Project area:Shiogama City(Miyagi Prefecture)

Satoh Fresh Fish Store
Interview: Ryoko Adachi/Satoh Fresh Fish Store
Shiogama Kaigan Central Fresh Fish Market was the very first fish market to be established in Shiogama City. Adachi familiarly calls it the “black market”, where she manages the Satoh Fresh Fish Store. The market was completely swallowed by the tsunami and Adachi’s store was also swept away. As for the future of this market, this is a decision which the city office must make, but Adachi hopes for the opportunity to restart business in this area and is currently searching for a temporary place to set up shop.

We have our lives and we have our spirit,
We wish to repay all who have supported us through regeneration

The Disappearance of the "black market" which had continued since the war

Shiogama is the area of Japan most blessed in tuna fishing. The market which was near to Honshiogama station, "Shiogama Kaigan Central Fresh Fish Market", was the first fish market in Shiogama. Known locally as the "black market" it is not only a familiar place to locals but also to many tourists too. However, in the wake of 3.11 the strong voice of the fishmongers and constant coming and going of people was put to an end and all that remains are the ruins of the market destroyed by the tsunami. The long established Satoh Fresh Fish Store, which Adachi runs with her family is also amongst them.

"About one week before the disaster there was another earthquake, you know. But this time it was completely different, there was such shaking that as I stepped outside the store many things fell. My father had experienced the Chile Tsunami and before the warning was raised he told me "a tsunami is coming so let's evacuate to the family home", and we made to escape. My older brother was in the store until the tsunami came. We put anything that would fit in the car and drove to the highland, then walked along the rail line to the family home. Immediately after that the tsunami came."

The next day when Adachi saw the transformed shape of the store she was lost for words. Everything which had been there had vanished, all that was left was water which came up to one's knees and was impossible to walk in. The shop sign had been washed 500m away to the Okama Shrine.

"Everything had gone so I thought all had been lost. However we became able to make contact by phone and I received so many calls from the customers. When gasoline ran out, a customer from Yamagata Prefecture delivered a tank of 100 litres of gasoline, and local customers also kindly asked "when will you reopen your shop?", so I naturally came to wish to start business again."

No end of Messages from Customers

Even 100 days after the disaster the black market is still left in the same condition as it was after being hit by the tsunami. However, Adachi plans to show her will by setting up shop in a temporary store.

"I thought to destroy this shop and set a prefab store instead but there is no prospect of that. I heard that there is a temporary store facility over there and so I have now applied to it. This will at least be the first step towards restarting. We have our lives and we have our spirit. We will secure a temporary store and will work hard to the best of our strength."

After the disaster there was no end of messages from Adachi's local and more distant customers. They even sent food, clothes and other necessary resources, and many of them are eagerly awaiting the reopening of the Adachi Fresh Food Store which has been loved for so many years in the black market.

"However small it may be, I think it is good if you can slowly keep doing what you can. I am often told 'keep going', but everyone is already trying hard. I received a stream of messages, was sent emergency goods and received so much support from so many people that I want to repay this by reviving the shop. We are sure to achieve this, so please keep your distant eye on us."

Interviewed : 30th June 2011 Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture
Photo : Reiji OHE





Ryoko Adachi
Satoh Fresh Fish Store


Satoh Fresh Fish Store
Miyagi Prefecture, Shiogama City, Kaigando 2-10

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