I was born in Tokyo, Japan and traveled to and was raised in many different countries such a Korea, Taiwan, and United States. My father owned restaurants, and growing up in different places I always witnessed my father teaching his employees that "you have to "use your heart to cook your dishes", and the chef's job is not simply just to "throw food on plate." When I was 14, I remember helping him with the restaurant work after school even though he had over 20 employees in his restaurant. One day I told him that I wanted to be a chef like him and become his apprentice and he believed that I was being very naive.
He decided to put me into the kitchen and treated me like the other workers, because he wanted me to feel how hard this type of work was. As the economy began to get worse, as well as my father's physical health at the time, it was a practical need for me to help him. By the time I graduated high school, I was thoroughly trained with all the culinary skills of a chef. The most important lesson that I learned as a chef growing up, in a time with little refrigeration and high expectations in the freshness of the ingredients, was the diligence in waking up early to get fresh seafood at the fish pier. In 1985, I landed in Seattle, Washington, From Seattle, I worked as a chef in a various locations such as Portland, OR; San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, and Boston. I wanted to open up a restaurant incorporating my particular multicultural background and style. In 1998 December 17th, I opened Oishii Sushi Bar.