All About Greg Taniguchi, the Dude Churning Out Content Like a Nacho Cheese Dispenser

Drippy, oozy, and cheesy (mandatory with nachos, like how food and culture go hand-in-hand).

Casey Neistat, a YouTuber, said, “Ok, so…” is the obligatory way for video bloggers to start, so I will make it my blog intro.

“I avoid talking about myself, so this page will be a struggle to write, like all my writing (I can easily talk crap about myself tho).”

This poorly written section is because Greg just pumped it out like nacho cheese, although he will continue to revise it.

Ok, so, my name is Greg Taniguchi, and I am a 3rd/4th generation Japanese American, a sansei/yonsei. I had most recently spent the last two-and-a-half decades in Los Angeles and the SF Bay Area, although I was born in Englewood, Cowarado. 

Japanese American Internment and Farming in Colorado

I am from Colorado because, after the war, my dad’s family did not want to return to California after being forcibly removed from their homes and interned at Rohwer in Tillar, Arkansas, during the war. That is why I grew up with Chipotle (founded in Denver) versus Yoshinoya (well, we did have the first location in Denver in the United States in 1975).

Taken from the book “Oneness in the Nembutsu, 100 Years of the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple, 1916-2016.”

That experience during the war encouraged Japanese Americans like my dad’s family and many other Japanese Americans to settle in Colorado, which was a safe-haven due to Governor Ralph L. Carr (the Colorado Judicial Center is name after him). 

“The 100+ year old Nakata farm house is still standing on 120th and Potomac, well, till it is torn down (hopefully, the tree that my mom used to play on is still standing).”

If you go to the Colorado History Museum, you will see NONE of this history, only the internment.

As for my mom’s side of the family, my great-grandfather Gohachi Nakata was an Issei (first-generation) born in Kumamoto, Japan, and came to the United States in 1903. 

His son, my grandfather Frank Takeshi Nakata, also an Issei (born in Japan), was thirteen out of one hundred of his graduating class, so he had planned on enlisting in the Japanese Naval Academy. Instead of enlisting, he ended up on a farm in Brighton, CO, at his father’s request to come to the United States, along with his younger brother (Henry). If this had not happened, this post would possibly be a lot shorter.

“During WW2, my paternal grandparents and dad were placed in the Rohwer Internment Camp in Tillar, Arkansas. After the war, not wanting to return to California, they settled in Denver, Colorado, in the Skyland neighborhood (North of City Park).”

The Five Points neighborhood of Denver was a Black and Japanese American neighborhood and safe haven for many Japanese Americans due to Ralph L. Carr. Now, the area is being gentrified into coffee shops and as a BS “arts district” that is fake AF (the same approach was taken in the Little Tokyo and adjoining “Arts District” area).

During my grandfather’s time in CO, he became the BJA (Brighton Japanese Association) president from 1924-30 and the first president of the, YBA (Young Buddhist Association) in 1934. 

“My grandfather received an award presented by Japan’s Prince Hitachi for his contribution to the United States as an Outstanding Citizen and Farmer in 1970, and in 1977 he received Outstanding Farmer in Adams County.”

Greg once won a glass mug for a 1st finish in a judo tournament.

He was also a hugely successful farmer, and he received an award presented by Japan’s Prince Hitachi for his contribution to the United States as an Outstanding Citizen and Farmer in 1970, and 1977 he received Outstanding Farmer in Adams County.

He was also the first individual in Colorado presented with the 5th-degree Emperor Award Order of the Sacred Treasure (zui-ho-sho ju-kosho) service medal. This award recognized my grandfather’s outstanding contribution toward promoting a good relationship between Japan and the United States. 

Not a whole lot of information on the actual awards, but I need to cite this site for the imagery

JDM, Off-Road, to Carbon Ceramic

I have nowhere near the list of achievements my family has had, but after a couple of decades in the automotive aftermarket, I do have a shortlist of my accolades. The first being, I was and still am a huge car enthusiast, which led me to be one of the first import performance shops in the S.F. Bay Area in the mid-’90s.

“Growing up, I had a passion for cars and design, and I always pursued the things I love, which is why I pursued an Industrial Design degree in transportation design. Also, that drive led to one of the first “import tuner shops” in the Bay Area (it is the scene that inspired the Fast’n’Furious franchise).”

Greg still love cars, but who just wants one.

After the Boom

After I closed my shop in San Jose in the late 90s, I went into the dotcom and contracted for Chevron (org charts/visio), ad agencies (graphic design), and the healthcare industry (project manager). Although, in the early 2000s, that bubble burst, and I finally took an opportunity in the restaurant industry making, 3x’s less, and I loved it (you can click the link to read about my short stint working FOH/BOH at Sushi Den in Denver as a sushi chef).

