64 Yuji Dreams of Noodles: Chatting About Ramen, Fish & Osakana w. Restaurant Owner & Fish Expert Yuji Haraguchi

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On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Yuji Haraguchi--owner of multiple Japanese restaurants and the Osakana fish market in Brooklyn, New York--talks about his interest in food, his career, fish, ramen, and more.

About Yuji Haraguchi

Yuji Haraguchi has started and owned multiple Japanese restaurants in the United States and Japan. He is based in Brooklyn, New York where he owns and operates Okonomi/Yuji Ram and the popular Japanese-style fish market Osakana.

Topics Discussed

  • About Yuji Haraguchi's early life in Japan
  • How Yuji became interested in cooking
  • Leaving Japan for Boston
  • How Yuji got into selling fish
  • Learning about fish and the fish industry
  • On selling and marketing Japanese fish and seafood to restaurants in Boston
  • The rising popularity of Japanese food in the US through the 2000s
  • Getting into the ramen business
  • On trying to make ramen more appealing to Americans unfamiliar with ramen
  • Creating Tuna-kotsu (tuna bone) ramen
  • Opening Yuji Ramen in 2012
  • Creating a carbonara inspired bacon & egg mazemen (brothless ramen)
  • Starting the Osakana fish market in Brooklyn
  • The concept and motivation behind Osakama
  • The success of Osakana
  • The educational videos Yuji makes for the Osakana YouTube channel
  • The misconception that wild fish is always better than farm raised fish
  • Yuji's approach to teaching people about fish and how to handle fish
  • The factors that distinguish "sushi grade fish" from non-sushi grade fish
  • On opening restaurants in Japan
  • The dangers of expanding a restaurant franchise too quickly
  • The current potential of Japanese food in the United States
  • The booming popularity of ramen in Southeast Asia
  • On getting Japanese ingredients
  • About Sun Noodle
  • How Yuji adapted to doing business during the coronavirus pandemic
  • And much more!
Support on Patreon

If you enjoy Japan Station and want to ensure that we're able to produce more episodes, then please consider becoming a patron on Patreon.com. For a minimum pledge of $1 a month you'll get early access to all JapanKyo podcasts, bonus content, and more. And for $3 a month, you'll get access to Japanese Plus Alpha, a podcast produced by me (Tony Vega) that focuses on the Japanese language and all of its fascinating quirks. Also, all pledges get a shout-out on the show and my undying gratitude. Thank you in advance!

Links, Videos, Etc.

Below is a list of links for the websites and social media accounts of Yuji Haraguchi's businesses.

Below is the link to the Osakana YouTube channel. There you will find educational videos about how to handle and prepare fish, as well as other useful information about Japanese cuisine.

To listen to the latest episode of Ichimon Japan, use the link below.

If you would like to support the show by picking up some merchandise, make sure to visit KimitoDesigns.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing song: Oedo Controller (大江戸コントローラー) by Yunomi featuring Toriena (Used with permission from Yunomi) To listen to more of Yunomi's music, check out his Soundcloud page or YouTube channel.

Japan Station cover art: Provided by Erik R.

Featured image: Courtesy of Dr. Katarzyna Cwiertka

Featured image: Courtesy of Yuji Haraguchi

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Full Show Notes

78 episodes