Japan Eats!

Heritage Radio Network

What is Japanese food? Sushi, or ramen, or kaiseki? What about Izakaya? Akiko Katayama, a Japanese native, New York-based food writer and director of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy, tells you all about real Japanese food and food culture. With guests ranging from sake producers with generations of experience to American chefs pushing the envelope of Japanese gastronomy, Japanese cuisine is demystified here!


United States


What is Japanese food? Sushi, or ramen, or kaiseki? What about Izakaya? Akiko Katayama, a Japanese native, New York-based food writer and director of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy, tells you all about real Japanese food and food culture. With guests ranging from sake producers with generations of experience to American chefs pushing the envelope of Japanese gastronomy, Japanese cuisine is demystified here!




What Is Japanese “Shokupan” Milk Bread and Why Is It So Popular?

Our guest is Noriko Okubo who is the co-owner and chief operations officer of Ginza Nishikawa U.S.A. Ginza Nishikawa opened in 2018 in Ginza, one of the poshest areas in Tokyo, to sell high-quality Shokupan bread. Shokupan is also called milk bread and is gaining popularity worldwide for its distinctively soft and fluffy texture with a pleasantly sweet taste. Ginza Nishikawa’s Shokupan bread earned accolades very quickly and now it operates over 130 shops throughout Japan. The huge success...


Committed to Serving Authentic Japanese in Los Angeles

Our guest is David Schlosser who is the chef/owner of Shibumi in Downtown L.A. Shibumi opened in 2016 and shortly afterwards, it earned accolades from various prominent media, including The Los Angeles Times’s Jonathan Gold who ranked Shibumi number two restaurant of the whole city. Currently, Shibumi holds one Michelin star. David was classically trained in Japan and soulfully serves authentic Japanese dishes at Shibumi. But originally, he used to cook French cuisine at Michelin starred...


272-Year-Old Brewery Makes Carbon-Neutral Sake

Our guest is Cinzia Mesolella who is in charge of PR and communication at Kobe Shushinkan Breweries in Hyogo Prefecture. Hyogo is the home of “Nada no sake”, which means “Sake from Nada”, and is synonymous with great sake. Kobe Shushinkan Breweries was founded in 1751 and its award-winning label Fukuju has been served at Nobel prize dinners several times since 2008. Kobe Shushinkan is also known for its sustainable-minded sake production, and last year it released the world’s first...


How to Choose Great Sushi Restaurants: The Sushi Guide Answers

Our guest is Guy Allen, a sushi blogger based in New York City. Guy fell in love with sushi at a very young age and has been exploring the world of sushi globally since then. You can find his discoveries on Instagram under @thesushiguide. His reviews are so unique and fascinating and his photos are so stunning that he has been invited to dine at great sushi restaurants in Tokyo. In this episode, we will discuss Guy’s diverse experiences at sushi restaurants, his criteria for great sushi,...


The Best Japanese Restaurants and Chefs in 2022

Our guest is Massud Ghaussy who has a Japanese food and restaurant blog on Instagram under TokyoManhattan. His posts not only describe restaurants he has visited, but also include many other elements behind the dishes, such as history, culture, and cooking methods. He joined us in Episodes 125, 136, 152 and 186 and shared his favorite Japanese chefs and restaurants in the world. Today’s topic is the best Japanese restaurants in the world in 2022. The popularity of Japanese food remains...


What Is Unique About Japanese Culture?

Our guest is Greg Lam who has a popular YouTube Channel called “Life Where I'm From”. He has created over 200 videos since 2015 and his Channel has more than 1.6 million subscribers. Greg is based in Japan and in his insightful videos, he covers a wide variety of topics from Japanese breakfast, how a ramen shop operates, why Japanese bathrooms are the best, to Japanese social issues like minorities in Japan. In each video, he accurately and analytically captures a very ordinary aspect of...


Fascinated by Japanese Culture: Sake, Essays, and Beyond

Our guest is Jamie Ryder, who is a certified sake sommelier as well as a Japanese culture enthusiast. Also, Jamie publishes a Japanese culture-themed magazine called Yamato Magazine, which explores Japanese culture from a variety of angles. We have had many guests in the past, talking about Japanese food scenes in the biggest cities in the world such as Tokyo, L.A., London and Paris, but we don’t know too much about how Japanese food is gaining interest in other places. Jamie is based in...


Mike Satinover (a.k.a Ramen Lord) Shares His Passion for Ramen

Our guest is Mike Satinover who is a ramen expert based in Chicago. Ramen became a very popular dish outside Japan in the last two decades or so and these days you can find great ramen shops in many cities in the U.S. Mike fell in love with ramen when he spent a year in Japan 12 years ago and since then, his passion for the iconic Japanese national noodle dish has only deepened. That is why his Reddit page has become the go-to place for serious ramen lovers. Go there and you will be...


The Charm of Japanese Whisky

Our guest is Tomo Matsushita who is the spirit sommelier at Copper & Oak in the Lower East Side, New York. Spirits are very popular in the U.S. If you look at the alcohol beverage market in 2021, beer was the most popular, which accounted for 43% of the market. Spirits were almost as popular as beer and their market share was 41%, and the remaining was mostly wine. Spirits are delicious but if you don’t know much about them, it is hard to choose what to drink. Tomo is the expert who can...


Ask the Expert: How to Make Great Japanese Dashi Stock?

