it's all about yu: a quick chat with yu yumoto of Natauracart

Yu Yumoto has a lot of energy. With skills in personal training, sports medicine and nutrition, and a dedication to finding and sharing the world’s best health and wellness products, there’s always something happening in a professional life that jostles for space between running marathons, XTERRA events and triathlons.

Graduating with a Ph.D. in Medicine from Juntendo University Medical School, Yu has been an Executive Advisor to the Nutritional Alliance USA and Nature Body House in Japan, as well as a Producer and Director of Nike Japan Run Training.

Yu gives back too, most notably in his position as founder and later sitting on the Board of Directors for JustGiving Japan Foundation (since renamed as JapanGiving). Today, JapanGiving is Japan’s biggest crowd-funding platform, which has raised more than US$10M for non-profit organisations.

Right now, Yu’s focused on – an online Japanese marketplace where customers can shop for top quality natural and organic lifestyle products selected by buyers from all over the world. The site has recently become the first Japanese home of The True Honey Co. high rated Manuka honey.

So it was only natural that we wanted to invite this busy man to our little corner of the world to meet our intrepid beekeepers, find out how we make our honey, and even answer a few questions on the fly.

Please tell us what you’re up to right now.
For the business, I'm pretty much focusing on Naturacart. Also, we are launching 'Japancart' in January 2018 as well. Japancart has more than 5,000 premium 'made in Japan' products already, and we are launching in China first and planning to expand to other Asian countries, USA and Europe soon.

For my personal goals, I will be competing in a few Ironman 70.3 triathlons and XTERRA (off road triathlon) events. Hopefully, I can come back to New Zealand soon and compete in the 'XTERRA New Zealand’ in Rotorua.

And please tell us what inspired you to launch Naturacart.
Since I moved to California six years ago, I have discovered so many organic grocery stores and products there. Then, I realised that you can't find many great natural or organic products in Japan. So our initial idea (to create such a marketplace for Japanese consumers) was hatched.

The idea of introducing customers in Japan to your global ‘buyers’ via Naturacart is interesting and unique. What’s the main reason for that?
We believe local people know the best products, shops and restaurants. It’s like getting good ‘insider’ advice from a local friend who’s always in the know.

What are the biggest challenges to owning and running a business like Naturacart?
Investing a lot of money to build our own online system from scratch and the need to keep investing in modification and improvement.

Describe the sights, sounds, and smells of your part of the world.
To be fair, where I live it’s always clear sky, blue ocean and sunshine. I'm so lucky to be living in Southern California!

Which three ingredients are absolutely indispensable in your kitchen/fridge/pantry?
Organic coffee, organic berries and of course high-quality Manuka honey!

On that note… How do you like to use your Manuka honey?
Drizzled over Greek yogurt with granola and berries for breakfast!

You’ve recently visited us in New Zealand. Where are you planning to travel to next?
Since my visit I’ve already travelled to Australia, Japan, Hawaii and California. Basically, I'm always travelling, but I actually prefer to stay home in San Diego and not travel so much, as San Diego is my favourite place in the world.

Find and follow Yu on Instagram at @yuyumoto1