From Language Partners to Life Partners

Luca & Mai's love story

Luca, a spirited Italian studying Japanese, meets Mai, a calm and collected visitor from Japan, through a language app. Sparks fly in a chance Milan encounter, and despite the initial hurdle of distance and a pandemic lockdown, they decide to build a life together in Bergamo.

While navigating daily life and cultural differences, they learn from each other: Luca tempers his impulsiveness under Mai's influence, while Mai embraces the adventurous spirit he ignites in her. Though leaving their beloved homes – Luca's bustling Italy and Mai's structured Japan – is initially a challenge, they find comfort and joy in their shared love, eventually settling in Yokohama with Mai's family.

Luca continues honing his Japanese, even dreaming of making prosciutto and salami to recreate a taste of Italy in their new home. Mai, despite anxieties about reintegration, discovers Japan's charms anew through Luca's eyes. Their love story is a testament to the power of language, understanding, and shared dreams, proving that sometimes, the best journey is taken with someone by your side.

Learn More In The Booklet Below👇

Every Taste and Story, All in One Box

Open the box and discover what you'll find!
A selection of quality products and the stories of where they came from, carefully chosen and curated for you!

By Hoshi no Kajitsu-en

Awajishima Strawberry Salt Cookies

These cookies are an original product developed with love exclusively for Shotengai. The workers at Hoshi no Kajitsu-en create sweets that utilize locally sourced ingredients from Awaji Island. They grow strawberries in their own orchard, pick them in the morning and use them to make cookies the same day.


Allergens: wheat, eggs, milk, almonds, lemon
Labels: Additive free, No artificial coloring, Vegetarian

By Seki-Seika Hompo

Hana-aya Tsumugi

A confection inspired by a colorful bouquet of flowers. Each piece involves hand-baking the rice cracker, rolling it, and then filling it with cream and three types of dried fruits. When you gift this to someone special, your true feelings might just be gifted right along with it!


Allergens: wheat, egg, milk, soy, kiwi fruit, honey
Labels: Vegetarian

By Minami Shinshu Kashikobo

Tochiotome Strawberry Soft Dried Fruit

Tochiotome is a strawberry variety grown in Tochigi Prefecture. "Tochi" is from Tochigi and "Otome" means a lovely young woman. Fresh and interesting-shaped strawberries are made into dried fruit, which are done immediately after being harvested.


Allergens: N/A
Labels: Sodium free, Non-fat, No artificial coloring, Fragrance free


Gluten-Free Madeleine

NEVERS makes several gluten-free products in addition to its baumkuchen. This succulent madeleine is enriched with almond powder.


Allergens: eggs, milk, soy, almonds
Made in a factory that uses: wheat

Labels: Gluten free, VegetarianV

By Aoki-Koetsudo (Since 1892)

Ringo Yokan

Yokan is a wagashi (Japanese snack) made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar. It is often enjoyed alongside tea. While yokan typically comes in flavors like red-bean or chestnut, apple-flavored yokan is quite rare. The moment you open it, you can immediately smell its fruitiness.


Allergens: apples

Labels: Vegan


Gluten-Free Cut Baum

In this baumkuchen, Japanese-grown Yamadanishiki rice is used instead of wheat flour. It has a moister and chewier texture compared to baumkuchen made with wheat flour. And, of course, it's gluten free. The factory is located in a naturally rich area called Kai-gun in Gifu Prefecture.


Allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, almonds
Made in a factory that uses: wheat

Labels: Gluten free, Vegetarian, Low-sodium

By ideca

Dried Watermelon

Ideca is a restaurant cafe located in Nabari City, Mie Prefecture. They create dishes and sweets using homegrown fruits. This dried watermelon snack is just that - watermelon is its only ingredient. The natural sweetness is condensed into small snack-sized bites. Simple and delicious, can't beat that!


