Introducing Somekind Japan

By Sherry Zheng and Jessica Thompson

Tokyo went into a Covid-induced state of emergency in April, 2020. At the time of writing in March 2021, it’s back in a state of emergency. Venues need to close by 8pm, with last orders by 7.30pm – for diners in pre-Covid days, you’re barely out of the office at this time. This has battered hospitality businesses, especially combined with a double-whammy of the 2020 Olympics cancellation... but the Tokyo organism keeps going, fuelled by loyal locals and devoted chefs. Michelin-starred restaurants make bento boxes, kaiseki restaurants launch online stores, bars do brunch – whatever survival entails.

We’re Sherry Zheng and Jessica Thompson, editors of Tokyo-based bilingual food culture publication, APPETITE, and now the curators of Take away Tokyo. Starting from this month, we’ll be taking you on a journey through the culinary labyrinth of this incredible city, where old and new worlds coexist, and which can feel surprisingly intimate in its enormity. We’ll go behind the scenes of a bakery using organic Japanese wheat, on a deep-dive into dashi with a kaiseki chef, and into the resonant chamber of a wine bar designed around acoustics, and that’s just the beginning.

Book 1: Pigalle, Welcome to our small world

Book 2: Bricolage Bread & Co., How to build a bakery