− I think it was a few years ago I visited this “Lamp Bar”.
− I think it was a little earlier…
− But I happened to find this bar and visited here for three consecutive nights.
− I think I remember that time although it is somehow….
− I’m supposed to start asking questions about your career but your articles are posted everywhere as it’s web time.So can I just ask you about your experience at “World Class”?
− Many people think “World Class” is a competition only for cocktail making, but, actually, it is not. Of course we make cocktails but it’s a place where we compete with all skills as a bartender.
− All of bartenders?
−That’s true. So making cocktail is not the end but it’s a place competing the wonderful experience of judges who came there as guests. It’s like an audition, rather than to say a competition.
－I just had a chance to hear from you before that you built a bar at a town in Africa, right?
－Yes, yes. It was the one for which I built a bar and let people have the best experiences.
−Wow! How many days to you spend to do it?
− I stay there for about 10 days at a time of the world competition, and spend about 5 days for competition.
−It’s so long. Is there any qualifying round?
−We do six challenges at a time of the world competition. For example, food is prepared there and we make cocktails which fit that food with the ones available there, and we compete its speed and need to overcome various challenges every day.
− Every day? I see.
−Every representative from about 56 countries does this, and after all 5 challenges are over, everyone stands on the stage and six finalists are announced one by one, who can do the final challenges.
−And, at the final challenge, they create a bar from nothing.
−That’s true. The name of challenge is “Cape Town Shake Down”.
−“Shake Down”. I see.
− Judges come after 24 hours, and I open my own bar by that time.
There are only white counter and white walls at that place, and we start to create such items as wall paper after discussing with local designers.
−You start from nothing.
−Yes, Cape Town is Mecca of movie shooting. So there are many rental shops for movie shooting and I borrow such items as white chairs, globe and old ships and so on, and opened a bar after setting up them all.
−Are you confident to be the best in the world at that time? Or you are only a challenger?
−Hmm, I’m not both of them, I only wanted to be number one in Japan. I’ve never wanted to be number one in the world. It’s not such an easy matter.
−Yes, not anyone can win it.
− Yes, it is. But, as far as I participate in the world championship, I do practicing and I’m a kind of type who request someone.I’ve requested many things to others and have created the result together. That’s why I had thought it would be enough if I could accomplish what I had done in Japan.If I can accomplish it until the end, that’s enough.
−Once you participate in the competition, there are lot of challenges, right? It(s waste of time if I do everything to complete a script.
That’s why I have someone who make a script from w3hat I speak, someone who can prepare such small items as glasses and coasters.
Also I have someone writing English as it’s very troublesome when I need to write overseas.
Even for shopping, it’s always time taking and there is someone who can to Osaka instead.
−The right person in the right place. Are they your friends or business partners?
−I have both of them. I have friends, business partners in the same field and the other fields as well.
−I see. That’s your power to involve people.
−I always think a wonderful thing cannot be done alone, and always try to ask someone.
What is important is how the requested person think about it. They will think to be a help if I’m doing my best, right?
I think it is very important to be a person they consider so.
−I agree. It’s not only humanity, but also you participate in the world competition.
−That’s true partially, but it’s same any time whenever it is the world competition, national championship or even when I have been defeated.
Of course, the scale became much bigger now.
−People who want to support you.
−Yes, they are. But I firstly need to do my best.
−Do you have any episodes which are memorable with other members?
−Before going to the world competition, I had a training by my senior who won the 9th grade at the world competition. I had so many things to request before that and I also needed him for a support.
Then he said “Kaneko, you are the greatest bartender of all. That’s because you won the Japanese championship and are going to the world competition from now. You have to behave great like a King. It’s same to me, too. You order me like “Go out to buy something”.
Behave great. And after you win and come back, you apologize me I was so arrogant at that time. There is no one who claim you.”He kindly told me so and, after that, I felt very comfortable when asking him.
−Wow, it’s a wonderful talk. But you need to prepare yourself to be a King, right?
−Sure, that’s true. But, after that, I did not need to say even “Thank you” anymore. I just order to do this or that. It cannot be helped even if I care for them, because I’m going to challenge.
It made me feel so comfortable after he said to apologize him.
Even if I’m back after defeated, no one can say to the person to apologize, as far as he knows how he was by that time.
−I see, I agree. How is the relationship with such members?
