Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Little About My Personal Experience With Japan and Japanese Food.

I thought I needed to maybe bring everyone up to date about how I personally became such a big fan of Japanese food.  So please bare with me as I tell you my story.  I will try to give the "Readers Digest" version as much as possible....  But my life has been anything but a Readers Digest story.  

I first experienced Japan and Japanese food in March of 1971.  I was called on a Christian mission to Japan by my church, (LDS... Mormon as it is most commonly known).  I first went to Hawaii for 8 weeks to "learn" the language.  That was a joke.  You can not learn a language in 8 weeks.. lol.. but.. none the less I finally arrived in Tokyo, Narita Airport and immediately realized that I didn't know anything about Japanese, Japan or Japanese cuisine.   My first experience with Japanese food was at a small restaurant in Ropongi district in Tokyo where I had what is now one of my favorite dishes, Yakisoba.  That night I experienced the first of many episodes with food poisoning.  I learned right off that you have to be a bit more careful about where you go to eat.  The experience did not detour me though..  I however, did loose nearly 20 pounds over the first 3 months because I was afraid to eat anything.  During this first 3 months I had my first experience with Sashimi,  maguro (tuna).  I had one bite because my companion insisted that I at least try it.  Our hostess then fried me an egg and gave me some rice to eat with it.. laughing all the while at my inability to eat good food.  She was right... it was a bit immature.

Ok.. fast forward to 1973,  I married my sweetheart, that I met while I was a missionary, and for the last 45 years I have been immersed in the Japanese culture and lifestyle.

In 1994, my sweetheart, Noriko and I decided to try our hand at restaurant-ism.   We worked hard and opened the doors to "Japanese Restaurant Tanpopo and Sushi Bar"  In Smithfield Utah.  We tried for a year but we found two major things wrong, first our location was not so good... in fact it was down right rotten. Second, our main clientele were farmers. I don't have anything against farmers, in fact I grew up on a farm, sort of. But, have you ever asked a farmer if they like sushi??  lol.. not a good question to ask a farmer.

Rainbow Roll my version

butterfly from my Restaurant
Dragon Roll and buterfly

So long story short.. we closed the doors and a year later we opened again in Logan Utah.  It was a much much better location.  We skipped some of the mistakes of our first venture and after about 5 years of blood sweat and tears and a lot of mistakes.. we finally made our first profit.  I hired several Japanese chefs and was able to learn the technics and subtleties of sushi making.

Later I also was asked to teach a sushi class at the University in the culinary program.  so for more than 40 years I have eaten Japanese food almost everyday.  Sushi has been a very large part of that.

I love Japan.  I love Japanese culture.  I love Japanese people... and I crave good Japanese food all the time.

Currently I am living in Thailand, Teaching English.  I don't get much Japanese food tho. lol... I eat Thai food everyday now.  I am gaining a better appreciation for Thai cuisine and cooking and hope someday to learn how to make Thai food.  But, I will save that for another blog.. lol..

No comments:

Post a Comment