Working an 80+ hour week and loving it
"What's the least favourite thing about owing a ramen restaurant?"
"There's nothing I don't like. One by one, as much as I can, I put my very best in every bowl I make. With ramen, out of 100 customers, not everyone will like your food. As much as I can, with everything I can, try to put my very best in each bowl of ramen. Then if someone says it's delicious, that's the best feeling!"
A ramen stall wasn't a straightforward career choice for Kumimoto. Kumimoto started helping out at his father's ramen restaurant. He dnd't like it, and couldn't wait to get out to the working world. It was only after working as a salaryman that he realised he "wanted a job that allowed him to create something and make people happy". He came full circle back to where he started, but he allowed himself to try something else first.
Kumimoto also didn't wait for an opportunity, he created one. He called Menya Musashi, the best ramen restaurant he knew, for a chance to be an apprentice. He would work at Menya Musashi for 4.5 years to build up his skills.
For his dream, he works really hard. 8.30am to 11 pm, six days a week. And it is non-stop hard-work from the moment he enters the shop to when he leaves. "I don't really take a break, maybe 15 minutes if I can."
And finally, a little bit of advice from Kumimoto. When asked if he wanted a staff who would work as hard and cook as well as he does (he only has a part-timer) - he replied that if he really had such an employee, he would encourage the employee to set up his/her own ramen stall.
I have been lucky to visit many a ramen stall in Japan. The work is mind-blowing, and the Japanese are incredibly professional. I get tired just watching the same guy fulfilling every role with machine effiency: greet every customer, answer questions and take orders, cook, serve water, serve food, clear tables, clean dishes, repeated over and over again. From a selfish perspective, thankfully there are people like Kumimoto, because ramen is delicious, and actually, there's nothing I want more than to have some ramen right now.