−They are part-timers and my friends nearby. It’s not like a well-organized team, but just a gathering of 5-10 people.
−What kind of practices did you do until the world competition?
−We have an opportunity of doing presentation before the competition. I always say “Don’t practice it alone” at such occasions as my seminars. I always say to do it where toy have a listener who can nod you. You can’t deliver what to say just like a radio gymnastics. That’s why I always try to practice so that you can react to such people.
−What you mean is how to deliver to others.
− I always do it so that the listeners can understand what I say and to sympathize them. It(s not a presentation to say what you want. That7s why you need to give up what are not needed by the judges even if you spent 100 hours for that, and it make sense to say you just thought while ago.
－Sure. That’s the same in the Pachinko field. What is important is how you can deliver to your customers.
−We can easily forget that the most important thing is the reactions of people in front of you. Japanese people prepare a complete documents, but what’s important for others is not the same as yours. You can think about the true presentation at the place where you are.
クォリティを上げる。そのためのスピード。（Improving your quality. And speed is for that purpose）
−Do you find any advantages compared to others? −What I think advantageous is I can think about it faster than anybody to make a new cocktail. It’s not an idea to make a tasty cocktail.
−That’s true. I think about it in 15 minutes. We need to prepare 24 cocktails at the world completion and we make them in about one week.
That’s why I can do presentation as far as I have plenty contents and can memorize them as well. If I can make them earlier, I can retry it if it doesn’t work.
−I think it is correct. Quality is important of course and you also treat speed as an important additional factor.
−That’s true. Because I don’t trust myself in the future. I don’t trust any new imagination.
−I see. You don’t trust yourself.
−I try to organize what I have now, anyway. So it’s very simple. Speaking about imagination, I put what I usually don’t need in the basket located in my head. And, about one month and a half before the competition, I pick up the basket and pit the contents to the appropriate places. I don’t think about the new matters. I have no time to rely on my new talents. I have no extra time to rely on it. Time limit is approaching and it can happen that I can’t do it then. That should not be the way to do. Even if it’s obsolete for me, no one knows about it.
−It’s very important. Doing what you can do now, right?
−That’s true. You only use what you have in the basket to be fitted into the competition rules. It can create a rough circle, and I spend a lot of my time to update it. I imagine one idea and continue it. After repeating it, a rough circle changes to a beautiful one. The more the frequencies, the more it will be refined.
−And you don’t finish it as it is, right?
−That’s true. I continue updating it until the competition. If this is born one week ago, I have to show it even it is still a progressing stage even if it’s born with good imagination. I’m afraid of it so much.
Anyway, what is important is to create something even if it is rough and repeat it many times. Then it changes to be a complete one after wards. I can’t fail even a small mistake at the competition. By doing so, you can reduce your mistakes a lot.
仕事につなげるではなく、自然とつながる（It’s not only for your work, but also for everything.）
− Inputting. I suppose you are also doing a lot of effort of inputting.
−Yes, what is important is not to be conscious about it. If you think it will be useful for your work, you only devote yourself to it. I always try to bring it from my routine life.
− Not to be conscious? You mean you can it for your work in later days?
−That kind of thing can happen sometimes but what I always say is that our work is to make them cocktail-nized, and bar-nized.
−I see. It’s a wonderful expression.
−For example, I do bar-nization of such routine events as birds’ whisper and wood sound. I should not think about that it can be used for my work at such an occasion. I only need to think how I can make the blowing wind cocktail-nized, when I open a window.
−That means that I should make its bar-nization our own business. You see, making it to a Pachinko industry.
−That’s true. oOur work is not only making cocktails and serving them. There are a lot to consider such as interior, shop master’s character and many other factors.They can be more than the original purpose sometimes.
−Yes, for sure.
−What I took care when I firstly started a bar was the touch point with our customers. It’s very important to think about their time until they leave there.
It means that how we can think about the customers when they come in. For example, door temperature, floor texture, scents, colors and lightings.
−It’s nothing but fifth sense.
−Yes, that’s right. Anything such as walking steps, hand towel’s temperature and their scent. But we do not need to mind all of them. Knowing that, improve it where you can do. Then, automatically your level is improved without your intention. You only need to change whichever you can do by yourself, such as answering to someone.
−Just you become conscious from the standpoint of the customers, and you change anything whatever you can.
