Today marks 15 years since I established TOIRO in 2008. I had zero business plan (!) but all I had was a passion for sharing the pure joy of donabe cooking. It all started with just one donabe I loved so much, Double-lid Donabe Rice Cooker, Kamado-san, made by Nagatani-en in Iga, Japan. As time went on, my collection grew and more and more kinds of donabe are introduced in my lineup.
When I first introduced donabe cooking through TOIRO, most people in the US had never even heard of these Japanese clay pots, unless they had Japanese or Asian roots. So, I started hosting donabe cooking classes at home and eagerly participated in events whenever I had the chance to introduce donabe cooking. I also shared my love for donabe through recipes on my old blog. These small grassroots efforts helped spreading the joy of donabe cooking through word of mouth. Fast forward to today, I published DONABE Cookbook in 2015, and opened my first brick-and-mortar shop TOIRO Kitchen & Supply in the heart of West Hollywood in 2017. My shop will have 6-year anniversary in October.
Over these 15 years, my passion has only grown stronger. I really just want to spread happiness and help everyone enjoy life more through donabe cooking and everything that TOIRO offers. Donabe cooking is about sharing and creating moments of togetherness, where we not only share a meal but also stories, laughter, warmth and joy. I often think - How many more meals will I have in this lifetime? How many more meals will I share with my loved ones? Every single meal, whether it's a humble plate or an extravagant feast, is special and happens only once. It’s Ichigo Ichie - every moment is once in a life time treasure.