This is our first blog post!
We said a lot about our idea for the shop and how it developed into this, over in our About section. It also makes sense to give a little more introduction to the two owners of the company.
It's probably clear that Kana and Erik are married. Kana and Erik have been married for six years. Before they ever even dated, Kana and Erik worked together as managers at a Japanese restaurant. Kana was Erik’s boss. They both agree that they worked great together. "There was no funny business!" says Erik. It's true that only started dating well after Erik had moved on to another job.
Kana and Erik lived in Puerto Rico for three years after getting married, where Erik ran a little cocktail bar in Old San Juan and Kana managed a clothing and jewelry boutique.
Today, they live in Portland with their two Dachshunds, Thor and Buffy. Thor is named more so after the Norse God himself, rather than the comic depiction. Buffy is named after none other that The Vampire Slayer.
Kana is a first-generation Japanese-American. She is the oldest daughter of her Tokyoite parents, who left Japan shortly before she was born. Kana grew up in the Bay Area, roaming the forested hills where Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters once used to adventure. She considers herself lucky to have grown up with her mother's Japanese cooking and getting to take trips to Japan, but when she was young she would get embarrassed when her non-Japanese friends might encounter the smells of daikon or kimchi in her Mom's kitchen. Today, she's glad to see Japanese food being increasingly accepted where she lives.
Kana likes Soviet-era Russian literature. She also likes animals with odd colors or proportions, such as dachshunds, giraffes, flamingos. Hard-pressed to choose one thing, Kana says her favorite Japanese food is curry udon.
Erik fell in love with Japan after going with a High School student exchange program. Food in Japan was a big thing that really got to him. Erik remembers, "The first thing that really struck me was my host mom's breakfast: I thought it was so cool to get to have savory things like fish, rice, and soup, instead of cereal with milk." During college, Erik spent a summer at Hokkaido University and later ended up with a major in Japanese Language and Culture from PSU. "I’m grateful for the thread of continuity that wound up connecting my Japanese school experience to working with Japanese food in my life, post-college." As he continued to work with Japanese food, Erik naturally discovered that he really, really, liked sake.
Erik likes science fiction and jam bands. Erik's favorite Japanese food is natto, for breakfast.
Kana and Erik together both heartily agree that their absolute favorite place in Japan is Naoshima.