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When Japanese TV made my man the 3rd most famous Japanese in Switzerland : )

Aug 16, 2023

5 years ago a TV-team from Fuji Television Japan came to Ken's Restaurant. They planned a show about "The most famous Japanese people in Switzerland".

Ken scored 3rd famous after Kei Nishikori the tennis player and Mr. Takahashi who runs a Japanese bakery. Certainly this ranking came together without any research but with some tweaks and TV-tricks everyone in Japan believed every word they recorded : ).

Ken likes things like this AND he doesn't take it too seriously at all. 

So when the TV-team came to the restaurant he gave his best for the interview.

Nothing to lie about how well business goes, this Izakaya - the type of restaurant in Japan where you have beer and or sake and eat delicious bites and enjoy the warm atmosphere - is fully packed every night. 

The lying happens in the video : ). Not bad lies...they just made it appear that random people on the street would have known Ken. "Ah Ken? Yes of course I know him! He runs the BEST restaurant in town."

You can watch the whole segment with Ken HERE. It's our friend Rika who recorded her own TV in Japan with her phone when the show was broadcasted.

Youtube didn't accept the video so I will give you the "secret dropbox-link" to watch it : ). It's all in Japanese so I'll tell you a bit more about what they were talking about so you get the whole thing, ok? 

So first: Asking strangers about the next most famous Japanese...

It's Ken and this is his restaurant. Btw, if you are in Zurich, make a reservation at 

They are amazed by how packed the restaurant is, they tell that they sell about 200 ramen per day AND they are so astonished about the price of a bowl of noodle soup. Yes, prices are high in Switzerland but so are salaries...

Then they come over to our place. The funny thing is, this was not planned. But they forgot to let Ken sign the agreement for his TV-appearance so they came by that evening to bring that paper. I welcomed them and started chatting in Japanese AND I realized that their driver was an old friend of mine. I hugged him and he said he had the best time with this gang... so much JOY and fun...! When Ken signed, the director nearly whispered to him: "Could we come to your place tomorrow and record a sequence with your wife?" Of course we agreed : ) 

We had to clean our apartment that night make a good impression the next day. 

When they came into the kitchen you can see me greeting them - Rika does a big laugh during recording - and then they say: "Okusan wa mechamecha kirei desu ne" Which translates into: "Your wife is very very beautiful!" And now watch my lips...I say a little sarcastically (as I don't like this Japanese custom of always commenting about looks right away): "Oh really?" in Japanese "Ah soo desu ka!?".......aaaand: They just cut it out. Hilarious!!! I move my mouth but I'm muted. 

Anyway, after that we tell our love-story which you can read here if you want the details in English. 

Ken talks about how he couldn't speak any German in the beginning and how he learned the language and found work. First in a sushi-shop. He became a sushi chef in Switzerland by learning from two masters. His career always included fish and sushi until he opened Izakaya Ooki with his colleagues. 

You can imagine how PROUD his parents were that THEIR son was on national TV showing his good life and success in business in Switzerland. We got a million messages in the family group chats and phone calls from all our friends from Japan. I love them all so much! And they love TV. It's incredibly special to be on TV in Japan. Sooo you can imagine how that was the sensation for everybody who knows us.

Being on TV is fun. I had the chance a few times in my life. One talk show appearance on Swiss national TV impacted my then Japan-knowledge-based business significantly in a very positive way and I'm very grateful for that. Other than that I adore how lighthearted Ken took his "fame". Being on TV for 5 minutes doesn't change you. It just shows who you are as a person to more people and they can get a glimpse of who you are when there is no camera. Lucky me I get to spend my life with the third most famous Japanese guy in Switzerland with and without camera on : )! 

Let’s make this world more colorful, playful and joyful on and off camera!


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