Authentic Japanese

Often times I get asked where I think the best sushi is in Seattle.  Its a fair question, because it usually comes after me saying "Ask me where you think the best sushi in Seattle is?"

But what I really think they'd want to know is what does a Japanese* person think a good Japanese restaurant is?  I know this because I can read their mind. 

So I wrote this comic which is up in my comics section, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to plop a blog entry on this.

Trying not to sound too pretentious I usually give people what eateries I like, but with the caveat that I don't get around to eat at all places.  I am a Foodie, but I'm no cook nor professional critic.  

But what I suspect we all think we want is an authentic experience.  Its always annoying to hear people say that this (insert food item) isn't as good as (motherland).  I never expect the sushi to be as good in Seattle as what I had at Tsukiji, nor do I expect a great burger in Tokyo like the local Red Mill Burger.

I don't care if the waiter/waitress speaks Japanese or pronounces everything on the menu correctly.  I don't care if my tea comes in a bag or poured.  I don't care if I sit on a tatami floor.  I really don't care if the sushi chefs are Hispanic, or the owners are Korean or White.  I don't care if the Kansai style plate is served in a Tokyo themed place.

All in all what I really care about is enjoying a shared experience with those I eat with.  That makes my experience authentic.

*-I consider myself Japanese American.

I am thankful

Thank you Blue C Sushi for giving me so much exposure & selling my prints at their downtown location where all four walls are covered with my stuff.
Thank you Ibuki magazine for allowing me to have a comic where I get to say stupid unfunny weird stuff just cause.
Thank you Kobo for always being willing to carry all my prints and really being my HQ for all my prints.
Thanks you Uwajimaya for allowing me to make a bag of a place where as a kid I felt some sort of cultural validation.
Thank you Bluebottle Art Gallery, Wing Luke Asian Museum, Compound Art Gallery, Split Obsession, Rock Paper Scissors, Giant Robot, and Hiroki's for finding ways to collaborate with me.
Thank you to all my supportive coworkers, I respect so much being able to be surrounded by your talent.
Thank you fans for being so enthusiastic about my works, reminding me why I do things.

And most of all I thank my family for always being so supportive of my hobby which has taken me  so many places.

Can you tell I'm in a thankful mood?

NihonTown Bamboo Veneer

 This is far from an introduction to the piece, as it was revealed at Enfu's debut art show at Kobo in August of 2008.  But this is the first time I've posted pictures on this site.  Only 3 of these prints exist.  

I decided that hyper limited edition sets like these and my canvas prints I won't sell on my site, but at outlets that carry my work and at conventions (more on this soon).

One set will be going to the 2009 Wing Luke Art Auction.

If you want to buy the last piece please contact Kobo.

Well without further ado, here are the pics:

More pics after the jump.

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Is Umami really the fifth taste?

I call BS on Umami.

All this talk about Umami being this 5th flavor is bull.  To me, Umami simply means 'good flavor', and its just a word.  Whenever I hear someone use the word Umami to describe a depth of 'taste' in a food, my Japanese spidey senses tingle.  

Here is why.

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Where can I buy your work?

Buy enfu at these brick and mortar locations:

The maps of which can be found on the 'Enfu Finder' nav bar to your right.


Kobo of Seattle

They have all my prints available on display, and they are the only place where you can purchase the Nihontown Canvas Print!  I don't offer the canvas print online because its a really big piece (12"x60") and I don't want to deal with shipping, but Kobo will take care of it for you for $60.

Bluebottle Art Gallery

Bluebottle is a great gallery with huge range of local artists.  Just walking into the store you'll be bombarded with an assortment of goodies.

Wing Luke Asian Museum

Wing Luke is located in the heart of the International District in Seattle.  They are the only Pan Asian Museum in the United States.  Also, they are the only Museum that carries enfu's work.  :P  Check the gift shop and see the awesome collection of inspiring and empowering art.



Compound Art Gallery

Compound is located smack dab in the center of Hip in Portland.  Walk past the store and if the shoes and designer shirts don't pull you in, the vinyl toys and art pieces will.  Check them out and pick up your local enfu there.  


Split Obsession

Split Obsession is my Hawaii connection.  They will have select Enfu products, for their select collector customers.  If you'd like to see more enfu products sold there please let Bruce know.  :P

They have two locations, one in Ala Moana Center, and the other in the Koko Marina Center. 