Our guest is Shohei Miyajima who is the manager of Dashi Okume in Brooklyn, New York. The New York location of Dashi Okume opened in September 2022 but the history of the company Okume goes back to 1871. Dashi is a Japanese-style stock, but unlike western style stock it is used very extensively in Japanese cuisine. Dashi provides a rich umami taste, which is foundational in many Japanese dishes. Dashi is very easy to make in your kitchen because its ingredients have been carefully made...


Knife Sharpening Expert Vincent Kazuhito Lau Discusses the Uniqueness of Japanese Knives

Our guest is Vincent Kazuhito Lau who is the knife sharpener at Korin based in New York. Korin has been offering premium quality Japanese knives, tableware and cookware to Japanese and non-Japanese chefs and consumers for the last 40 years. Vincent began studying knife sharpening in 2009 and thanks to his passion and patience, he has acquired the highly difficult skills and the mindset of a professional knife sharpener. In this episode, we will discuss how Vincent fell in love with Japanese...


A Global Team Delivers the Terroir of Japanese Tea From Kyushu Island

Our guests are Joelle Sambuc Bloise and Aldo Bloise, who are the co-founders of Ikkyu. Ikkyu is a unique tea company that sells high-quality Japanese tea based in the southern island of Kyushu. If you live outside of Japan, it is not easy to find reasonably priced high-quality Japanese tea. Then I heard about Ikkyu. I ordered some tea from the website and I had some wonderful new discoveries! Of course, there are other great Japanese tea companies but I got particularly interested in...


Sharing the Essence of Japanese Food Culture From a Tiny Pottery Village

Our guest is Prairie Stuart Wolff who is a writer and photographer and what I would call cultural communicator based in a rural countryside village called Mirukashi on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. Since Prairie moved to Mirukashi in 2007, she has been deepening her interest in Japanese food through the beautiful surrounding nature. You can find her precious life in the village on her website, Mirukashi Salon. In this episode, we will discuss how Prairie ended up moving to Japan, how...


Creating a Bright Future in a Depopulated Green Tea Production Town

Our guest is Daiki Tanaka who is the founder of d:matcha. d:matcha is a highly unique tea company located in the rural town of Wazuka, Kyoto. Wazuka has been known as a premium tea production area for the last 800 years. The landscape of Wazuka is stunningly beautiful but the town has been suffering from serious depopulation. However, Wazuka started to see a bright future since Daiki moved there and began his various ambitious projects to revive the community. In this episode, we will...


KAMBUTSU: The Dried Darlings of the Japanese Kitchen

Our guest is Elizabeth Andoh who joined us 10 times in Episodes 18, 61, 83, 99, 108, 131, 156, 180, 200, 208, and shared her truly deep insight into traditional Japanese food culture. Elizabeth is a food writer and Japanese cooking instructor based in Tokyo, and she has lived in Japan for over 50 years. She runs the culinary arts program called A Taste of Culture, which offers a great opportunity for non-Japanese people to explore Japanese culture through its food. Elizabeth is also the...


A Nomadic Fishmonger Is Inspiring the Future of Seafood

Our guest is Arimi Asai who is the co-founder of Fish & Dish Sakanaya Asai based in Tokyo. Fish & Dish Sakanaya Asai is a unique and highly inspiring fishmonger. When we buy seafood, most of us will go to a supermarket and purchase a piece of fish without knowing its whole shape. It is easy and convenient but the process reminds us that we have become very distant from how we used to eat fish. Arimi and her husband Kazuhiro have a mission to shrink the distance. Their innovative mom & pop...


The Master Tea Ceremony Practitioner Randy Channell Soei

Our guest is Randy Channell Soei who is a master tea practitioner from Canada. Randy went to Japan 37 years ago to study martial arts. His goal was achieved and he gained proficiency in various styles of martial arts, including Kendo, Iaido, and Kyudo. But somehow, his focus shifted to Japanese tea ceremony and eventually he became the first master tea ceremony instructor as a non-Japanese person. In this episode, we will discuss how Randy got into the tea ceremony, what exactly tea...


The 29th Generation of the Koji Merchant Family Demystifies the Magic Mold of Japan

Our guest is Yuichiro Murai, the 29th generation of Kojiya Sanzaemon based in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Koji, which is also called the national mold of Japan, has been used to make a majority of anything delicious in Japanese cuisine, such as miso, soy sauce, sake, and shochu. In the last decade or so, koji has become a culinary keyword, especially among forward-minded top chefs like Rene Redzepi of Noma in Denmark, and Feran Adria in Spain. Yuichiro’s family has been selling koji products...


Discovering Awamori With Maurice Dudley in Okinawa

Our guest is Maurice Dudley, who is an awamori specialist based in Okinawa. Awamori is a very important traditional alcoholic beverage from Okinawa Prefecture, but its preciousness is yet to be known outside Japan. Maurice went to Japan for the first time in 1994 as an Airman. He was stationed at a U.S. Military base in Okinawa and fell in love with awamori. Since then, he has continued to deepen his knowledge of and passion for awamori, and now owns an awamori bar and trading company, Blue...


An American Sushi Chef Conveys the Evanescence of Life in Georgia

Our guest is J. Trent Harris who is the executive chef at the beautiful new sushi restaurant called Mujo in Atlanta, Georgia, which opened in February 2022. At Mujo there are only 15 seats at the counter made with cypress and he serves an omakase-style tasting menu that changes daily based on the catch of the day. Earlier in his career, chef Harris worked in classic western kitchens, including the Michelin-starred modern Portuguese restaurant Aldea in New York where he was the chef de...