Let’s say, “This is a good book.
Nodaiwa is a very famous eel restaurant in Kanto. Many people say, “The Yokozuna of the east is Nodaiwa and the Yokozuna of the west is Obana.
This Noda-Iwa has adopted an unusual management technique and grilling method since its fifth owner.
No, it’s because of the efforts of a group of fellow managers who get together to exchange ideas and work hard, so I’d say it’s more like a healthy, progressive company.
It is very informative from a business person’s point of view, such as the fact that they do not rely on the Nodaya Culinary Arts Agency, but instead train new graduates to become artisans.
It is very informative from a business person’s point of view. He talks a little about World War II, and his stories about delivering food at 8 in the morning.
In this article, I would like to introduce his autobiography, “Eel Craftsman for Life,” in which he talks about his life and management philosophy.
What is Nodaiwa?
Nodaiwa is an eel restaurant with several branches.
The main restaurant is Aso Nodaiwa, and it is run by the fifth generation owner. The recently opened Ginza branch is run by the sixth generation.
I went to Yokohama Nodaiwa, which was established by the younger brother of Kikugoro V, to take over the business. The chopstick case had “Asou Nodaiwa” printed on it and the phone numbers of the Yokohama main store and Yokohama Takashimaya store on the back.
I got the bowl in the middle of the bowl at the Yokohama Takashimaya store, and it took 10 minutes from ordering to the arrival of the bowl. I heard that Nodaiwa steams the food for nearly an hour, so I guess they only do the last part of the baking process after ordering.
With this method, they are able to cater to the large number of customers who come to the department store. It is typical of Noda Iwam to not compromise on taste and price, but to please as many common people as possible.
By the way, Nodaiwa was founded more than 200 years ago. At first, he belonged to the Nodaya Culinary Arts Agency, which existed at that time, and he was sent to the place where he was trained. And later on, he founded Nodaiwa.
Well, there are many restaurants that are on par with Nodaiwa in terms of history. However, many of them are “shops where eel craftsmen gather”.
Nodaiwa hires young people who have just entered the workforce and trains its craftsmen and staff from scratch. On the other hand, the eel shops I work with are either privately owned or employ artisans dispatched from the Nodaya Cookery Agency.
On top of that, Nodaiwa offers fluffy and tender, but understated eel jyuu and eel bowl with a modest amount of sauce. And this brings the flavor of the eel to the surface.
I’ve visited a few eel shops in recent weeks and they were all “a bunch of good individual players”. However, Yokohama Nodaiwa is the only one that emphasizes team play, which is a bit of a mystery to me, but it’s a consistent service.
If it was a sports match, it would be very difficult to play against them.
The Fifth Generation’s Experience
The man who created Noda-Iwa into a unique team-based organization was Kinjiro Kanamoto, the fifth generation of the organization. This book is his autobiography, but it’s filled with stories that will make your eyes pop out of your head.
First of all, Mr. Kanemoto once delivered food to the restaurant at 8:00 in the morning for ten days in a row, all in winter. That was in winter, and there were days when it snowed. I am really impressed by the story of how he was able to respond to the situation without being late, and that he was recognized for it.
And what’s amazing is that not only Mr. Kanemoto, but the wholesalers are said to be brilliantly skilled as well. They were amazed at the skill of the eel craftsmen, who could not tell if an eel was live or heavy until it was processed.
It is true that eels are very important. Yokohama “Shimamura” is a pattern of an eel shop opened by a wholesaler, but I’ve never been disappointed by eels. The world of professionals is really something to be proud of.
In purchasing negotiations, it’s important to make sure they make a decent profit while ensuring their own profits. This is just like the conversations we have in my company.
While keeping such business basics in mind, Noda-iwa tackles the art of cooking soy sauce, mirin, and eel with a charcoal fire. And in the case of Nodaiwa, it is said that it takes nearly one hour to steam eels.
They are also concerned about natural eels. Shimamura also has a signboard that says “Natural Eel”, and Nodaiwa’s chopstick case also has “Natural Eel” written on it. This must be a big concern for the people involved.
Wild eels are difficult to cook, but they prefer natural ones because farmed ones are not as good as they should be. It’s mind-blowing.
The customers are amazing. I wonder which of them are the common people, like the Gijicho of Keio or His Majesty the Emperor. Some of you may wonder if this is a good idea.
By the way, when the upper class ordered the tare, they used to offer the 50% mirin (mirin) increased to 60%. By the way, I have a friend who doesn’t move his body. He and my wife love the sweet sauce.
I find it oddly satisfying. Yes, they got the know-how for this sauce from a competitor. That place doesn’t exist today, so it’s not easy for an eel restaurant.
And when he opened his Ginza shop, he didn’t do any advertising. It’s kind of like watching a craftsman’s willpower.
Speaking of willpower, he is a 92-year-old Olympic torchbearer. We have to admire his energy.
- 92-year-old eel craftsman B29 looks like an ogre Protecting his family heirloom from the fires of war (March 10, 2020)
Other stories about the Paris store and the Nihonbashi Takashimaya store also appear in the book. The story of the Takashimaya store is interesting as we learn more about the background of the store.
I heard that he tried vacuum packing himself, and I was surprised at how different Noda Iwas were from what I expected.
(As you can see in the opening image for two bags, my family is also indebted to them. By the way, they use the same sauce as at the store. Sales are about 500 million yen a year.)
I also have a brother who is a CPA, and he was once served a vacuum pack of it at a client’s house. He told me that he thought it was so good that he ate it too, which made me laugh.
And speaking of vacuum-packed eels, there was an incident where he purchased them from a supplier who had a huge surplus of them. Although the vendor didn’t know what a vacuum pack was, he consulted with Noda Iwa about it, and Noda Iwa was able to help him out a great deal.
As someone who knows the spirit of mutual help, I have great respect for him.
The above is a brief introduction to the business philosophy and life of Kaneijiro Kanemoto, the fifth generation of Nodaiwa.
If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend reading the autobiography. I, at least, learned a terrific amount.
Come to think of it, just last year I had the opportunity to go out near Tokyo Tower, where the Aso head office is located. Now I only regret that I didn’t hold the place then.
I wish I had the ability to drive to Tokyo, but I’m not sure I have the confidence to do so.
I guess I’ll just have to be patient for a while.
Well, I guess I’ll leave it at that. See you soon.