We spoke to Tabei, who was born in Japan and came to the US to study cartography and architecture, about the marketplace and she sounded confident that it would be completed in a timely fashion. “We’re working with some really talented carpenters,” she explained. Many of the craftspeople they’ve employed are local, making the project even more personal, with the workers knowing that their friends and family are counting on them to get the marketplace up and running. We’ve read that Tabei herself, who is based in San Francisco, gets to work in the morning and doesn’t leave until “Japan wakes up”.
Though definitely still a work in progress, the marketplace is coming together nicely and there is even a mobile ramen noodle shop (run by a Hatakeyama-san) that is already up and running. Several of the neighborhood shops that had their storefronts destroyed by the tsunami have already signed up for stalls in the new marketplace. The unofficial deadline for the project is August, when the townspeople hold their annual summer festival, and from the sound of it, they’ll have a lovely new deck overlooking the ocean surrounded by tasty treats to celebrate it on.
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