Every culture has its own contribution, the French and Japanese are most easily associated with umami, but there are many other contributers that might be more familiar. Take a look at this Umami Foods link if you want to see a comprehensive list of the foods that are considered umami and what part of the world contributed said item to the rest of the world. For instance, the US gave ketchup.
There is so much history to Japan and there are many places where the modern meets the feudal lords and samurais of yore. I am curious if I can find where culinary history meets culinary visionary or if I will even know what I am trying to find when I get there. I have some vision of what I should expect, but it is still a bit intangible. I think, in my travels around the world, I have found some examples. There was a sushi place in Bangkok where I had some Kobe sushi that sent my tastebuds to a new place, the Den Deli has the MOST amazing Ramen I have ever had (to include Bones which has a great Lobster Ramen), Domo (Michelin gave it "Top 5 Japanese restaurant in the US) has provided me some very memorable Japanese "country" meals, there was a sushi restaurant in NYC that boggled my mind with the single layer of rice wrapped rolls and these are just some of the more memorable Japanese meals I have had, I haven't even touched on other cuisines. I suppose I shouldn't leave off one of my favorites... if anything has umami it is the Marilyn Mon Roll at Katsu Sushi in Denver... yes, Denver! As surprising as it may seem to a landlocked city, Denver has a few superior sushi restaurants. Nothing as fresh as I expect to have when I spend a morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.