2016年6月28日火曜日






Kiku Sushi, owner Mr. Osamu Kikuta




Kiku Sushi is a newly opened sushi place in Kitasenju, Tokyo and has reasonable price for beautiful and fresh sushi pieces.



Please tell me your carrier background and the cue to open this store.


I am from Fukushima and worked for a real-estate rental company as a sales representative. There was a time I wanted to run own business. I also liked to eat sushi and had something special for it on intuition for a long time.



Then I came to Tokyo to study in the Sushi training school. I was there about five years. In days of old, a young man started his training at an individual small sushi restaurant and that was the ordinary route. In this way, it takes long time until the young man is allowed to make a piece of sushi or even prepare some fish. But at the training school, they teach from the basic and the students are able to start making sushi from the first level.

Of course, there is a significance meaning for receiving a hard training for a long time in an indivisual restaurant. On the other hand, there are many people quit training before becoming a sushi chef. Therefore, many of the individual sushi stores end up closing their business because of lacking heirs.



I met my master at the training school. He retired the school but kept teaching me at his store. Since he trained many students and examined taste for a long time, there were so much to learn. For example, he taught me how to use the different level of fire and cook eggs until it becomes brown or not. These examination of taste is not easy to continue unless you are a trainer at the culinary school. Therefore, he gave me a wide variety of knowledge and skills as if he revealed his 57 years of life.



Based on his knowledge and skill, we would like to continue examining new taste in our way. We are not the high-end restaurant, but we provide sushi with reasonable price and want our customers to come back again over and over.

It is possible to get the highest quality of fish if you pay a lot. But it is difficult for us to achieve that level since our sushi is not too expensive. But we try to use the excellent fish even though cost percentage is high.



We make our house blend soy sauce and use rice from Hokkaido.

We buy fresh wild fish but not farm-raised one and tuna fish are wild-caught ones called “hon-maguro.” Most of fish are bought from Tsukiji market where my master introduced me.







Your sushi restaurant has a beautiful structure based on the Japanese traditional construction frame using natural color of wood. Who mainly planned this?


I and my master designed this place together. Actually, he has a cancer and has a really hard time working as a sushi owner. But he put a lot of effort on this place and I sincerely appreciate for his cooperation. He supposed to be with me behind the sushi counter, but he is no longer able to make sushi.



What is particular about your sushi?


Our guests praise us for something cooked or grilled like steamed clams, sea eels, sweetened eggs. We do something different on the preparation process, and this courteous step would add more flavor on sushi. This technique is again from my master.

Compare to other sushi places, our vinegar might be a little saltier. After choosing rice bland and quantity of vinegar, rice mixed with vinegar did not match to the regular soy sauce. That is the reason we blend and make our original house soy sauce. The total balance of rice, vinegar, and soy sauce is important.





Sushi represents the most popular food in Japan. How do you understand the trend of modern sushi?


There are wide variety of sushi styles to match with the clients’ needs. This is how it is supposed to be. As the generation changes, some of the traditional sushi places maintain their old style. On the other hand, there are many chain sushi restaurants developing the new age sushi field. Each business should seek out their own style and concept.




Some of the people from the overseas have difficult time eating raw fish and unfamiliar fish. How do you recommend them to eat sushi?


Sometimes it might be too difficult for them to enjoy Japanese classical style sushi. I recommend them to start from familiar fish like salmon and tuna. We can serve sushi with using their ingredients to follow their cuisine culture.





What do you expect after three years?


I want to establish close relationship with all the local people so that they can come to visit us anytime. This is not a high-end sushi place but it is rather affordable price one. I want to do my best to be accepted by the local people around here.



I chose Kitasenju, Tokyo as for opening this place because of vibrant atmosphere and friendly people. It is also a town where locals and new people fuse together well. Our place is located right outside of the shopping promenade. It is peaceful and perfect location for sushi restaurant.

What kind of support would be helpful from this community?


I want to provide delicious sushi with our best service with all the stuff. It will be the place that many of the guests want to come back again. Hopefully, our reputation will spread around through word-of-mouth communication. This will be the greatest cooperation of the community.



I pay the special attention to the guests and enjoy conversation with them. It is not just a place to eat but to know something new each other based on the human relationship. This relationship will lead to the trust. We are all younger sushi chefs, so our atmosphere is very friendly.





What was the best sushi you have eaten before?


