by Ai Isono, translated by Bruce Rutledge,
Uwajimaya held an Ehime Fair featuring famous products from the prefecture on March 14-20. The third annual fair was held with the aim of helping the prefecture’s products find a secure foothold in the American marketplace supported by Ehime prefecture. Products from 28 different companies were selected for display after a preliminary meeting with an Uwajimaya buyer. Representatives from nine of those companies came to Seattle to be part of the fair, giving cooking demonstrations, providing samples and intently listening to the feedback from consumers. “We can see the reaction of the consumers directly. Our brand has permeated the Japanese market, but not yet the US one,” said Kazumi Ishimaru, executive vice president of Hakata Salt Co., which has participated in all three Ehime fairs. “The trend in Japan is to consume less salt, so developing business overseas is necessary for us. Salt is a necessity for any household, the key to our brand identity is whether we can increase the number of Hakata Salt fans out there. First, we want to make our products a staple of Uwajimaya so that anyone can buy our product here easily.”
Naomi Seike of Doi Pearl, a company in Uwajima City in Ehime prefecture with a history of more than half a century, said, “While the quality of our direct-from-farm pearls is established, everyone was surprised at how inexpensive our prices were.” She reported excellent sales.
Over the weekend, the Bellevue Uwajimaya held a 130lb tuna-cutting event. The feature of this bluefin tuna is its melt-in-your-mouth fat. A crowd had formed 15 minutes before the demo started, and afterwards, when the buying began, it had the feel of an auction. Hinata Hoshi , 10, of Bellevue, bought two packs with her father, Kazuhiro. “I love sushi,” she said with a smile. “I can’t wait to go home and eat this delicious tuna with my family!” For now, the next Ehime Fair has not been scheduled yet. Stay tuned fot the update from Uwajimaya for the next Ehime Fair.