【Chadsey family’s review】A Visit We Will Never Forget!

unnamed-11Two Days at Tsunakan–A Visit We Will Never Forget!


We are a family from Seattle–Matt ‘Matsu’ Chadsey, wife Meg and son Roan–who were looking for a different experience than most Americans who visit Japan. Meg learned about Tsunakan by accident, while researching the shellfish industry around Kessenuma (she works with shellfish growers in Washington state).

She read in a Japan Guide article  that guests could participate in Mrs. Ichino Kanno’s oyster farm activities–we had to try this for ourselves! The article also said that Mrs. Ichino was a fun person, and that the chef Ryosuke made delicious meals.

スクリーンショット 2016-08-11 13.29.30

(Source: http://www.japan-guide.com/tour/2015/e/north/day14.html)

This turned out to be like describing Tokyo as “big”. Ichino-San had us laughing before we even entered the house, and every meal Ryosuke prepared was a culinary adventure. We enjoyed many kinds of seafood that we had never tried before (or even heard of!).


On our first day, they invited us to come down to the Kessenuma port to say “farewell” to their friends who were leaving on a 10-month tuna fishing trip.




Afterwards, Ryosuke took us to a small seafood market, where he picked out fresh bonito and uni for that evening’s sushi. The market also sells their ‘Milky Oyster Sauce’–oishi!


A large group from Tokyo was also staying at Tsunakan, and the next day we were able to join their tour of the oyster farm.


We learned how to string scallop shells on long lines for the baby oysters to grow on, packed up huge oysters for the market in Hokkaido, and took a boat out to the floating lines where smaller oysters grew on lines covered with wakame.



Looking around the beautiful bay and village, it’s hard to believe that it was badly damaged in the 2011 tsunami (to understand the magnitude of the devastation, visit the Rias Ark museum in Kessenuma, which has many pictures and artifacts from that disaster).


The people from this community have strong spirits and amazing energy. We were sad to say goodbye to our friends, but look forward to returning!