−But you do not need to change whatever which is not necessary to be changed. The worst case is that you don’t know it., or you can say you are not interested in it. Such a crime having no guilty consciousness is the most horrible, don’t you think so?
－What is most important is to know you are not doing it because it’s troublesome. The biggest problem is that you consider it as if it’s not existing.
− That’s a problem. It can be easily understood if you are at the customer’s standpoint, but many of them try to neglect it once it happens.
−Yes, everyone tries to go to the direction they like. It(s same as the topic of presentation, and you do not need to appeal what is not needed even if you make much effort.
コロナ禍だからこそ未来に対する思い（Thought to the future under such coronavirus pandemic.）
－After listening to your talk, I suppose many listeners understand the essence whatever it is.
−Its’s my pleasure if it is so.
− Can I ask about your challenges toward future, such as how you want to live from now on?
−Well, I haven’t designed for my future so much. I only design for my near future.
−For a few years from now.
−I see. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Pachinko industry is not so active these days. Do you have any comment on it?
− Well, I think it’s not polite to say this, but I think Pachinko industry and our industry will not be on upward trend from now on.
−Yes, that’s true. −If you see a far future, this is just a comparison with present, but the point is how you can endure it but how you will be selected.
− I see. It’s not a matter of how you can endure it but being selected.
−Natural selection. Such a time will come sooner or later. I think market is already saturated. So we need to be selected.
−You mean such a time will come.
−Surely. What I think these days is that the work of craftsman such as a chef and a sushi cooker is to create something to please their customers. But they rely on the counter too much.They have earned the money only beyond the counter like serving delicious sushi.That’s why they fall in a panic once such disaster happens like COVID-19.
−Yes, that’s very understandable. By the way, do you take any countermeasure against it?
−When the emergency call was announced in March or April, the willingness of our staffs fell down and I had no income. But I could get the money for the seminar I had before. I was very happy then.
−You were very lucky then.
−That’s true. I could continue the same as before but I had been thinking to change the shape of the counter. Then I organized a seminar to deliver what is good to bartenders and they perform it for customers’ pleasure.What we are doing is the same. I think and customers are pleased with it. And difference is that just a seminar happened between them.
−Yes, that is exactly true. Do you have anything else to mention?
−After that, I started mail order service. We think about it and someone delivers it to the customer’s place for their pleasure. What we are doing is the same as before. Such way of thinking that we don’t stick to a counter is good by having many options instead. Of course, our main job remain unchanged.
−That’s wonderful. It can be adopted to every field. If you are an owner of Pachiko parlor, you do not stick to the rows of machines and every trick of machine.
−And you start to change it. You should have many options. It doesn’t have to be a great option. What I always say to my staffs are “Try to earn money from another resource whatever it is only for 100 yen or 200 yen a month. In case of any emergency, you can just switch to that option. It’s the hardest thing not to have it instead. Creating new option is the hardest of all.
− I see. It’s very impressive that what you are doing is the same in principle.
−Yes, that’s right. Many things happen during your life and you may have a better chance to choose another option. For example, if you lose your hand or your bone is broken. You can’t use this option in that case. Then you can choose another option as a replacement. Another option. With the decrease of population in Japan, users will decrease simultaneously. You need to target various fields as its replacement. If it is our case, we will continue losing if we stick only to the bar users.
−It means what is important is how you can please your customers whatever the method is in a good meaning.
−I think it’s very important. I just got a license of liquor shop and I7m now thinking to export sake. This sake was also made after setting up a company with my friend in Singapore. I also set up an EC site as well. Lucky thing is that we can use internet introduction subsidy now, and we can think to deliver our cocktails to every location. And I organize a seminar again, publish books to expand my territories. And someone finds it for their pleasure. I think it’s OK even if not everyone enjoys it.
−You don’t pursue the result from the beginning?
−That’s true. What is important is if you have such options.
−I think you are doing such management as education in Japan and abroad but do you find any difficulties and pleasant matters after starting it?
− Consulting abroad is only for thinking about the menu, but when you do consulting in Japan, I’m not sure this is the right way but it will help you a lot once you have someone who likes you so much to make everything smoother.
− I see, I understand it. The right thing is to do right theoretically but we are nothing but human.
−Yes. So when I do consulting, I invite someone to my place to work. And we work together, do training, experiencing hard work, having meals together and listen to him for about 2 weeks.
