Tatsuru Rai is the owner and chef of Sobatei Rakuichi in Niseko, Hokkaido. He operates the 12-seat restaurant, considered one of the world’s great soba houses, with his wife Midori. He mixes, kneads, and cuts all of the buckwheat to order. He was the first person to appear on stage at the fourth annual MAD Symposium, in Copenhagen. Instead of giving a speech, Tatsuru demonstrated his craft in complete silence.

At the age of 19, Tatsuru-san traveled—walked, actually—all the way from Tokyo to Hokkaido and built the structure for the restaurant by himself, with his own bare hands.

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