Rotable is an open-air popup restaurant taking place in the picturesque port city of Owase.
The event, on Saturday, 4 November, will celebrate the rich local culture and exquisite seafood of Owase,
through meals cooked by renowned chef, Rimpei Yoshikawa, of Tokyo’s French bistro, "Pignon".
For both lunch and dinner seatings, fishermen, farmers and consumers will dine together around a shared table.
This meaningful backdrop will provide an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s worlds, create new friendships, and shape ideas for the future.
Owase Bay is blessed with the natural conditions that endow a vibrant marine life: high rainfalls grow lush forests; nutrient-rich waters run into the bay from surrounding mountains; and the warm Kuroshio current flows up from Okinawa.
With over 200 species found in its bay, Owase has long been regarded as one of Japan's premiere fisheries regions, and the industry has shaped the local culture and community.
While Owase may be classed as a city, its tightknit community of welcoming, spirited locals, and their deep respect for the environment that supports their livelihood, makes it feel more like a quaint fishing village.
Trained at Pignon restaurant under Rimpel, Taro believes strongly in the need for food producers and consumers to understand each other's’ worlds and the need to remind people of the coexistence between people and nature.
To better understand the food they serve, Taro often visits the places, fishermen and farmers who supply their ingredients. He has visited Owase several times. After spending time with the fishermen and local community, he was inspired to share their stories and the natural beauty of Owase with the world, and started Rotable in 2017.
With a shared meal as the facilitator, Taro hopes to bring people together from urban and rural areas to realize the relationship between natural environment and food that comes from it, and create action for the revitalization and sustainability of Japan’s precious rural communities.
At 77 years old, Matsui is as sharp, passionate, and strong-willed as ever. When Tenmasou was threatened with demolition, she took to her red moped and went around town rallying support and funds to save the building. Her energy, sense of humor, and enthusiasm for preserving and revitalizing local culture, makes her a pillar of Owase and an inextricable part of the image of Tenmasou.
The Owase Hinoki Interior Material Processing Cooperative Association has kindly donated hand-crafted tables and tableware to Rotable. The Owase forestry industry is over 300 years old, and the Association hopes to be able to develop new markets for the industry, in order to revitalize it and pass it on to the next generation.
Working as a freelance journalist, Motomi has dedicated her career to telling the stories of local food, nature and people of the Kihanto region.