My master’s sushi in Yotsuya, Tokyo



Please come and stop by anytime regardless of our classic Japanese style entrance. Our price is reasonable but quality is still close to the high-end place. We look forward to meeting our new guests!!





2016年6月21日火曜日


Café BLAITE, owner Mr. Saito



Café BlAITE is located in Nishiarai, Tokyo. Mr. Saito creates unique and colorful cake influenced by France. He recommends everyone to eat cake at the café instantly to enjoy the atmosphere.




 

Can you tell me your work record?


After graduating Ikebukuro cooking school, I worked for Piece Montee in Ginza for two and half years. After that, my friend in Osaka invited me as a chef patissier in Burdigara. The owner wanted me to make very traditional French style gateau. When they ordered me to make “Berawecka”, I was not able to understand what it was. It was mortifying and made me want to study real French sweets. I was 26 and flew to France. I might have just wanted to win as a patissier. In fact, I did not study French at all and there were not so many friends there, so the life in France was very hard.



Through my Japanese friend in France, I got a job and started a training. There were many immigrants and my boss was a Cambodian-French, so it was difficult to communicate with. Two of other Japanese co-workers mostly helped for me as for the language. It was nice to have a strong relationship with other Japanese people. Since we shared all our joys and sorrows with colleagues, our bond got stronger. I still get in touch with old friends at that time.

In the first place, I learned baking bread and preparing a deli.



The second place was a patisserie store located in 14th arrondissement, and I was the only Japanese there. I was picked for a while by other co-workers, but after Christmas event, the boss accredited my ability. Since Japanese are earnest and have hand dexterity, he probably liked me a little more than others. At the end, he wanted me to take over his position to run the place. But I wanted to study other field, so I left this place.



The third place was a chocolate store and I studied there for a while. Throughout four years of my stay in France, I studied in the six different places. While I was there, I got an award for candy making competition. However, I had to come back to Japan because of my father’s illness.



After getting back in Japan, I worked as a chef patissier at Sun Fruits in Roppongi, Tokyo in time with opening. I got to use many of expensive fruits like mangos, strawberries, and peaches to create a variety of sweets. It was certainly nice experience.



Then I worked at the one star grill restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. They incorporated French style for grill dish, and I was deeply involved into the dessert served at the restaurants.

Since I wanted to take a responsibility for what I create regardless the size of store, I decided to open my own café. It is desirable to be able to deliver my idea directly to the customers.



In France, people bring a bottle of wine for their birthday and they drink and work. But they keep their quality of sweets. Also customers have their own preference clearly, and they order “Please give me that right brown baguette right there.” They are not like Japanese customers who are very sensitive for media information and prevailing food. I wish Japan were like France culture. It is important to take into customers’ preference. If the owners can enjoy what they do and create cozy atmosphere, customers can feel the same and will visit us naturally.





This is a very stylish interior and what is the concept of this place?


We basically collect what we like here. Since our sweets have bright color, we wanted to stay simple using just black and white. Our name “BLAITE” means black and white to describe the image of coffee and cream. Most of Japanese cake shops put the name card for the cakes like “cheese cake”. I want to go beyond the stereotype of formal Japanese cake shop.



Your cake name is displayed as five different colors in French. Why do you use colors for cake’s name?


I wanted to do something other people do not do. And again, I want to step out of classic Japanese cake shop. Perhaps, many of patissiers will say these are not cake because they do not have crème on top or it is not a piece from the whole cake.

But I wanted to create adorable looking shape since this is a café where you can eat cake right after choosing from the display. Keeping the same shapes and price make it simple for the customers to look. Not writing the description of cake makes customers think what is inside. That gains their anticipated value and expand their imagination.





What is your message through these sweets?


We use the top quality ingredients but our price is not too expensive. Therefore, I want everyone in Adachi-ku, Tokyo to drop by our place without feeling fancy. There is deep café culture in France and I wish Japan were influenced by them. In Japan, we usually buy sweets at the store and eat at home, but eating at the café increases the taste of dish even better. Where you eat is a part of essence belonging to the meal. For example, when you go out for dinner at the top class restaurant, you wear nice clothes, sit up straight, and eat meal with nice music. But at home, there is a loud TV and it is difficult for you to concentrate on the plate. This ineffective environment halves delicate sweets taste. Of course, my plate has special choreography which you can see only in the café. I am thinking about summer dessert plate right now.





What is the most important thing when you create sweets?


