It all started seven years ago with a chance meeting on Thanksgiving in an Oakland, Calif., kitchen. Yoko Kumano, who lived in Tokyo at the time, and Kayoko Akabori, who lived in New York City, decided to start a food blog together.

“I knew I wanted to upload something every day, but I didn’t want it to just be me,” recalls Akabori (pictured, right). “Having different viewpoints,” she feels, makes the content more interesting. She adds, “That’s the spirit of Umamimart.  It’s very collaborative.”

And so the Umamimart food and bar culture blog was born.  The blog, which bills itself as “an international food + drink blog with focus on Japanese cuisine” now has almost a dozen contributors writing from cities around the world.

By 2010, both women had relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, and the blog had grown to 20,000 page views a month.