−You make someone your fan by showing how you are.
−Then, that person start to discuss about the problems, and once I give him an advice, he start moving toward it.
−After all, you mean human power is very important. I think it’s applied to any job but do you have anything else to take care in that case?
−Wherever and whoever it’s from abroad or Japan, I take care of the one who comes to me. I don’t know if my answer is proper, but I take care of them always.
−Taking care of people. That means it’s very important that you can easily persuade people. −I think so. I’m not conscious about it, but I’m trying to create a circumstance where people can come easily and comfortably. I now have an apartment where anyone or our staffs can stay. In caser someone come for training, all of them stay there and live for a while, even if it’s a foreigner. They stay there for a week or two and work at my place.
−It’s very impressive. I’m invited by the Pachinko owners sometimes, but if they bring me to their home, I’ll become their fan immediately.
−And I set a rule and they clean up the bed sheets when they leave thinking of someone who comes next. Also our staffs take care of them even if they are from abroad. Doing so, they improve their human power.
Some of them from abroad can’t speak English well. Is such person comes, they think what to do.
−You give a chance of their self-improvement?
− I don’t need to spoil them. But, for example, it’s very important to think of someone just by guiding someone so that they can go to the Kansai Airport or how they can write kanji characters of Nara.
−It’s a kind of training. Those who can’t do it can’t do something for the customers.
−Those who can do it can be done by someone else in the same way. For example, when I go abroad, someone whom I took care of comes to me by a car and bring me to a nice restaurant. I used to send our staffs abroad for training before CIVID-19, and sometimes asked them to let them stay at their place for a few days.
−I see. It’s not only a matter of making cocktails, but also creating such people who can be helped by someone by polishing their human pwer.
− Not everyone can win the grand prize at the world competition. Not everyone can be a Japanese champion. I happened to win the prize but I should not end it as my own experience only. I don’t mean I’m great but I have to share my experience with someone else. All my staffs are very skillful but no one won the Japanese championship. But I think it will be a very good experience to work abroad. In order to make it happen, I need to communicate with people abroad first and I need to be liked by them.
−We need to do efforts to be selected, but do you have any words which you can encourage people in this field so that things can be improved by doing further?
−What I gained after COVID-19 are young customers. They are very clever and check everything very carefully. Ten when they come to us, they are polite enough and they cause no money trouble at all.
− That’s exactly same in our field. Younger people are very smart and understand theirs standpoints.
−We couldn’t come in the market of this generation positively by now, but I found that we can open this market even under such circumstance. That’s my biggest surprise so far. They are reasonably experienced and can go abroad easily nowadays.
− Yes, it’s not a time of dreaming Hawaii anymore. You can easily fly there by LCC.
− Yes. Tokyo is getting closer now and the distance is getting closer even if it’s a city or rural area. Market for such younger generation can be opened as a new market.
− I see.
− The other day, I had a chance to interview with a famous bartender organizing a great bar business group and he said it’s same in Hon Kong. Then when he asked young people the reason. According to them, they started to think how to spend their limited and important time and they found it’s very worthwhile to spend their time at the premium places.
−Oh, it’s very important. By looking back their lives, they will die someday and they can’t go out. Then they started to think how to spend their time. It’s a great potentiality.
−Yes, it’s true. We always bed to be conscious about that market but what we could gain this time is that we found a potentiality to expand it. I believe it’s same in any field. We now find a bright future. It can be bright if we do it firmly.
− I think so. I don’t think market will expand from now on, as far as you stay in Japan. So we need to think how to expand it in the market which will never expand. Total number will not increase but my own share can expand.
−I see. I could listen to a very forward looking talk at the end.
−By standing with the eyesight of young generation such as design, there are not so many attractive things in the Pachinko field. Just like changing the music.
− I see. We can do various settings depending on the customers.
− Yes, it is. Thinking how younger people feel it. If it’s a case of bar, the image young generation feel is a place where old men stay to take a drink quietly but it looks very hard to come in. They have such an imagination which is negative mind, whatever it is good or not. I think such an approach to remove such impression will be fine.
−I see. We still have a lot to do. We all want to do more effort including everyone in this field.
We could have an interview with Kaneko-san, who won the top prize of the world.
I could have very precious talk with him which can be adopted on not only to the bar field, but also every field.
Please look forward to our next interview with someone who is number one in Japan.