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Francesco Bellissimo Meets Shigeki Oomine, President of Oomine, Inc.

  Shigeki Oomine, President
Shodoshima International Friendship Club

Address: 5164 Tonosho-ko, Shodo-gun
Tel: (0879) 62-1147
(from overseas: 81-879-62-1147
“Shodoshima has the smallest strait in the world,” Mr. Oomine told me proudly. With a total length of only 2.5 km, a maximum width of 400 m and a minimum width of 9.93 m, Dobuchi Strait is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.   Shodoshima is a great place to get real Sanuki udon, the chewy wheat noodles for which Kagawa prefecture is so famous. Mr. Oomine runs his own shop, called “Oomine’s Udon Shop.” Shodoshima is actually more famous for Japanese vermicelli but Mr. Oomine insists that if you’re coming to the island, you should be sure to try the udon, too.   The island-studded sea surrounding Shodoshima really is beautiful. I felt myself relax just looking at the scenery. The island is now on my list of favorite places in Japan.

30-years supporting exchange between Guam and Shodoshima

When I first visited Shodoshima, I confess that I had never even heard of it. Once here, I found it a wonderfully relaxing place. The views of the Seto Inland Sea are picture-perfect and the island’s many olive orchards remind me of home. It was Mr. Oomine who told me that Shodoshima is known as Japan’s Aegean isle and I can see why.   Mr. Oomine happens to be the president of Shodoshima’s International Friendship Club, a very active organization that has been conducting exchanges with high school students in Guam for over 30 years. According to him, the exchanges began 33 years ago when a group of Guam high school students came to the island to practice their Japanese. They joined in classes at a local junior high school and stayed with the local students’ families. “This year we’re planning to have them clean the school.” Mr. Oomine said with a grin. “Kids in Japan clean their school everyday but apparently they don’t do that in Guam.” Well, that’s certainly one experience they could only get in Japan.   I’m frequently invited to Japanese elementary and junior high schools to speak about the importance of healthy eating and to give cooking classes. I would love to do that for children on Shodoshima and share my Italian food culture with them. Mr. Oomine thinks this is a great idea so I’m quite excited about it. And as he happens to be the president of the Genuine Sanuki Udon Association, I’ll have to get him to teach me how to make Sanuki udon!