Allergens: N/A

Labels: Additive free, No sugar, No artificial coloring, Vegan

Ву A&A

Okara & Rice Sablé

Okara is the leftover part after squeezing soy milk from soybeans during tofu production. It's rich in the flavors of soy, as well as protein and dietary fiber, making it a nutritious and healthy food. Additionally, this sablé uses rice flour instead of wheat flour, making it naturally gluten free.


Allergens: soy
May contain: wheat, eggs, milk

Labels: Mottainai product, Additive free, Gluten free, Vegetarian

By Minami Shinshu Kashikobo

Hitokuchi Peach

Experience the taste of bite-sized Japanese peaches. They are natural in color and flavor, making them safe for even small children to enjoy. Minami Shinshu Kashikobo is located in Achi Village, which is often referred to as the place closest to the starry sky in Japan. Maybe you can enjoy this snack with a loved one under the stars!


Allergens: N/A
Labels: Sodium free, Non-fat, No artificial coloring, Fragrance-free, Vegetarian

By Sanshin

Lucky Ume-Mayo

Sanshin is a company that makes mayonnaise-flavored rice crackers under the brand "Lucky Series." With a rich mayonnaise flavor and a balanced hint of sour plum, the more you eat, the more your appetite will increase (so be careful). Note the character on the package who is making a face. That's because they just ate some plums! Lucky!


Allergens: wheat, milk, egg, soy
Made in a factory that uses: peanuts, shrimp, crab, almonds, squid, walnuts, mackerel, sesame, cashews, orange, pork, chicken, beef, apples, bananas
Labels: Gluten free, Vegetarian

By Mochi-Kobo

Almond Tofu Chocolate

Almond tofu originates from China but is also a highly popular dessert in Japan. It has a texture similar to custard pudding or jelly. This particular version is crafted with a white chocolate flavor. It used to be extremely popular when it was sold at Lawson's convenience stores in Japan.


Allergens: milk, soy
Made in a factory that uses: peanuts, sesame, wheat, eggs, shrimp, crab, almonds, squid, walnuts, mackerel, cashews, oranges, pork, chicken, beef, apples, bananas

Labels: Vegetarian, Low-sodium

By Hitokuchido Seika Hompo

Dainagon Jelly

Hitokuchido is an established confectionery shop in Osaka, founded in 1897. The small chestnuts reflecting within the translucent jelly give the appearance of amber. Incidentally, "Dainagon" refers to an ancient Japanese official's rank, equivalent to the modern-day position of "Minister of State."


Allergens: tree nuts

Labels: Vegan

By Minami Shinshu Kashikobo

Yuzu Peel Chocolat

Inside this "chocolat" is a peel of yuzu, sourced from Kochi Prefecture. Despite being dried, the yuzu peel retains its original resilience. This is a limited-edition product available only in autumn and winter.


Allergens: milk, soy, honey

Labels: Sodium free, Vegetarian

By Toraya-Yoshisuye

Tarugata Senbei & Fu-yaki

The design of the Tarugata senbei features labels from a Japanese sake brand produced in Kobe. Fu-yaki, a type of wheat gluten confection, is made by baking mochi rice and decorating it with sugar patterns. The red plum blossoms evoke the arrival of spring.


Allergens: eggs, wheat, honey
Labels: Vegetarian, Low-sodium

By Kaga Kensetsu

Bowcha Tea: Brown Rice Flavor

Bowcha is a type of Japanese roasted green tea, and it differs from the typical roasted green tea made from tea leaves as it uses the stem portion that has not been traditionally utilized. Kaga Kensetsu is a company based in Ishikawa prefecture, and their Bowcha Tea is blended with brown rice, creating a unique flavor profile.


Allergens: N/A
Labels: Mottainai product, Vegan, Organic, Additive free


Hinoakane Japanese Tea

This is a green tea made using Sun Rouge tea leaves from Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. It contains catechins (epigallocatechin gallate), flavonols, and other polyphenols, as well as anthocyanins. It also has the potential to help control post-meal blood sugar spikes.


Allergens: N/A
Labels: Additive free, Vegan