Provided Group-A/Skunk2’s value disciplines for their brand which was communicated through each department and every possible marketing channel.

Marketing Director for several automotive aftermarket companies

In my most recent roles, I was instrumental in building and refining several brands in Los Angeles, which include Gibson Performance, Group-A / Skunk2 / Kraftwerks, Race Technologies: Sabelt, Brembo Performance, and Brembo Racing (and a small stint in R/C with Axial).

“If you heard of Z.Speed, Skunkworks, or Skunk2 (featured in the Black Eye Peas video Pump It or the cable show Street Tuner Challenge), it is because of my shop and efforts throughout the decades.”

Greg was the first significant dealer for many major brands at the time, but Skunk2 is one of the most well-known in the import scene today, but in the beginning, the owner at the time had been working out of his aunts’ house.

After all that, I do what I love, which is being in the food and restaurant industry, although I still love cars, that won’t change.

I designed aspects of the SEMA booth, so if you do not give a crap about braking, when you walked on by you will see the range of products go from “street, track, to race” which was the bare minimum marketing objective: to convey what most competing brands could not claim (the product differentiator).

Google “Gibson Exhaust” or “Brembo GT big brake,” and all those images reflect just the tip of my contributions (not the entire shaft of influence).

A Passion for Japanese Food Culture

Today, my primary focus is on Japanese-centric businesses because the goal of Oishii Desu is the same as my grandfather’s. Whereas my grandfather did things based in and around Buddhism, my focus on Oishii Desu is on Japanese food and the businesses that make up the Japanese/Japanese American community. 

“To most, being American means a homogenized culture, so most content is devoid of nuance and cultural roots, especially with food. Factor in money and businesses to influencers will toss all culture out the window to appropriate the narrative for a buck.”

Greg does not consider himself “yellow” (most Asians don’t), and he identifies with his ethnic Japanese roots as a Japanese American.

This community also includes all the people interested in Japanese food and culture because the hope is to unite Japanese Americans and the greater American community of all ethnicities in the same spirit my grandfather had done.

Frank Nakata may have done that through sangha, or community, which is the Westernized interpretation of the Buddhist word, but I think that same spirit carries over to the goal of Oishii Desu.

“In between my blogging and restaurant pop-ups, the Pandemic happened, which led to Your Stomach Loves Us (YSLU). A non-profit initiative to give out free meals to neighborhoods experiencing incidents of hate/violence (we were acknowledged by GoFundMe, which awarded us $5,000.)”

As part of a StopAsianHate movement, we made no emphasis on “Asian hate,” and we hoped generalized gestures of goodwill would let people know “we got’chu.” The last straw for Greg was the incident of the Asian women being punched with no one helping in NYC, and that is when he hit up, co-founder, Karl Palma who is the man and an all around good dude.

Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuurica (As a Side Note)

As an American, my blog is counter-culture to the Japanese culture, which is not opinionated. So many of the things I say are offensive (obnoxious to the Japanese), regardless of how pertinent it may be or how researched my content is. The only time you will hear an opinion from a Japanese person is while drunk. I say things sober, hungover, and slightly buzzed.

“I only started the blog because I was shocked at how badly the mainstream media was doing with producing content about Japanese food, which was devoid of the cultural aspect. Nothing against ‘you people,’ but I got this only out of necessity because I am not a writer.”

Greg has no problem writing about what it is like to be an underachiever, a topic he is a C+ at but on a curve that is an A+.

The point is not to be a dick just because, but unlike Japan, the United States and the culture we have here is the type that encourages communication. An open exchange that cultivates some of the top companies in the world from Google, Facebook, and Apple, to the creation of the web. That sort of open dialogue is what I intend to promote because I want to build a cultural bridge, like Nisei Week in DTLA.

When Greg is Not Blogging or Twiddling His Fingers

I primarily specialize in branding, but Disney and many other Fortune 500 companies, have no clue what branding is (many think it is a logo or graphic design). So, I am often involved in all aspects of marketing.

“If I had not invested in stocks back in 2008, I would not have the ability to do what I love although I have always pursued the things I wanted to do. It is that passion, my integrity, and love for learning (especially in aerospace, guns, boating, and geopolitics) that keeps me going.”

Greg’s investment portfolio of Apple, Google and Telsa has a return of over 2,500%+ (not a combined total).
I love LA, and I love being on my bike. This pic was taken during Ciclavia.
Greg’s portfolio of the companies and brands I help build in the last two decades.
Greg’s non-profit initiative with Karl Palma.
Greg’s restaurant pop-up shut down by the pandemic.
Greg’s event/initiative in Colorado to support micro and small businesses.

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