I’ve been lucky to eat at some amazing restaurants. From New York to London to Hong Kong, I have found myself in an occasional work situation that warrants a free meal at an iconic place, and I’ve made sure to take full advantage each time.
Still, I’ve never seen attention to detail quite like I’ve seen in Japan. Here, culinary preparation and consumption are essentially an art form. Mastering the art of making soba noodles, something most non-Japanese would look at as routine, is said to take a lifetime in Japan. You think your training was too slow before you had a chance to get out and actually do something in your job? Try being a sushi chef—here in Japan, it is common that a new chef will not even touch a fish for two or three years, instead taking that amount of time to simply master the art of forming the rice for sushi.
Don’t come to a nice restaurant in Japan with a “get in, get out” mentality, because you will fail to see and experience what makes the food here so amazing to begin with. Art takes time to develop and master, and that is the attitude taken on by virtually every chef in this country.