Steve Jobs' Chef

The Sushi chef that made Steve Jobs Wait for 30 min.

photo coutesy of Hitoshi Hokamura: click to reveal his other photos taken in Kaygetsu

Despite my extensive research about Steve Jobs' affection to Japan, I am not sure when he began to like sushi.
But Jay Elliot, one of Steve's mentors, told me that Steve already liked Sushi when they visited Japan together back in 1983.

While Steve's first sushi chef remain as a mystery, in Japan, three of his top sushi chefs are very well known.
Below is the story of Toshio Sakuma, the ex-owner and chef of a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner restaurant 'Kaygetsu (桂月).'
This is where Apple Board often held their dinner. And this is where Steve Jobs made a surprise birthday party for his wife.
'Kaygetsu' is the place Steve Jobs loved the most and Toshio, perhaps, is the chef Steve had known the longest.

You might have heard Steve Jobs was very impatient. But if it were for Toshio's sushi, Steve could wait for 30 minutes.
Steve visited this place almost weekly. While he was very sick in 2011, he sent Mona Simpson, his biological sister, to pick up Japanese sweets.

Recently, a book about Toshio Sakuma, 'Steve Jobs' Chef' was published here in Japan; it provided a very interesting perspective to the history of Silicon Valley. After all, it was not just Steve Jobs who loved this restaurant.

The story of Toshio making Steve Jobs wait became so famous after a notice put beside the entrance of 'Toshi's Sushiya,' Toshio's second restaurant (preceding 'Kaygetsu').

The notice was titled 'Please wait to be seated.' The latter half of it was an FAQ, and item 2 there looked like this:

2. Q) If Steve Jobs came in without reservation, does he have to wait?
A) Yes, for the first few times he came in without reservations, he signed in on the waiting list and waited about 30 minutes. Now he calls ahead to make reservations. Ask him.

The actual sushi served at Kaygetsu (courtesy of H. Hokamura)

A Quarter Century Relationship

Steve had been eating Toshio's sushi since 1987 or 1988. And Toshio's restaurant, 'Kaygetsu' was one of the last restaurants he had eaten.

'Toro', 'Salmon' and 'Hamachi' were Steve's favorites.
'Five toros and five Hamachis' were his regular order.

On his last visit to Kaygetsu, he ate 'Negi-toro' and 'shrimp tempura.' Toshio also prepared 'Pumpkin tempura' but Steve wasn't in a condition to finish it.

Steve loved the place so much and often visited there alone for lunch (as spotted in picture above by Hitoshi Hokamura of Evernote).
Seat No.1 at the counter (shown above) was his favorite seat and even when he visited without reservation, he seemed upset when that seat was taken.

He often brought Jonathan Ive or his wife, Laurene Powell.
Steve held a surprise birthday party for Laurene back in 2000 at 'Toshi's Sushiya' with just the two of them. And another one at 'Kaygetsu,' in 2004 with 25 of his best friends including Larry Ellison.

Steve couldn't be away from Toshio's taste that he once sent his house cook to Kaygetsu, so he can learn how to cook better Chazuke and Spinach Goma-ae.

The Restaurant for Apple's Board Dinner

Steve shared his meal not just with friends and families.

Apple's board has decided to have their regular board dinner at 'Kaygetsu' after Fall, 2006; that means Al Gore, Bill Campbell, Mickey Drexler, Arthur D. Levinson and Eric Schmidt all gathered in Toshio's not-so-big Japanese restaurant.

Steve visited 'Kaygetsu' after almost every major product launch.
One exception was the iPhone launch and he missed it because Toshio was having a vacation.
But when Apple finally shipped the original iPhone in June of 2007, Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive visited 'Kaygetsu' just to show Toshio how it works.

Now Served in Apple's HQ

Toshio Sakuma might have had a special karma with Steve Jobs.

He worked in Silicon Valley for 26 years running three Japanese restaurants.
By 2010, Toshio started to look for a change. 'Kaygetsu' has become too famous in Silicon Valley; Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and Douglas Leone of Sequoia Capital were among the other regulars there.
Toshio wanted to keep the quality of service high but he was almost 60 years old.
Then there was Lehman Shock and in March 2011, Tohoku earthquake hit Japan and Toshio's birthplace, Fukushima was in big trouble.
But one day, Steve Jobs visited Kaygetsu for lunch bravely without reservation.
He was taking a medical leave from Apple's day-to-day operation but he was well enough to make the visit to Kaygetsu.
Steve Jobs knew Toshio had been trying to sell Kaygetsu and told him that he had a 'crazy idea.'
That idea was to hire Toshio as a chef for Apple's own cafeteria.
Toshio accepted it.

