He loves the people of the area and stepped out from the kitchens of other people’s sushi restaurants so he could see the smiles his food creates.
“I had experience working in Japanese and pastry restaurants in Japan and Canada,” said Kazuhiro “Kaz” Abe of his decision to open Sushi Deco in Parksville with his wife Akiko in May 2011.
He had seven years sushi making experience in Japan, Nanaimo and Parksville but was tired of working away in the back while the owner got the credit.
He wanted to craft his own creations and see the results with his happy customers, he recently explained during a lull in the steady flow of traffic in the little orange shop behind Pharmasave.
He came to Canada 17 years ago for the first time and after a road trip across the country to Newfoundland, “I found the best place was here.”
“I went back to Japan to work for 10 years but I missed it here,” he said so he quit his job and moved back to the Island with his wife in 2005.
He didn’t hesitate when asked what he likes about the area — “The people, they’re so kind… I like the nature, the ocean, everything around here.”
Coming from Osaka, Japan, a city larger than Vancouver, he admits quiet little Parksville was an adjustment, but a nice one.
His four-year-old son was born here and is headed off to Kindergarten in September.
They don’t have any other family in the area but they have friends and are happy to put down roots and plan to stay indefinitely.
Their son has one specific big influence on the restaurant where both his parents spend their days, namely the fact they can’t find weekend daycare means they are closed Saturday and Sunday.
“People ask all the time when we’re going to open on the weekend.”
With friends taking care of him they’re going to open for lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on Saturdays this summer to see how that goes.
The tiny unassuming shop boasts over 80 modern fresh dishes including everything from an impressive array of rolls to maki, nigiri, salads, rice bowls and more experimental dishes like a scallop burger.