It is not allowed to demand too much for the ingredients. I always listen to what ingredients are trying to tell, and find out the best condition and timing to deliver to the customers. Some patissiers place needless strains on the ingredients, but I keep step in the seasons and condition of the ingredients as long as my time allows.



How do you want people from overseas to understand your sweets?


I would like them to see our sweets which Japanese patissiers create. Japanese patissiers are now recognized by winning the prizes in the world. Therefore, now is the timing to raise the entire level of sweets industry in Japan. Even the place you drop by on the street could be the delicious place. I wish this industry could be the place all the patissiers create their own original sweets but not only thinking about the management.



 

What was the most impressive sweets in the past?


The most shocking one was Mr. Tsujiguchi.

I was also impressed by HERME’s Plaisir Sucre. The way how they can present ingredient proves high technique of the French.

I think we should apply basic of sweets to expand to the next level.

There are not so many places which have café in the cake shop but just sell cake. I hope other patissiers will recognize that there is such a unique place like us.







2016年6月14日火曜日


Matsumoto Fish Store in Adachi Market, CEO Mr. Kyoichi Matsumoto






Matsumoto Fish Store is located in Adachi Market, Tokyo. It is a store where sushi owners go to buy fish. That means they have the best quality and freshness.



Can you tell me the cooperate development?


We started our business in 1940s and I am the third generation. My grandfather was working under a fish market in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Then he bought a land in Nishiarai, Tokyo since the fish market itself was moving there. He continuously worked as a broker and moved to Adachi market in Kitasenju.



 

What is the future of this store?


We have reasonable and fresh fish here. You can also see uncommon fish.

Sushi owners used to buy our fish which means our quality is high. Now there are more bar owners because of the trend of the times. Therefore, we try to provide a variety of fish. We accept detailed orders from store owners.



We try to purchase something that our customers want to buy.

For example, we buy some squids if that is the day sushi owner comes. Even Asakusa sushi owner comes to buy from us. In the morning, there are orders through email and telephone, and we follow their orders.






How can we pick the fresh fish?


Shiny fish is the sign of fresh fish. For sardines, rather firm and resilient ones are better when you hold them. For bonitos, fresh red color is important when you open it. Of course, keeping their bones with fish can keep it as fresh. Once you open and cut fish, it deteriorates quickly. So it would be better to consider the time to eat when you purchase fish.



What is the role of this store in Adachi Market?


We are very competitive to Tsukiji Market regarding the price and freshness and we also provide the same to the locals.



What do you think about the consumption of fish in Japan these days?


Most of people have an impression that fish is expensive, so we hope consumption will be increased.

There are customers who have a long relationship and they run their stores. If their businesses go well, they buy more fish. We hope more new owners visit us.

For the public customers, they do not know how to cut fish. If we have a time, we slice fish in filets like in a super market. 



What do you recommend for the foreigners?


They might be interested in shellfish rather than fish categories.

We sell them as sliced so please ask us anything!



How do you recommend to eat seasonal fish?


If they are fresh, please enjoy them as raw (sashimi).





What would you like to do in the future to expand more business?


Since Tsukiji market is moving to the new location, we are thinking about intruding new systems so that we can maintain freshness as long as possible in Adachi Market as well. For example, keeping this fridge 10 constantly, then we can keep fresh fish even in the middle of hot summer.

We are also considering to build a facility to attract foot traffic into the market.

Running service through internet with other brokers is another plan.



I got to see prospective customers constantly coming to the store in the early morning, I was able to feel a bustling market. They are very welcome to have public customers and can teach us about fish friendly. Please come and visit Matsumoto fish store in Adachi Market.





For more information, please click following link;



2016年6月9日木曜日


Liquor retailer “Kaneshin” in Niigata, CEO Mr. Nagao







What does “Kaneshin” mainly sell?


We specialize in liquor made in Niigata. I visit sake breweries and negotiate with presidents. If they like me, they give permission to sell their sake. Since sake draws attentions from all over the world, breweries chose a liqueur retailer. They judge whether this liqueur retailer can be enough for selling their sake. It is no longer “This retailer can sell my sake”, but “This retailer can convey a story to customers about sake, breweries, and the local area.” Breweries want us to support not only the sake but the local culture and people.

 

How do you contribute ways to convey the story to customers?


Therefore, I try to convey breweries’ desire such as sticking to local water and special rice bland. Especially rice changes sake’s flavor, so breweries are careful for choosing rice grew up certain area.



