CNBC's gourmet and travel show "Wine Portfolio" featured Japan for the first time in March 2011. Michi Travel Japan worked as a location manager for Wine Portfolio's Tokyo episode and coordinated interviews and tours. Staffs and guides of Michi Travel Japan guided show presenter Jody Ness to gourmet places in and outskirts of Tokyo.
In Tokyo, we first headed to lively Tsukiji fish market. Strolling through narrow alley of the market and visiting a number of local food shops allowed to learn diversity of ingredients of Japanese cuisine. Shop owners were generous so as to allow us to sample fresh pieces right at the stand of Toro of Oma Maguro Tuna, considered to be the best quality.
Among many people we met, an interview with Mr. Ishikawa, owner and chef of Ishikawa, Michelin-3-starred Kappo style Japanese restaurant, was one of the most informative in learning philosophies of Japanese cuisine. At Ukai, a popular Teppanyaki restaurant with a Michelin star, Jody was impressed by the delicious abalone and beef steak.
As a show of gourmet and wine, we visited Yamanashi, Japan's major region for grape-growing and wine-making. Owners of wineries explained Koshu wine and potential of Koshu wine to gain more recognition worldwide.
Through meeting with people in food, beverage and hospitality industry in Japan, we learned what makes Japanese cuisine so popular worldwide: passion and dedication shared by people involved to make customers happier by seeking perfection.
CEO Seiichi Chada was interviewed in the show and he shared his ideas on traveling to Japan for international travelers. At the end of the interview, the presenter Jody asked him if Japan will maintain its incredible cultural mix of old and new. He answered that Japan appreciates both sides and will never drop the old for the new.