October 7th, 2011 was officially the last day for Kaygetsu.
But as a token of gratitude to his regular customers, Toshio has decided to make the last four days (i.e. October 4th to 7th) as 'special days' and take reservation from regular customers only.

Jonathan Ive's secretary called Kaygetsu and made a reservation for October 6th, 2011.
Jonathan's secretary told Toshio that he will bring a special guest with him.
Toshio thought that guest would be Steve Jobs.
But the night before the reservation, Toshio heard a very sad news: the passing of Steve Jobs.
On October 6th, Toshio receives an e-mail from Jonathan's secretary canceling the reservation. And Toshio replied it in sorrow.

That very week Toshio had to say goodbye to two of his best memories: Kaygetsu and Steve Jobs.

But thanks to that crazy ideas by Steve Jobs earlier that year; today, if you go to Caffè Macs (i.e. Apple's cafeteria), you can enjoy the sushi, Steve Jobs loved for quarter century.

The Departures of Kaygetsu and Steve Jobs

This article is based on this book published Fall/2013 in Japan

All this and so much more are revealed in the book called 'Jobs' Chef' by Nikkei BP published last fall only here in Japan (foreword by Hitoshi Hokamura).

Kaygetsu was not the only Sushi place Steve Jobs loved.
There is another Sushi restaurant Steve Jobs loved in Palo Alto called 'Jinsho' a much bigger restaurant where Steve held a farewell party with his dear friends.
Another one is in Kyoto, and is called 'Sushi Iwa.' Steve told Masayoshi Son of Softbank that he had the best meal in his life there.
But perhaps, I can talk about them on a separate blog post.

More stories about Steve Jobs and Japan

This is episode 5 of my "tales of Steve Jobs & Japan."
You will find my older posts here:

  1. Mr.Floppy disk
  2. casual friendship with Sony: (How Steve Jobs Wanted to Put Mac OS on every VAIO)
  3. Yukio Shakunaga, Steve Jobs' Favorite Porcelain Artist
  4. Woodcut by Goyo Hashiguchi on the face of original Mac

External Links:

- LinkedIn profile for Hitoshi Hokamura:
(Thank you for proof-reading and contacting Mrs. Sakuma for the sushi photo)!
- Kaygetsu on Yelp
- Caffè Macs on Yelp

The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation
The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New GenerationJay Elliot William L. Simon

Vanguard Press 2011-03-08

See details at Amazon
by G-Tools

The original book in Japanese:
ジョブズの料理人 寿司職人、スティーブ・ジョブズとシリコンバレーとの26年
ジョブズの料理人  寿司職人、スティーブ・ジョブズとシリコンバレーとの26年日経BP社出版局(編集) 佐久間俊雄(取材協力) Author: Nikkei BP Editorial

日経BP社 2013-12-05

by G-Tools

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年05月09日 | Permalink






KOO-KIが手掛けたCMと言えば、一番有名なのは「LOVE DISTANCE」。


話題になった「おしい!広島県」や「Nike Cosplay」、makitaの「草刈りだ!」などに加え、実は結構、海外のCMも手掛けていることに驚かされた。








LOVE DISTANCEの絵コンテを通して映像をみているところ

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年04月19日 | Permalink








The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now


Heartbleed Server Test

上のサイトは @heima さんに教えてもらいました。





投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年04月10日 | Permalink












投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年04月10日 | Permalink

Lessons from 3.11 #02: Google maps+satellite/aerial photos+car probe=very useful!

When 3.11 (i.e. Great East Japan Earthquake) took place three years ago, Google was very quick to respond.

A few Googlers started working on localization of Google Person Finder; it was up and running within 106 minutes after the earthquake. That was when Google has opened and announced first version of Google Crisis Response page in Japanese.
Six hours after that, the team found out, most people were still using feature phone (back in 2011) and couldn't access the web page, so they have modified Person Finder and made it accessible via Japanese feature phones.
(FYI. after Typhoon Yolanda hit Philippines in 2013, Person Finder also became accessible through SMS).

Google Person Finder will let you search (or report), if your friends/family are ok after a disaster. Click the image above to try it out in test mode.

Another group lead by Kei Kawai started to prepare satellite photos and aerial photos of the area of damage; Kei did so after the advice of Kevin Reece, who had experience in responding to a big natural disaster and who knew aerial photos will be very important.