I am a third generation of this shop. This shop has started from my grandfather. I knew that I will succeed to my father’s position ever since I was a child. Until my father’s generation, our business focused mainly Niigata area, but there was a chance to expand it to other areas when I succeeded. Then the chance becomes twice or three times a year, and now we come to Tokyo about 12 times a year.

 

What kind of feedbacks do you get from your customers?


Compare to other hard liqueur, sake in Niigata is mild and human-body friendly. It has 15% of alcohol and Niigata people prefer to drink it over a long time. If you have a chance to drink hard sake, please prepare a cup of water and try to alternate sake and water. It eases the effect on your body.

 

What is a unique role of sake?


This is what I heard from a chef.

Wine is for eliminating taste between dish A and B.

Sake it connecting a dish to dish. Leaving some resonance from dish A to dish B is possible for sake.





How do you recommend the people from overseas to drink sake?


I recommend them to drink sake at room temperature so that they can understand the taste clearly.

Sake changes their names every 5, and we can enjoy it over a wide range of temperature.

Perhaps sake is the only liqueur makes it possible. Japanese people used to change sake’s temperature in harmony with seasons. Sake represents fermentation culture of Japan and I am very proud of the fact it is still remained in our life.



What is the next challenge from here on?


I would like to come out to Tokyo as often as possible so that I can meet people. Connection of people would sustain for a long time but not the commodities. Therefore, commodities can be just a tool for me. I would love hear the words that “I bought this sake from Mr. Nagao” rather than “I bought this sake from Kaneshin.”



I am very happy to meet people who come to see me from all over the place. I hope that they can see me a nice smiley man enjoying a life and for me, keeping a good distance is important between the customers.



2016年6月6日月曜日




Child-rearing Café “eatoco” had been running a place where children and parents can relax together with other people form the local community. They also started selling organic vegetables, bread, and some baked sweets at the market. Now, they are preparing for opening a new child-rearing café and looking for a location near Nishiarai, Tokyo. We interviewed the representative, Ms. Naoko Abe.



What was your occupation before running this organization?

I used to work for an editorial company making real estate letterzines, but I was not so into the staid business field. When I had to edit the book no one would read, I realized that I have to work for the people who actually I can see right in front.





What is on the origin to start Child-rearing Café?

After giving my birth to the first child, I wanted to have a little time to rest while someone can watch over my baby. If “someone” could be your friend, you need to make a phone call to ask for a visit from time to time. I wanted to have a cozy place where any mothers can come anytime they want to relax without feeling uneasy. Children do not have to be watched over not only from parents but should be supported by the entire community like a decade ago.



If you have an unusual idea like no one would listen to, it is easy to end up not making an action and you will regret later. I just kept telling other mothers of my unusual idea establishing Child-rearing Café. Then some people who have a variety of talent felt the same way and we all struggled to make it to the real.

When you become 40s, you think about how you want to live in your life rather than how other people think who you are. I wish all the people could think the same so that they can live freely.





What would you like to attain through running Child-rearing Café?

I would like to provide a place where the neighbors and mothers who are exhausted after taking care of children can relax together. Therefore, we need an assistant like grandmother who can watch over children only a short time. This will be the place where all generations can communicate without boundaries. In Japan, there are many nuclear families so we no longer have a chance to speak to elderly people. When grandmothers and grandfathers have a role in the café, they would feel like they can be of assistance still.





What is the effect for the children when they can communicate with different generations?

They become more patient, gentle, and keep a look out for the elderlies.

Last year when I run café, some people just came for the food, wanted to hung out with children, or just interested in the café, but I think my goal has been achieved to 80 %. I am looking for a new location for the café near Nishiarai station now since the last place was too far away from my place.





What is the ideal image of the new café?

I would like to create a place to heal mothers rather than nursing kids. So it could be stylish despite it is in Adachi-ku.

I would like to stick to natural food like organic vegetables and meat without hormone use.  Ever since my children were born, I am more sensitive for food they intake. Making broth with seaweed and dried bonito build up children’s gustation.



I will find a location and prepare for the new café soon so that all the mothers can come to relax with great atmosphere. Please contact me if you ever know the open space near Nishiarai, Tokyo.



Thank you very much for your time and wish you the best for opening Child-rearing Café.


For more information, please see below.
eatoco
http://www.eatoco.com/