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Job Interview

[whitespace] Kimiaki Aoyama

Sushi Man

Owner/chef Kimiaki Aoyama (a.k.a. Al) serves up some of the best sushi in town at Sushi Zone, 1815 Market. Associate editor David Boyer caught up with Al and enjoyed a spicy tuna roll and a chilly Sapporo.

David: What's your job?

Al: I'm a sushi chef.

David: Do you like it?

Al: Yeah, I like it a lot, especially here. I've met many nice people who come to eat, that's the best part.

David: How did you start?

Al: A friend of mine used to have a sushi bar in the Lower Haight. So I started working there about 12 years ago. I worked there for three years, and then I worked for different sushi bars. For three years, I also did "Sushi Sunday" at the Nightbreak, a club in the Upper Haight. That concept was a big hit. I'd make sushi while there was music going on--punk or heavy metal, probably five or six bands each night. But I didn't really enjoy it. It was hard bringing in the tables and the fish and setting everything up and taking it all down.

David: How did you end up here?

Al: I never thought about making sushi here. But one of my best friends, Nori, whose place this was, passed away, and that's why I'm here.

David: So, what's the most popular item on the menu?

Al: The Mango Hamachi, which is yellowtail and mango. Also the Hawaiian Roll, which is tuna and avocado, mayonnaise sauce and some macadamia nuts on top.

David: Do you hang out with people you work with outside of the store?

Al: Sometimes. I have also become friends with many customers, and they invite me to their parties.

David: If you weren't doing this, what might you be doing?

Al: I want to play music in the studio. I play drums and bass, but I haven't touched my drums for a long time. That's what I want to do in the future.

David: Favorite local band?

Al: There are a lot of talented musicians in this town, but I don't get to see a lot of live music these days. I do like the Mermen and the Stone Foxes. I also like the Dead. Nori and I used to go to the Dead shows together a lot in the mid-'80s.

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From the August 24-September 6, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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