METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
LIFE IN JAPAN
Joel Silverstein


Joel Silverstein

Maki Nibayashi

Occupation:
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan


Time in Japan:

Four times, total of about 16 years years







Where are you from?

New York

What brought you here?
I had a Japanese-American roommate at the University of Southern California, and I read a book called "The Emerging Japanese Super State." That book really opened my eyes about Japan because until then, the only thing I knew about it was that they made bad baseball gloves. So for fun, I started studying Japanese and spent two years in the International Division at Waseda University' Linguistic Institute. That was my first time, back in 1971, when there were only three McDonalds in Japan. Then, I came over again with Black & Decker, moved away, changed jobs, moved back to Japan again with a different company, then changed jobs again, stayed in Japan with Pepsicola Japan, got involved with KFC Japan. . .

So from there, how did you get involved with Outback?
I knew the founders, and they were developing a big headache while trying to open up a restaurant here. They never found a partner that was suitable because Outback is all about sharing, employees having fun, having a lot of people make a lot of money. Outback is for happy people who walk away as millionaires. It was hard to find a Japanese partner that understood this concept, so they asked me to do it. I believed that casual dining would be big in Japan so, although it was a great change for me, I took it. I decided to commit and also approached the WDI Group, who have been one of the pioneers of food service here in Japan. We opened our first Outback Steakhouse in Minami Machida at Grandberry Mall and our second shop in Shinagawa.

What are your goals for Outback in Japan?
One by one. That's our philosophy. One customer at a time, one meal at a time, one restaurant at a time. We want to make sure we don't make any mistakes.

What was the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan?
The first weird things I saw when I first came to Japan were adults pissing on telephone poles and mothers holding their babies over the subway tracks so they can pee. Others were guys reading pornographic comics on the trains next to office ladies. I can't believe they don't complain. But the weirdest thing happened while I was eating sushi at the airport. A guy sat down next to me wearing a dress, tattoos from his ankles up to his wrists, orange hair, and an orange shirt. He was eating sushi, too, and talking to granny. That was weird.

What is your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Go with the punches and feel comfortable with yourself.

Joel Silverstein spoke to Maki Nibayashi

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at maki@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
360: Gustavo Marchesi
Professional tango dancer
355: Alec McAulay
Filmmaker
352/3: Mary Frenzel
Professional singer / songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor
350: Kate Smurthwaite
Bond analyst and aspiring novelist
349: Tim Spangler
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
348: Robin Rozzell
Tribal Nation Security
347: Marco Invernizzi
Bonsai artist
346: Charles E McJilton
Advocate
345: Chris Chavez
Dancer/Singer
344: Donna Burke
Singer and narrator
343: Dennis Sun
Artist, freelance graphic design and illustrator
342: Martin Hope Berry
Natural food shop owner
341: Donald James Berry
Technical Adviser
340: Amy Jorrisch
Tokyo International Players
339: Anthony Al-Jamie Ph.D.
Education consultant and journalist
338: Joel Silverstein
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan
337: Neal Dauber
Termite and Pest Control Operator
336: Marcus Spurrell
CEO of No Mass Media, Internet Co.
335: Stefan Fanselow
Flight Instructor
334: Colleen Lanki
Theater Artist
333: Ben Leibson
Scuba Diver
332: Bernard Yu
Executive Director of TELL
331: Hayden "Hay-chan" Majajas
Informations Systems Manager
330: Alistair McLachlan
BootsMC Finance manager
329: Ronald Lee Davis
Missionary / Teacher
328: Ed Durbrow
Musician
327: Isabelle Maranda
Marketing Coordinator
326: Brian Marcus
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club
325: David Baran
Managing Partner, Compass Partners
324: Murali Kupusami
Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model
323: Angela Jones
Fire Dancer
322: Tim Tsang
Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
321: Chris Monnier
Drummer
320: David Snyder
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
319: Juliet Hindell
BBC's Tokyo Correspondent
318: Sid Lloyd
Football team captain
317: Niels Frederik Walther
Chef for the Danish Ambassador
316: Jonathan Katz
Jazz musician and composer
315: Yoichi Hayase
President, True Travel, K.K.
314: Ira Bolden
Program Manager
313: Benjamin Gurnsey
Corporate Communications at Sony Computer
312: Dr Jonna D. Douglass, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
311: Roy Kilner
Izakaya Manager
310: Neil Day
Senior Software Research Engineer
309: Stuart Ablett
Sakaya Operator
308: Maggie Tai Tucker
Animal Trainer
307: Carmine Cozzoline
Restaurant Owner/Chef
306: Alison Noonan
Cellist
305: Kevin Meyerson
Rainbow Japan Inc. President
304: Randy McGraw
DirecTV Marketing Manager
303: Roy Ron
Researcher
302: Antonio Plozay-Liberatore
Economist/TV Talent
300: Miguel Angel
Bartender

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