The Kokoro Files shares the stories of people who’re passionate about Japan and who’ve had their lives transformed through experiencing the culture. Darren Yates started out in Bolton in the UK and decided to roll the dice by heading to Japan. He fell in love with Japanese cooking techniques and within a few years he brought it back home to set up a restaurant and deli empire.
I met Darren while dining in his restaurant Auradaze in Ambleside and from the first bite, there was something special about his food. He’s the kind of guy who can talk to anyone and make them feel at home, but in the kitchen he’s all business and quiet focus.
It was a lot of fun hearing his stories about travelling across the world, serving celebrities like John Travolta and fishing for giant tuna in Bora Bora. An interview was on the cards, so read on to learn more about Darren and the concept behind Auradaze.
Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Darren Yates”
The Kokoro Files shares the stories of people and their connection to Japan. This connection takes many forms, and in the case of Justin Potts, it set him off on a life-long quest to learn all there is about nihonshu. A co-host of the amazing Sake on Air podcast, food and beverage entrepreneur and Master of Sake, Justin has plenty of stories to share about his love affair with sake.
Read on to learn about how his journey started, the genesis of Sake on Air and where he feels the industry is going.
Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Justin Potts”
The Kokoro Files shares the stories of people and their connection to Japan, and this edition is particularly exciting for me because I had the opportunity to chat with one of the world’s leading authorities on shochu, Chris Pellegrini. A Japanese spirit evangelist, Chris is passionate about spreading the gospel of shochu and awamori. He definitely made a convert out of me!
From talking shochu 101, to clearing up the differences between shochu and Korean soju, we cover a lot of ground in this interview. Read on to discover the exciting world of Japan’s indigenous spirit. Who knows? By the time you’ve finished reading you might be ready to jump down the rabbit hole.
Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Christopher Pellegrini”
The Kokoro Files tells the story of ordinary people and their connection to Japan. And whether it’s food, alcohol, history or sport, the experience is unique to each person. For Jorg Muller, his experience in Japan inspired him to start up a sake supply company, Ueno Gourmet, one of the top importers of sake in Europe.
In this interview, Jorg reveals what connected him to nihonshu, what kind of breweries Ueno Gourmet works with and what it means to get involved with some of the most exciting beverages in the world. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Jorg Muller”
Taking inspiration from another culture can be a life-changing decision. When Stephanie Buttery travelled to Japan, she immersed herself in the local drinking culture and returned to the UK with a goal of starting her own business. As the founder of the premium soft drinks brand, Chu-Lo, Buttery has created a drink inspired by Japanese chuhai.
After meeting Buttery at the Doki Doki Festival in Manchester, I wanted to hear the Chu-Lo story and what motivated her to start her own business. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Stephanie Buttery”
Japan has proud alcohol brewing traditions that go back centuries. Over the years, the techniques of sake makers have captivated people all over the world, especially with the production of shochu. For Paul Nakayama, his experience with shochu inspired him to create his own variety of Japan’s premiere craft spirit.
Along with his wife, Nakayama created Nankai shochu, a premium black sugar drink that’s available from their headquarters in Los Angeles. Nakayama is on a mission to make more people aware of shochu and Yamato Magazine is pleased to present his story. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Paul Nakayama”
The Kokoro Files tells the stories of everyday people and their connection to Japanese culture. For restaurant owner Terry Huang, he was inspired by his love of Japanese food and set out to create one of Manchester’s finest sushi joints, Umezushi.
Yamato Magazine caught up with Terry about his reasons for starting up a restaurant and the challenges associated with it and what it means to start again from scratch in the hospitality industry.
I’ve found his story to be extremely inspiring because it demonstrates the reality of running a restaurant, but also having the courage to continue to push forward and stay passionate. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Terry Huang”
Japan represents many things to many people. For some, it’s the history. For others, it’s the unique food and drink. For Erika Haigh, it’s a passion for sake and elevating the industry. Erika is the co-founder of Moto, an artisan sake bar that’s opened up in London.
Yamato Magazine recently caught up with Erika about the message behind Moto and how it differs from other Japanese hospitality spaces in the UK. From stocking rare sake, to functioning as a retail space, Erika reveals what’s in store for anyone who steps into Moto in future. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Erika Haigh”
The Kokoro Files shines a light on the connection that everyday people have with Japan. For some, the connection inspires them to write and that’s definitely the case for Brian Ashcraft. The author of several Japan related books, which includes Japanese Tattoos, Ashcraft is dedicated to his craft.
In this interview, Ashcraft describes what makes irezumi so beautiful and how he started his writing journey. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Brian Ashcraft”
Feeling a connection to a certain place can be magical. It helps to broaden our horizons and see things from another perspective. Many people forge a connection with Japan. But that doesn’t mean you have to visit a country to feel an emotional response. Lily Greenwood hasn’t travelled to Japan, but the culture has massively influenced her work as an artist.
In this edition of The Kokoro Files, I talk to Lily about how she got her start in the art world, how she’s been influenced by Japan and what it’s like to be an artist while looking after young children! Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Lily Greenwood”