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LAist Interview: David Kudo, Sushi and Tofu Magazine

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Los Angeles’s vast world of media extends beyond the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly to include print publications that cater to myriad local interests and tastes. Among these is Sushi and Tofu magazine helmed by David Kudo. This publication serves as a valuable community resource for food lovers and L.A. residents with an interest in Japan, and provides an additional connection to a country which has had a significant impact on the history and development of our region. Sushi and Tofu is fascinatingly indicative of the "glocalized" world in which we currently live.

1. Age and Occupation

52, President of Sushi and Tofu magazine

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2. What is the mission and purpose of Sushi and Tofu magazine?

Our mission is to promote mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S., and to inform Americans about Japanese culture and food through our monthly magazine.

3. Who is its primary audience. How many readers do you have?

30% of our readers are Causasian, 30% Asian, 20% Japanese-Americans, 10% Latino, and 10% categorize themselves as “other”. We have about 100,000 readers.

4. Why did you start the magazine and how did you choose its title?

I started the magazine because Americans seem to know little about Japan – I chose "Sushi and Tofu" for the name of the magazine because I think these are two things Americans readily associate with Japan.

5. Where do you find your advertising? Who sells ads in the magazine?

Our advertisers primarily come from the food industry and Japanese companies in general.

6. Is there a bilingual Japanese-English version?

No. However, our web site will be bilingual soon.

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7. Why do you have the "Dear Doctor Tatsuko" cross-cultural communications feature? How many letters do you usually receive for this column?

We have the "Dear Dr. Tatsuko" column because people have trouble with regard to a culture gap between Japan and the U.S., so I thought this column might help reduce the gap.

8. Where are print editions of the magazine distributed? How far does your magazine circulate?

Sushi and Tofu is distributed around West L.A., the South Bay, O.C., San Diego, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.

9. Is there a unique link between Japan and Los Angeles or does it matter that the magazine is based in Los Angeles? Could you do the same magazine in San Francisco or Sacramento?

Yes, there is a unique link between Japan and Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a Sister City to Nagoya, Japan. L.A. is home to some 2,000 Japanese companies and 200,000 Japanese Americans, so the relationship between Japan and L.A. is definitely tight and unique.

10. Is there a Japanese sensibility at work in Los Angeles? How does it manifest itself?

I believe there is a Japanese sensibility at work in Los Angeles - however, I think it is alive primarily amongst Japanese businessmen.

11. What's your favorite sushi restaurant?

I have many favorite sushi restaurants. They are Sushi Gen, Omasa, Shibucho, Senbazuru all in Little Tokyo, Sennari in Gardena, and Yuu in West L.A.

12. What's your favorite place for tofu?

Aoi restaurant in Little Tokyo is my personal favorite for tofu.

13. How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?

I have lived in L.A. for 32 years and live in the Downtown area.

14. Where are you from?

I'm from Akita, Japan.

15. What's the best place to walk in L.A.?

Redondo Beach Pier

16. It's 9:30 PM on a Thursday. Where are you coming from, and where are you going?

I'm coming from my office to Genji Bar at the New Otani Hotel.

17. If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?.

22nd century.

18. If you were forced to live in a neighboring county, which would you choose? Ventura County is a wussy answer.

San Diego County.

19. If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?

Palos Verdes.

20. Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?

No. There are a lot of business and culture groups that you can join. So, I think it's up to you.

21. What's this city's greatest secret?

It's a secret, but I will tell you, the best restaurant in Southern California is Zenbazuru in Little Tokyo. Chef Yamazaki has more than 40 years of experience. He changes the tempura oil he cooks with every hour!

22. Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?

I prefer hurricanes and long winters to earthquakes.

23. Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?

Under the water.