Before I explain further, perhaps, I need to clarify the difference between Satellite photos and aerial photos. As the name implies Satellite photos are took in space (by the Satellite) while aerial photos are taken from the sky by airplanes. Because the distance between the ground is greater, satellite photos are good enough to recognize landscape and bigger architectures, but it is not as clear in detail as aerial photos.

Satellite image (left) vs Aerial Photo (right)

The Google team asked Japanese government for permission but they was not as cooperative as Google expected, so it took a while until Google was able to provide the first aerial photos.

In order to prevent this kind of mishaps, I will explain why you would need it.
The aerial photos are, of course, very useful for the victims and those worried to recognize how severe the damage was.
But it is not just that.

It will be used among the rescue team to recognize how they can approach the area of severe damage (e.g. which shore, which road, which landing points, etc.).
It will also be used among those rescue team to mark which areas are searched, etc.
Aerial photos can also be used by those people who are planning to build shelters.

Satellite photos may also help. But it is best, if you have clearer aerial photos.

Kawai has made a custom map with links to Satellite photos shared on Picasa

After the earthquake in 2011, Kei Kawai in Mountain View was perhaps, one of the first Japanese to receive GeoEye's satellite images of Tohoku after earthquake.
By then, Google was receiving request from Japanese media for satellite images of Fukushima, but he couldn't help himself from checking the image of coastal town in Minami Soma; his wife was from there. He was so surprise to see the coastline have shifted so much but was able to recognize her wife's house was still there after the tsunami.

These images were later used used on Google Earth but Google Earth is a gigantic complex system, and it will take time to update image, and it will take further time until everyone will be able to see the image.

But Kawai, knew some people want to use the images as soon as possible. So he picked some of the best satellite images, uploaded them to his Picasa image sharing service, then created a link on his Google MyMap.
This approach was invented by some Googlers in the UK, but Kawai took over their effort.
If someone click an area on that MyMap, the web browser would display the picture shared via Picasa.

Uploading the image to Picasa had a nice side effect. People concertned about particular area was able to form community through the comment area of Picasa exchanging information or even leaving a 'thank you' note to Google.

Because it would take time to update Google Earth and Google Maps, Kawai has uploaded Satellite photos on Picasa

Although Google wanted to take aerial photos immediately after the earthquake, because the Japanese government was not as cooperative, they had to wait for two weeks until they finally were able to start taking aerial photos; those photos were shared through Google Earth and Google Maps on March 31st, and the world saw how big the damage was.

While Kei Kawai and other Googlers were working hard to get clear photos of the damaged area in Tohoku, a Japanese car manufacturer, Honda was trying to spread an important information.

Honda has an advanced telematics services for their cars called Internavi since 1998.
One of the interesting feature of Internavi is that it can share the probe information with other Internavi users; i.e. you can share information about where your car is and how fast it is moving. With this information, driver of cars equipped with Internavi will know the average speed of cars on each streets across Japan.

Back in 2004, there was a big earthquake near Niigata Prefecture (Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake ) and Honda's Internavi team found another interesting use of car probe information; it will visualize which roads are not working.
If you have a big disaster, roads will be closed for landslides, for fallen trees, for tsunami, etc.
And those car heading to rescue the victims will waste great deal of time figuring out how they can approach the damaged area.
But Internavi team knew which roads are dead and which roads are alive because if a road is closed there will be no records of car probe on that road.
So in 2011, Internavi team of Honda has compiled a car probe data gathered from Internavi, compiled it as a KML file (a geographical data that can be overlayed on Google Earth) and shared it via Twitter.

Many people tried to connect the guy from Honda to people at Google (I was among the many who tried it). Later, they found each other and started a joint effort and ultimately, it has become part of the many Google Crisis Response service unique to Japan.

Honda Internavi car probe data mapped over Google Map (and offered as part of Google Crisis Response)

This information was so useful. One of my photographer friend check this info on his iPhone and drove all the way to Tohoku.

Kazuma Watanabe is a head of an NPO who helped so many after the earthquake; Kazuma arranged a few cars full of goods heading toward coastal area where Tsunami hit. In the mean time, he stayed in Sendai and was checking the probe information and directed which road his staffs should take through phone calls.

Let me walk through how these information can be useful in action.

Let's say, you are heading to Shiogama city through a coastal highway and check Google x Honda probe information. And then, you find people are avoiding the area around Sendai Airport and Natori river.
So I would open Google maps or Google Earth and check what's over there.
And you find the bridge over Natori river were taken down by the Tsunami and gone.

You found via probe information people are avoiding Natori River; you check the area with satellite image to find the bridge is gone

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年04月03日 | Permalink