Los Angeles:


San Francisco:


New York:


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Angela Aki - Tegami - To Your 15 Year Old Self

Half Japanese and half Italian American, Angela Aki (Kiyomi Aki) is another prominent mixed race celeb in Japan.

Every year in Japan they have the Kouhaku Utagassen (Red White Song Battle).  Its a show that to most Japanese signifies the end of the year, and it reviews all the top songs and oldies, and most of the nation is watching.  This past year I listened to Angela Aki's new song : Letter To Your 15 Year Old Self

The lyrics are particularly meaningful as she sings about a letter she is writing to her 15 year old self, encouraging her past self to stay positive.  

Translation after the jump:

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Japanese Variety TV - a primer

 I love Japanese Variety shows.  The whole entertainment structure differs from the US in that they have "Talento", a self identified group of entertainers.  Since they are essentially entertainers they entertain us in all things...TV, radio, movies, dramas, commercials, talk shows, game shows, documentaries, ...everything.  There is no equivalent here in the US.  The advantage this holds for these Talento is that the average viewer begins to recognize and become fans and follow their entertainment from channel to channel, show to show, decade to decade.  This broad range these entertainers carry in my opinion the success of many shows that just don't work in countries without this structure.  More on that in a different post.

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Mariners got Japanese...and a half Japanese American.

Well I'll be honest I'm no die hard baseball fan or season ticket holder.  But every Japanese had pride in the Mariners since at one point (2002-2003) they had at once 3 Japanese players on the roster.  Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Shigetoshi Hasegawa.  And the Mariners had Mac Suzuki, Masao Kida, and currently have Kenji Johjima.  

I may be lacking research, but my quick tally puts the Mariners on top at having the most Japanese players in their franchise at 6 players,  (3 at one time) with the Boston Red Sox at 5 players.

Would it be a coincidence then that the Mariners get Wakamatsu as a manager?  I think its almost warranted...finally.

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Exotic Japanese Fruit: Akebi

I'll try anything once.

Well once if its within reason.  

So when the opportunity presented itself for me to try this fruit that even the person offering it to me acknowledged no one really eats these anymore, I stepped up to the plate.

My parents in laws have a huge yard in rural Japan, in which a size-able garden complete with a huge variety of trees, shrubs, and their fruits flourish.  It just happened to be my lucky day and the Akebi fruit announced that it was ready for the plucking by naturally popping its outer shell.  Freshly picked off of the tree it was presented to me on a nice wooden plate.


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Japanese Male Cheerleaders seen as masculine

I found it interesting how different things can be in two cultures.  When one thinks of cheerleaders in the U.S.A., we associate the stereotypical popular female in high school.  Kind of a symbol of popularity and femininity.  

Although this kind of cheerleader also exists in Japan as it modernized and adopted more Western cultural practices, its traditional Ouendan (???) style of cheer leading is held by men and they were seen as masculine and cool.  

Here is video of them at work.  It usually involves shouting to a drum beat and intricate hand movements. 


I also included this stark comparison within the "Nihontown" illustration.

Also filed under "Works in Progress" because this is the story behind the image.

-enfu blurb:

Enfu is a sushi & hamburger eatin' samurai cowboy.

He grew up watching Dragon Ball & G.I. Joe, playing jan-ken-pon & rock paper scissors, and collecting Bikkuriman & Garbage Pail Kids.
Enfu is a bilingual Japanese American Nisei, his illustrations, blog, & comic, reflect this identity exploration. 


Here is a little help getting around my site.


The comic portion of Enfu is my collection of webcomics I make for fun & for your enjoyment.

Its a bilingual comic, not a translation.  Same comic for two different (or same) audience. 

2 comics listed per page, one in English, one in Japanese.

These comics appear in print in Ibuki Magazine.


The blog portion of Enfu is broken down into 3 categories:

1.  Opinion-my critical views on both Japanese & American cultures (east vs west).

2.  Design Inspirations-things that spur me to create.

3.  Works in Progress- showing the process in which I create my own pieces.


The catalogue is enfu's online store:

1.  Poster-open edition poster quality prints, more affordable than the limited edition versions.

2.  Silkscreen-Most of which are limited editions.

3.  Mixed Media-includes Giclees, canvas prints, prints on bamboo veneer etc...


I offer most of my poster prints, giclees, and silkscreens online, but if you want my canvas prints go through Kobo.


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