How Did Japanese Market Mitsuwa End Up in Texas? Plano's Asian Population Isn't the Answer

Anyone who’s shopped at a Mitsuwa Marketplace has seen the riot of color.A rainbow of packaged sweets emblazoned with kawaii characters lines a grocery aisle, the bright red of fresh, sashimi-grade tuna beckons from a seafood case, the produce spread is a spectrum of greens and citrus hues.Still, Janet and Sam Shichijo plan to make a beeline for the grab-and-go meals when they check out the Japanese chain’s new Plano location.“The ready made tonkatsu and tempura that we can buy and put on the table,” she said. “We can go to Japanese restaurants, but we can’t go every night.”Since the Shichijos moved to Collin County some 30 years ago, a range of Asian grocers have opened in the area, from the Korean-leaning H-Mart to the primarily Chinese Jusgo Supermarket in the strip mall less than what might pass for a block down Legacy Drive from the new market.But North Texans unfamiliar with Mitsuwa can expect to feel more like they’re shopping at a Whole Foods, with its vast selection of artisanal takeout, than a 99 Ranch or Kroger.“I think that [a] Whole Foods-Wal-Mart comparison is a good one,” said Nancy Stalker, an associate professor of Asian Studies and history at the University of Texas at Austin who studies Japanese food and culture.  Continue reading...

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