The Japanese word “mori” (pronounced “mo-lee”) means “forest,” which, according to Amelia Juliano, well suits her store, nestled among the trees in the Village of Delaware Ridge in Dingmans Ferry, off Route 739.
Mori Asian Goods, which opened in July 2019, is a pan-Asian potpourri of drinks (non- alcoholic), snacks, and frozen and packaged meals from Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China, and Thailand. Juliano also sells chopsticks, cutesy little purses, and an assortment of Asian knick-knacks, including Japanese lacquer bowls and children’s jewelry.
The store appeals to a range of customers, from children, who like the purses, dolls, and jewelry, to adults of all ages, whether they are interested in all things Asian or experienced Asia hands.
Juliano herself is an enigma. She grew up in Dingmans Ferry, where her family has lived for 31 years. She graduated from Delaware Valley High School and attended William Patterson University. She is a shy, soft-spoken young woman with the heart of an adventurer and the soul of an explorer. Having always been interested in Japanese language and culture, she took two semesters of Japanese language and literature at William Patterson.
Upon graduation, she decided to experience Japan for herself, a brave move that took her a very long way from Dingmans Ferry. But it was her dream. She spent six years in Japan teaching English, three years in Shibuya, a district of Tokyo, where she taught an international kindergarten, and three years in Setagaya, another district of Tokyo, where she was a head teacher for Mommy and Me classes and where she also taught adults.
She arrived in Japan on March 1, 2011, only ten days before the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 people. During this very scary time, the Japanese people were kind and helpful, she said.
‘A different path’
Juliano was living her philosophy of life. “You only have one life,” she said. “You have to take a chance because you may not get to do it later.”
She took the opportunity to travel to other Asian countries, including vacations in Seoul and Busan, South Korea.
When she returned to the states, she noticed that the building in Delaware Ridge was available. Once again, she took a leap.
“I wanted to take a chance, to take a different path and see what would happen,” she said.
Her store is an Asian wonderland. She sells a range of fun products -- sodas, teas, and snacks, such as Pocky, chocolate covered biscuit sticks, and green tea flavored biscuit sticks; and Mochi, a popular sticky rice, bite-sized snack filled with red bean paste or green tea paste. The young at heart can find Ramune, a Japanese soda in a glass bottle with a ball inside. When you push down on the bottle, the ball drops. Ramune comes in watermelon, strawberry, and blueberry flavors. Juliano also sells frozen Gyoza, dumplings; as well as garlic teriyaki sauce and a Korean garlic seaweed snack.
If one prefers instant meals, there are four varieties of Vietnamese pho noodles, beef, garlic, mushroom, and vegetable; spicy hot Kimchi instant noodles; and curry.
If you decide to visit, tell Juliano “konnichiwa” -- hello.
“You only have one life,” she said. “You have to take a chance because you may not get to do it later.” --Amelia Juliano