What do you do here? I run my own bake shop and bake US-style cakes and pies. I' also started soul food
catering. Customers give me a price range and I try to whip up a menu accordingly. Beans
and rice, chicken, potato and macaroni salads, muffins, corn bread you name it.
How did you get started?
When I first got here I tried to get any job I could, so I did a lot of different things
(including teaching, of course). I had a network of Japanese friends that I met back in
the States, and I would bake for them out of my own kitchen and sell to them. I also sold
to Japanese people who had lived in the States. Then three different friends gave me a
handshake loan of 3 million yen to get my business started, another friend found this
location for me and I've been in business ever since. It'll be seven years next March.
What kind of things do you bake?
I try to limit it to six to seven different cakes per day. Carrot cake, brownies,
cheesecake, banana bread, applesauce spice cake and pumpkin apple bread are my regular
Where are you from? York, Pennsylvania.
What brought you to Japan? I was eating at a Japanese restaurant in New York City and at that moment I had the
desire to live in Japan. I left the States with only USD300.
Are you planning to stay? Yes, in theory, for good.
Tell us about your commute to work. I live near my shop so it's only a short walk. I lived in Kasai before (near
Disneyland) but it didn't bother me so much. It's just more convenient now that I live
closer. If there is anything that needs to be done right away, I can get to my shop
What do you like most about Japan? The usual things: it's safe and clean. I mean, it's not as safe as it was 14 years ago
but compared to New York, it's still safe.
What do you dislike most about Japan? Sometimes when the Japanese are in a crowd, I notice that some of them, well, their
manners leave something to be desired. I've also noticed some chikans.
Do you organize your CDs alphabetically? Yes, but not my cookbooks.
What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan? When I was living out in the countryside my first few years here I used to take the
trains a lot. One day, while riding a train, a man in his 50s or 60s walked up in front of
where I was sitting, grabbed the hand rings and did a full pike right there! Maybe he was
a former gymnast or something. I was so impressed that I wanted to clap, but I didn't.
Then, he just walked away. That left a really big impression.
If you could take one thing back from Japan to your native country, what would it be? A Japanese bathtub. I like the deep tubs they have here.
Do you have a favorite place to eat or drink in Tokyo? Tony Roma's, for their ribs.
Where would you like to be when the big one hits? Right here with my family.
You have to spend the rest of your life trapped on the Yamanote line. You're allowed to
take one book, one CD and one luxury item. What would they be?
The book would be History Of My Life by Giacomo Casanova. There are 15 volumes but
I'll just take one. The CD would be Ella Fitzerald and Louis Armstrong, any of their
duets. Maybe Porgy and Bess. My luxury would be my DVD portable player.
information call Kyle at 3385-8993, or visit Kyle Sexton spoke to Maki Nibayashi