front, the line with the word [3.11] is drawn.
It indicates the tsunami reached up to the line and it showed how high the tsunami's water level reached …3 metre high.

Both owners of the shop, Mr. and Mrs. Shinagawa are a very cheerful couple, the interview with them was full of laughter.
While asking what they went through the Earthquake and Tsunami ordeal in 2011, Mr. Shinagawa who loves drinking Japanese Sake started mumbling the words like a code 「cha cha chan chan♬」
We understood it was his signal like let's have a cup of Sake!
He says ”I am a company (the shop’s) director though most important role for me is to close the shop at the end of the day."
His giggles and mischievous dance made us cry with laughter.

The commercial is focusing especially about the happy figure of Mr. Shinagawa with his original rhythmic sounds.

Please enjoy watching as his drinking partner, neighbouring Butcher "Shinchan" joins with him.
He is the type of gentleman with whom you would wish to have a drink one day! ( Ha ha)

(Note from Hiroyuki Harada with SIESTA)

Omachi Shinagawa

Asore! Asore! Asore! Asore! ( Japanese old rhythmic sounds to raise the spirit as equivalent to Hip hip Hooray!)
The clothing store where the local ladies preferred to shop
The unforgettable tombo brand school uniform, children used to wear
It is located on the street called Itopia now, in the old days known as Omachi street.
The clothing shop the local people choose is "Omachi Shinagawa"
When the night comes, the rhythm of "Cha Cha Chang Chang" may resound
Mr Shinagawa apprears to the shop to close the store officially
Mrs. Junko Shinagawa, the star of "Shinagawaya" and a shadow president to support the shop with Mr.Mamoru
The clothing shop the local people choose is "Omachi Shinagawa"


"Ishinomaki Tachimachi Fukko Fureai Shotengai"
(Ishinomaki Tachimachi Revival Rapport Shopping Mall)

The first temporary shopping mall has been established in Ishinomaki near the Japan Rail Ishinomaki station.
There are 21 stores which were forced to relocate by the damages of the tsunami have gathered and restarted their businesses from December 10 2011.
They are various stores such as restaurants, bakery, sports merchandise store, electronic retailer and barber.
We visited the site in June 2012 and interviewed with Mr.Sato who is a vice president of the shopping mall.
He runs a electronic shop, "Panac Keitei".
"It is rare and never witnessed before that the so many stores relocating to 1 shopping centre."
He wishes to make this shopping mall like a "Ginza village" (Ginza is the special upmarket district in Tokyo) by working together with all member of the shopping mall. I was impressed by his attitude.
I visited all owners of the stores to take photos of them.
They all welcomed us and were happily cooperative to be interviewed.
And we were fed a lot of treats!
Thank you so much for cooperation.
Each stores has individual contracts of 2 year rental time frame to run their businesses in this temporary shopping mall.
When you have a chance to visit Ishinomaki, please stop by this shopping mall.
We are sure that you can discover various tastes of Ishinomaki.

(Note from Hiroyuki Harada with SIESTA)

Ishinomaki Tachimachi Fukko Fureai Shotengai
(Ishinomaki Tachimachi Revival Rapport Shopping Mall)

Hoping to have more affluent life than usual
Ishinomaki Tachimachi Fukko Fureai Shotengai( Ishinomaki Tachimachi district revival rapport shopping mall)

We are happy if the mall becomes "Ginza Village". ( Ginza is the upmarket city in Tokyo.)
Let us make it happen from here

Shopping mall have close connections with each other
Old established businesses are born again  

The entrance to this town, here is Ishinomaki Tachimachi district revival rapport shopping mall
Owners of the stores will be hoping you to visit


Stopmotion Animation:「ATELIER SIESTA」(SIESTA)

Music:「Hiroyuki Harada with SIESTA」