Imaizumi San and Sushi Sora
Joy in a craft, in a trade, turns it in to art. Tailors, shoe makers, yes, but in all things. A beautifully sharpened knife is art, a perfectly mixed drink is art. Passion and enthusiasm transform it from mundane to extraordinary.
I have been fortunate to meet many such artisans in my life, from shoe shines to pressed linen, and conversations with these artists are usually the most interesting I have.
Chef Yuji Imaizumi of Sushi Sora is just like that. He has a humility that belies his talent, and in a perfectly spare room on the 38th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, he quietly and unassumingly creates art.
I was lucky enough to stay at the Mandarin Tokyo a few weeks back, the first time I had stayed there in Tokyo. Not the last, I hope. I found myself at dinner one evening at Sushi Sora, and my vocabulary for fish was turned on it’s head. Things I normally hate - like Uni - I loved, and things I normally loved seemed completely new.
Imaizumi San remained friendly and open every dish. He explained each with an air of a new convert reveling in details, never grandiose or intimidating, it felt that I was being led through an extraordinary meal by an old friend.
I haven’t yet booked my next trip to Tokyo. There is so much of the world I want to see, and so little time or money to do it with. But I will sit down to sushi with Imaizumi San again one day.