Interview: Hajime Sato of Mashiko
Mashiko Sushi Bar

Image by Accidental Hedonist via Flickr

Mashiko in Seattle, WA is the first and only established sushi bar in the world to convert to fully-sustainable sushi.  They also happen to make the best sushi I’ve ever had… and Seattle’s known for its good sushi.  Seriously, I cannot recommend the Atomic Tuna enough, but just about everything I’ve ever had there is outstanding.  I was pleased to be able to interview the owner and master sushi chef Hajime Sato about sustainability, sushi and all the cool toys on the sushi bar by the cash register.


Part the First


KS: At this moment in time, what is your favorite song?



Hajime Sato: Ginga Tetsudou 999” by Godiego.


KS: What’s your favorite band that you don’t think a lot of people would have heard of?



Hajime Sato: Masamichi Sugi.


KS: What, if anything, is on any particular wall (your choice) in your domicile?



Hajime Sato: Paint.


KS: What’s the strangest thing you own?



Hajime Sato: None of it is strange to me.


KS: Of the things you’ve done, what’s your all-time favorite (however you want to interpret that, be it artistic works, actions, whatever)?



Hajime Sato: My girlfriend.


KS: Who’s your favorite visual artist (excluding yourself)?



Hajime Sato: Mother Nature.


KS: What are the five most recent films you’ve seen?



Hajime Sato: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Toy Story 3, and The Hot Chick.


KS: What’re your top three movies?



Hajime Sato: Ginga Tetsudoe 999, Tenkuu No Shiro Laputa, Lupin III Cagliostro No Shiro.


KS: Do you own any original artwork, and if so, whose?



Hajime Sato: Yes, many artists.


KS: What is your favorite game?



Hajime Sato: Life.


KS: If you could say one thing to David Byrne, what would it be?



Hajime Sato: I don’t know who David Byrne is.


KS: What are your five most favorite books in the world?



Hajime Sato: Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe, Hagun No Hoshi by Kenzo Kitakata, Story People by Brian Andreas, Baka No Kabe by Takeshi Yoro, Yosei by Takeshi Kitano.


KS: What is the most boring thing you’ve ever experienced?



Hajime Sato: It was so boring that I forgot about it.


KS: If you could name a child anything in the world, what would it be?



Hajime Sato: I’m not planning to have children.


KS: What is your favorite meal?



Hajime Sato: A good meal.


KS: What is reality?



Hajime Sato: Reality.



Part the Second


KS: How difficult is it to be a fully sustainable sushi restaurant?



Hajime Sato: It can be very difficult.


KS: What are the worst fish to eat?



Hajime Sato: Blue fin tuna and unagi.


KS: Do you think other sushi restaurants will realize the importance of sustainability?



Hajime Sato: Unfortunately, only when it is too late.


KS: Do you still get complaints from customers when they can’t order non-sustainable dishes they could find at other restaurants?


Hajime Sato: Yes, but it becoming less frequent.


KS: Are there any dishes you wish you could still serve but don’t due to sustainability issues?



Hajime Sato: No.


KS: What do you think the most important thing to know about sustainability is?



Hajime Sato: That we can stop – and hopefully reverse – the damage that we have done.


KS: With Omakase, how do the chefs decide what to serve?



Hajime Sato: It depends on what is available that day.


KS: Some people can be nervous about sushi, since most contains raw fish — how do you put people’s minds at ease?



Hajime Sato: These days, hopefully people are not nervous about eating raw fish.


KS: Why ““?  How’d that domain name come about?



Hajime Sato: It’s catchy, isn’t it?


KS: What’s your favorite dish?



Hajime Sato: I don’t have one.


KS: Of the toys at the counter, which one is your favorite?



Hajime Sato: A bank where when you put a coin on the top, a cat reaches out from inside to purr and take the coin.


KS: Do you have anything else you’d like to add?



Hajime Sato: No.


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