- What led you to become a sushi chef?
I have always had a fascination with aquatic life, even at a young age. Growing up in Kyoto, I used to play at a creek near my house where there was a waterfall. I never grew tired of checking out the tadpoles, salamanders, and small fish.
I was also always comfortable in restaurants because my parents owned western styled cafés in Kyoto.
- So, you were born and grew up in Kyoto. How did you end up in Seattle?
During my senior year of high school, I did a 1-year exchange program at Lynwood High school. Then, I went to Seattle University and received a Bachelor's degree in International Studies.
- How was your high school experience, coming in as a foreign exchange student?
I had to learn how to fit in, and joining the swim team really helped with that. My event was the individual medley, and I remember having a friendly rivalry with a fellow teammate who was a German exchange student. I beat him which was really satisfying.
- What is your favorite restaurant at the moment?
Sand Point Grill. It is such a casual local restaurant, where the staff are really nice and there is a sense of community. I always feel relaxed when I dine there. My favorite items on the menu are the pork chops and braised beef.
- What is something on the menu at Tamura you wish people would try?
Whole fish. You can really lock in the flavor and moist texture with a fish that has not been de-skinned and beheaded. If it is slow, I am more than happy to show people how to debone fish so they aren’t intimidated by it.
- You are a dad now. What’s the key thing that has changed in your life?
My daughter, Tamie, gives me even more motivation to work hard. I want her to be proud of me – to see that I love what I do and that I am good at that. I know kids can see that, and I think it is really important.
- What is your #1 recommendation on what to do in Japan?
Check out the Gion Festival in Kyoto. It lasts the entire month of July and consists of a parade with many traditional floats. It is also a time where families open up their home and share their heirloom treasures such as swords and pottery that have been passed down through generations.
- What do you like to do on your day off?
I enjoy fly fishing very much. I just love it. I of course enjoy spending time with my wife, my daughter and our Jack Russell terrier.