Casey Neistat, a YouTuber said that “ok, so…” was the obligatory way for video bloggers to start off, so I’m going to make it my blog intro.
Ok so, my name is Greg Taniguchi, and I’m a 4th generation Japanese American (a Yonsei). I was born in Denver, CO, or what I like to call Cowarado jokingly. I was born there because my dad’s family didn’t want to go back to CA after they were forcibly removed out of their homes. The forced relocation of Japanese American’s during the war encouraged some Japanese Americans like my dads family to settle in Colorado which was a safe haven for Japanese due to Governor Ralph L. Carr.
4th Generation American and Coloradan
As for my mom’s side of the family, my great-grandfather Gohachi Nakata (Issei, first generation) came from Kumamoto, Japan to the US to farm in 1903. His son, my grandfather Frank Takeshi Nakata (a Nisei, second generation) was number thirteen out of one-hundred of his graduating class, so he had intended on enlisting in the Japanese Naval Academy. Instead, he ended up on a farm in Brighton, CO due to his father’s request, along with his younger brother. If that hadn’t happened, this post probably wouldn’t be as long.
During my grandfather’s time in CO, he went on to become the president of the BJA (Brighton Japanese Association) from 1924-30 and the first president of the YBA (Young Buddhist Association) in 1934. 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. In 1977 he received “Outstanding Farmer in Adams County”, and he was also the first individual in CO in 1972 to be presented 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.
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, my list of accolades is that I was one of the first import performance shops in the S.F. Bay Area in the early 90’s. After closing that business, I went on to work in dot-com to working in business development and marketing for several automotive aftermarket companies. I was instrumental in building and refining several brands which include Gibson Performance, Group-A/Skunk2, Race Technologies: Sabelt, Brembo Performance, and Brembo Racing (and a small stint in R/C with Axial). Now after all that, I’m going back to what I love to do which is being in the food/restaurant industry although I still love cars, and I miss my S2000 (it got hit, and it was totaled in February ’16).
A Passion for Japanese Food Culture
Today, my primary focus is with Japanese-centric businesses because the goal of Oishii Desu is the same as my grandfathers. Whereas he did things based around Buddhism, the focus of Oishii Desu is around Japanese food and the businesses that make up the Japanese / Japanese American community. This community also includes all the people with an interest for Japanese food/culture because the hope is to unite not only the Japanese Americans but also the greater American community of all ethnicities in the same spirit my grandfather had done. He may have done that through “sangha” (community) which is a Westernized interpretation of the Buddhist word, but I think that same spirit carries on over to the goal of Oishii Desu.