What a legend, and what a great story of tranformation, heart, techniques, adaptation, and inherent qualities of a great top notch sushi chef.
@beefnoguy thanks for sharing. Fawwwwwwwwwwk this is #1 on my worldwide sushi wish list at the moment. Next level stuff.
I may need to plan a day trip… @PorkyBelly Oahu is my favorite island
Quick question (maybe a dumb one). Why do all the staff have shaved heads? I’ve never noticed this if the staff at other sushi places all have shaved heads. Is this for cleanliness so hair doesn’t get into the food?
FTC buyout of the whole counter!!
Lots of post Sho bang-bang options in Honolulu.
What are really worth noting here (and this is just scratching the surface):
The philosophies and teachings of Nakazawa san, summarized and encapsulated in this video
The concepts of Shin, Gi, Ku. None of this “Zen” BS that western media portrays. Crucial traits of passion, humility, focus, consideration, attention to detail, and customer interaction (observe and act and react). Fundamental but so deep…
Nakazawa’s firm, masculine, yet powerful and subdued presence and demeanor. Very choice words of wisdom, to the point. I’d say from the gut, he is one of the best damn teachers of sushi any apprentice could ever have. It’s shame he’s not fluent in English, otherwise his writings would be priceless if translated. There is a biography book written by a super famous author in Japan covering his journey and accomplishments moving from Tokyo to Waikiki, and the new style he has created, there may be a ton of information there that would be so great if it could be translated to English. I would say he is the sushi godfather. Some people prefer the schools of Jiro and Saito, and a few other schools, and that’s fine…but this is next level for sure.
The story of how he wanted to create the new customs is just so mindblowing.
His dedication to applying true Edomae techniques, as he said the wisdom of the ancestors. Cannot be confused with the so called “Edomae” that western media throws around so much casually like a one night stand… The amount of research he did just to be able to do what he does and replicate, requires so much passion, effort, and persistence. There’s an incredible amount of knowledge he has that is not even known to western media.
And he decided to relocate to HI, away from the evil clutches of Michelin and hopefully remains under the radar from star chasing global foodies. I really need to go soon before it becomes too difficult to get a reservation. Already couldn’t secure ressies twice in Tokyo.
Sushi Sho Waikiki is and always has been on the radar of Japanese gourmets from Japan and from elsewhere.
In fact his restaurant just recently made the OAD top 100 North America restaurant list at #26. Top 100+ North American Restaurants
The original Sushi Sho Tokyo is now helmed by his disciple Keita Kasumata and reservations are at least 6 months out and highly sought after. #28 on the OAD top Japanese restaurants in Japan Top 100+ Japanese Restaurants
If you want to have Keita serve you, you will have to go with a regular/VIP. Otherwise the next best thing is either Sushi Sho Saito (2 people minimum for reservations), and Takumi Shingo who has apprenticed under Nakazawa san the longest, (I believe solo diner reservations are fine), which is good enough if you want to try Sho style.
Also…OAD members, are also as you say, global chasers as well who eat at the best places and have huge pull, influence. All those new high end Japanese/sushi places going to be opening up in NY? That’s at least one of their doing (and convincing the chefs on the ground).
I went to Sushisho Masa in Nishi Azabu on my own a few years ago and loved the experience! Went with no referrals, but I had to be seated during the gaijin/out of towners seating from 8:30p.
For info on Sushisho Masa, please check out Portos’s review Tokyo: Sushi Sho Masa. Sushi Perfection
I also went to Sushi Sho in Yotsuya for the reserved lunch, but I thought the experience was just ok. It was a good chirashi sushi set, but it bothered me to see some of the young itamae looked as if they just fell out of bed — one of them forgot to put certain neta/ingredients on the chirashi sushi and when the young non-Japanese customer pointed it out, he was flippant and said he was just joking and plopped some stuff on to the chirashi bowl shrugs
One thing that may be helpful. If you’ve eaten at sushi sho in Hawaii, they will help you get a booking for the sushi sho Tokyo restaurant.
There are so many Sushi Sho schools and Sushi Sho style inspired restaurants in Tokyo now. Sushi Sho Masa is the most popular with overseas visitors, as Masa san speaks fluent English. Saito san did some time in New York previously and also speaks good English.
Some of Nakazawa san’s disciples took on their own disciples, who went on to open their own restaurants, at least one of the second generation disciples got a Michelin star (Sushi Sho Saito’s disciple who opened Fudomae Iwasawa comes to mind).
My review of Takumi Shingo (visit #2) from 2017
This video was fantastic. The care Nakazawa-san puts into developing his menu and staff is so thoughtful. Thanks for sharing!
Fascinating. any good links to learn more about -Shin, Gi & Ku?
Hmmm I don’t think so, at least not in English. What I wouldn’t do to have Nakazawa’s written works translated…they are not books, but short manuscripts and just text from what I understand.
The kanji for Shin Gi Ku would be 心技空, and I think Nakazawa san has already explained it quite well. They are just part of key traits and concepts for being a fantastic (and baseline standard) shokunin or professional craftsman (especially when working with your hands a lot). Shin, heart, or kokoro is probably the biggest key because if one has less skill, shin will provide the drive and passion to learn which will fuel the growth of Gi.
They all form a delicate balance. Ku being translated as atmosphere could be insufficient, it strikes me more as the space and surroundings (think Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda explaining The Force).