Friday, October 16, 2015

This article appeared in the February 2011 issue of AkronLife magazine, but I just came across it and thought it was worth publishing again.

It’s a love story. The best food writer in Akron Beacon Journal history, Jane Snow, walked into this Merriman Valley sushi restaurant and Japan native Tony Kawaguchi swept her off her feet – literally and figuratively.

Let Jane explain it, courtesy of AkronLife magazine:

 “There’s some ineffable thing that makes us click,” says food writer Jane Snow, about her four-year marriage to Tony Kawaguchi, owner of Sushi Katsu in Merriman Valley.

When she walked into his restaurant for the first time, he came out from behind the counter and hugged her so enthusiastically that he lifted her feet off the ground. “You could have felt electricity in that room,” Jane remembers. “You’re going to be my girlfriend,” Tony announced. Two weeks later, they were engaged.

The next year, they were married in Vegas.

Tony was born in Japan, where he apprenticed for a sushi master before moving to the U.S. in 1982. He worked at five-star restaurants in places like Hawaii and New York City before coming to Akron at the request of Hibachi Japan, whose customers (Japanese executives from Bridgestone/Firestone) were looking for high-quality sushi here.

Jane was born in Liverpool, Ohio and came to Akron to work for the Beacon Journal. Her research for a sushi story brought her to Tony’s restaurant.

Coincidentally, Tony’s dad owned an American restaurant in Japan right outside the gate of the Air Force Base where Jane’s dad was stationed in World War II.

Tony likes Bob Evans and Alexandri’s; Jane prefers the Sweet Pea CafĂ©. She likes dogs; he has a cat. Tony loves tractors, ATVs and bow hunting. Jane prefers the arts. They go to different movies together — she slips into the chick flick while he heads into the action film.

”He’s more American than I am,” Jane jokes.

They love skiing; biking; going to fancy restaurants, flea markets and county fairs; and spending time with Tony’s 16-year-old son.

 “We’re two very alpha people, but we each have our own areas that we allow the other to lead,” says Jane. A sign Tony hung in their bedroom reads: “Forever. For Always. And No Matter What.”

Tony ordered their wedding on the internet at Cupid's Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas and they had their first meal -- chorizo sausage and melted cheese sandwich on Cuban bread for Jane and chicken and rice for Tony -- as husband and wife at a hole-in-the wall Cuban restaurant in Vegas.

You can check out Jane’s fabulous recipes at her web site with her weekly See Jane Cook newsletter on the Internet.

The Sapporo, Japan native’s restaurant, Sushi Katsu is at 1446 North Portage Path in the Merriman Valley. Not all that far from their love nest they call home, either.

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