Monthly Archives: June 2008

Great People Promoting Japanese Food Overseas

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries(MAFF) announced the winners of the third annual Minister’s Award Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food last week. 5 people were selected as follows:  

Yasuo Kumoda spent 20 years to create a “tofu” market in the US. He challenged to gain tofu recognition as a “health food” among US consumers. Toshiro Konishi owns a Japanese restaurant in Peru. He has been training professional chefs in the fine art of Japanese cuisine and teaching at local universities and cooking schools. Tai Tak Fung imported Japanese food ingredients for many years in Hong Kong. Markus Hastenpflug of Germany has been promoting Japanese green tea in Europe, Russia, Qatar and the US. He visited retailers and stores door to door. Kunio Yoneda established the Japanese Chef Association US Branch as well as the Japanese Restaurant Association in the US.

Nobu Matsuhisa won the award last year. The winners all took advantage of being the first movers and shakers and made it. I truly admire them. Everybody in the world now knows sushi. Can sushi be the Pizza of 21st century? Or, ramen? Only food knows.



The Mecca of Conveyor Belt Sushi—Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture

50 years has passed since the first conveyer sushi bar opened in Osaka. A sushi stand owner came up with the idea from a beer manufacturing factory line in 1958. This invention has greatly contributed to our sushi culture and has made sushi more accessible to everyone. Ishikawa Prefecture, which is famous for its traditional style Japanese town, Kanazawa, as well as the birthplace of New York Yankees’ Hideki Matsui, is often called “the Mecca of Kaiten(conveyor belt) Sushi.” Two of the biggest manufacturers who have headquarters in Ishikawa supply the conveyor systems to almost all of the sushi bars throughout Japan. The system is also shipped overseas rotating around the world. People in the area are proud of the companies and have created a sushi consumer market there. You’ll see myriad of conveyor belt sushi bars in Kanazawa and see tons of entertaining food items such as melon or ice cream rotating pass in front of you. See you round!   



I went to Nodaiwa, a fifth-generation restaurant specializing in Unagi. I stopped over for a unagi-donburi(grilled eel over rice) for a quick meal. But, it turned into a real pleasant quality lunch. The restaurant is located close to Tokyo Tower. Inside the traditional-style roofed building, they have both Japanese and Western style seating which will allow you to relax. They also have an English menu. I saw a classy middle-aged couple and executive-like gentleman with a Western lady having lunch in the early afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. The rice was prepared perfectly and went well with the melting fatty eel fillet. Yum. I need this tasty stamina building food every so often during summer to survive the Tokyo heat.

Nothing more than eelings…