Our new challenge to the world,
is soba that even the Japanese thunder god would like to eat
As Tysons, the business I created with David, gradually stabilized, I started having an urge to challenge myself beyond America cuisine. I had a theory that if I combined the creativity of dishes from around the world with the hospitality we provide at Tysons, that I could open up a whole new world.
The opportunity to create such a world arose when my good friend Kan Sato, whom I admire as a top “Japanese Creator”, proposed an idea. One of his employees knew how to make soba and was the perfect candidate for a new soba establishment. We started on this project by looking for a small and convenient location, but with no luck, time simply passed… However, by complete coincidence, a friend on mine “happened” to be rebuilding his company headquarters, and “happened” to be looking for someone to fill the restaurant space on the first floor. Seriously, what luck.
The location was situated near Shibuya Station and was surprisingly peaceful for standing in between two of Tokyo’s busiest streets. It was a tad larger than what we were looking for, but when I imagined customers within the restaurant, I could only see them enjoying their dining experience. Now, if I wanted to create something spectacular, I would also need the interior design to represent a quality restaurant, yet also Japanese essence. I commissioned Mr. Nagasaki from KROW, who is know for his elegant designs, and Eiichiro Tachikawa, a young ink-wash painter working for Mr. Sato, and after several instances of trial and error, everything was complete.
Now the name… Somebody volunteered to think of something. His first suggestion… ‘Soba’.
“Yes, you heard me right. We’re a soba restaurant, so…Soba.”
We stared at each other in silence for a minute, until his next sugegestion: ‘Ryan’. I remember there was no particular meaning…it just sounded nice.
We had never experienced rain during any of our numerous receptions in the past. On the day of the opening reception of Ryan, as always, no one was expecting rain. However, just when the party was starting to get interesting, I glanced out the window to see storm clouds and lightning raging in the sky, as if they ignored the weather forecast that promised us a clear night. I thought to myself while almost falling over:
“The thunder god is here!!”
That night was peculiar…but interestingly enough, everything somehow fit together. By the way, did I mention the ink-wash painting hanging on the wall is of the Thunder god peering in the restaurant?