On the weekends in Tokyo, a fifty-year-old with a ponytail and beard looks at the counter in his restaurant Tacos 3hermanos. Hundreds of loyal customers queue up to wait for an uncommon treat in Japan: genuine Mexican street tacos.
On the day we visit Yamato, he’s yet to make 3,000 tortillas by hand for a festival. But beforebefore going with CNN Travel on a tour of his headquarters restaurant at Lake Yamanaka, he insists that we must go to several holy shrines located in the nearby town of Fujiyoshida near the foot of the magnificent Mount. Fuji.
Yamato’s ties to his roots are deep. In Yamato’s home at the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine, a peaceful nature sanctuary, he claims his grandparents were revered as fortune-tellers in the area, which he still practices to fulfill his obligation to encourage people.
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“But like, basically, I’m a black sheep,” he says. “So I just do what I want to do.”
“Ikigai” is a Japanese concept that embodies an adherence to the purpose one seeks in life. In the case of Yamato, he believes that the significance of life does not lie only in personal pursuits but also in being connected to others.
To him, the best method to build connections is to simply: “With tacos, on the street, having a drink, and eating together.”
People who visit Tacos 3hermanos Tacos 3hermanos food trucks could expect a Japanese variation in their meals, perhaps a fusion touch. Yamato is a great place to enjoy the most authentic, mouth-watering Mexican street food that you can find everywhere around the globe.
“Where’s your life?’
Following the devastating 2011 Tohoku disaster and the tsunami 2011, Yamato faced mounting pressure to return to his corporate advertising position. During a travel trip for business to Italy, one of his friends asked him: “Yamato, where is your life?”
It became a phrase he would ask himself constantly.
“Where is your life ?… Where is your life?”
The words resonated through his head, directing him in a direction that would test and satisfy his soul.
In the wake of his career as an advertising executive, Yamato decided to live an economist lifestyle and stripped himself of various possessions, such as his automobile.
In search of the most challenging challenge that would push him beyond his comfort zone, he explored the far-flung Mexico.
At the moment, Yamato did not have a taco for himself or a taco, nor did he know any Spanish.
The intoxicating passion of Mexico enticed Yamato. In addition, due to his outgoing nature, Yamato quickly established himself in his new home.
“There’s so much love,” He says of Mexico. “It’s a system of passion.”
In Mexico City, Yamato met one woman, and they began dating; however, her father unknowingly started his culinary adventure by directing him to purchase ingredients for cooking dinner.
Yamato could not speak Spanish well yet, but he was determined to please. So he learned the Spanish terms in the grocery list one by one through the market’s aisles.
One day, his girlfriend’s father contacted him to cook the salsa he’d been making to serve at a family gathering. He knew that he had found something.
“Kaizen,” Yamato recounts truthfully. “It’s a Japanese word that means ‘continuous improvement.'”
However, starting a new chapter in Mexico had its challenges. When arguing with an acquaintance about his problems, he claims they gave the following tips: “Mexico didn’t ask you to move to Mexico It was your choice. Don’t worry about it Come and let’s take a bite of tacos.”
Then, a few moments later, Yamato had his first bite of suadero (beef) street taco. The flavors, he says, were so intense that he nearly cried into his food. It was the only thing he needed to alleviate his depression, a testimony to the power of food and the community to heal the soul.
The flavors of Mexico City
After a few years living in Mexico City, during which Yamato was taught how to prepare many different kinds of food, Yamato returned to Japan at the beginning of 2018 to take care of his elderly parents. Unable to discover the tastes that had captured his heart and soul, he set out to replicate Mexico’s original flavor by sourcing the suadero street tacos from Mexico City.
Amid the pandemic, Yamato hosted a pop-up taco party to showcase his tacos and creations to the general public. In the end, so many people liked his food that Yamato decided to buy the product of a mobile truck.
In a statement, he credits his time in Mexico for giving him “the love, kindness and strength to follow his heart,” He began to promote Mexican cuisine and culture to Japan.
At weekends, Tacos 3Hermanos can be located on street corners of Tokyo.
Tacos aren’t a standard food item on the menu in Japan, and certainly not ones served from a food truck loudly blasting Reggaeton music.
However, Yamato has established a goal to bring the authentic taste of Mexico by igniting locals to be curious.
To be authentic and honor the nation that has inspired him, Yamato gets most of the ingredients he uses from Mexico, Although importing ingredients can be more expensive.
He prepares the tortillas himself and then tops them with chopped onion and cilantro in the traditional manner.
The simple menu at Tacos 3hermanos is a tribute to Yamato’s time in Mexico. Chilaquiles at breakfast and the street tacos he is fond of are suadero, carnitas taco de bistec, with queso, taco de Pollo, and Chorizo. He has been adamant about not allowing an increase in the menu beyond what he enjoyed, which resonated deeply with him.
All the cooking and dish equipment are sourced from Mexico. This includes the comal bola, a specific pan that lets the meat cook in its juices. Yamaote credits for “giving life to the recipe.”
The path to culinary success has a few bumps. In May 2022, Yamato had an incident and then turned the taco truck upside down on the highway.
He did not suffer any injuries; however, when his friends were informed of the situation, they came to his aid. With their help and help, he returned to serving tacos on the same day. He now believes he has helped him achieve his desire to connect with people.
“Yeah I live this daily life. And then I practice it. This is why my branding, and even our food is created out of passion.”
With his current base taco shop on the peaceful waters of Lake Yamanaka, Yamato sees his vision transforming into a reality. It continues to take weekend trips using his taco truck to events and festivals on the bustling roads that run through Tokyo along with other cities.
Suppose we see Yamato’s taco trucks for the two times on a Saturday morning in The Farmers Market at the United Nations University in central Tokyo. In that case, He’s already out of their menu standard. But Yamato’s entrepreneurial spirit has grabbed the moment, and he’s been busy preparing his own Shiitake mushroom tacos, with plenty of fillings and his signature hot salsa.