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Karma Kitchen

July 21, 2014
Pay It Forward Food
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, however a number of generous foodies in Tokyo are promising willing diners an honest, hearty meal that won’t set them back so much as a yen. Karma Kitchen is a global volunteer-run initiative, founded in California in 2007, that offers participants a free feed; guests aren’t asked or expected to pay but can make a voluntary donation which goes toward funding the next dining event. In effect, what you eat has been paid for by a prior patron. Contributions can be made in cash, food, produce, or services, with some past diners opting to pay by way of a musical serenade or a dance performance.

The Tokyo offshoot holds bi-monthly lunch and dinner events at different restaurants across the city. The businesses provide the space and stovetops pro-gratis, volunteers do the cooking and guests are gifted a tasty 3-course set meal that might feature sushi, salad or even spaghetti bolognaise. Seating is communal and all meals come with a note from someone who ate at the last Karma Kitchen (in turn you’re asked to jot down a little letter for a future attendee). The food may be simple but you’re guaranteed to leave with a full heart and stomach, and if you really want to show your support, offer a few extra coins to ensure the good work continues.

Visit the Karma Kitchen Japan Facebook page for details of upcoming events in Tokyo, or check the international website for a branch near you /