2020.09.11

My way and and wander vol.4Shoichiro Aiba
The owner of 〈Life〉
and wander journal #15

常に“人”ありきが
店作りのベース

2003年にお店を始めまして、もう17年ですね。飲食業にかぎらないとは思うのですが、やっぱり人が一番大切だと感じます。いまは若いスタッフなんかと比べたらだいぶ僕との年齢差が出てきています。だからできるだけそういう若い子たちの意見に耳を傾けるということは、つねに意識しています。歳も離れているし、オーナーなので、向こうからしたら気を遣いたくなるところでしょうけど、そこの一線を超えようという努力はいつもしています。従業員を増やす、という感覚ではなく、一緒に末永くやっていける仲間をつくっていく感じですね。その努力の甲斐もあってか(笑)、独立した後も交流のある元スタッフも多いですね。人との繋がりを大切にすること。だからそういった仲間と一緒に店を変えていく、育てていく。そもそもお店を始めたときも、大前提として「ここで働きたいと思えるお店にする」というのがありました。1人でやったとも、やろうとも思っていないです。そこが店をつづけていくうえでベースにある部分ですね。

“People”
Is What Makes a Great Restaurant

It has been 17 years since I started my own restaurant in 2003. This may not be particular to food service, but I believe that “people” is what matters the most. There is a large age gap between some of my young employees and myself, but that is exactly why I have been trying to listen to their opinions as much as possible. Not only because of my age, but also the fact that I am the owner makes these young employees difficult to relax when they talk to me, but I always do my best to get closer. They are not just an employee; they are my lifelong teammates. Now I know that it was worth the effort because I still keep in touch with some of my former employees after they decided to go independent. My motto is to cherish my connections with other people. My teammates and I share this same value to change and nurture the restaurant. Since day one, my goal was “to make this restaurant a place where people ‘want to’ work”. If you ask me, do I think that I accomplished this by myself and should I deserve all the credit, my answer would definitely be a no. So, basically, the idea to “value people” is my fundamental philosophy.

共感しているのは
街と山のハイブリッド感

実はand wanderのアイテムはそんなにたくさん持っているわけじゃないんですよ。ただ、デザイナーのおふたりのことは、イッセイミヤケ時代からお店に来てくれてたりしたので、知っていました。おふたりはもちろんアウトドア好きなんですが、アウトドアの機能だけでなく、洗練された都会の刺激的な要素も取り入れていますよね。僕自身のライフスタイルもちょっとそれに近いところがあって、『Life』からほど近い代々木公園近くの自宅とは別に、那須の山のほうにも家があって二拠点生活をしています。ですが、田舎暮らしに憧れるというのはあまりなくて、都会の暮らしも同様に心地いいんです。ハイブリッド感ですかね。どちらか一方だけでもだめというか。and wanderというブランドにも、そういう雰囲気を感じるので、そこに共感しているのかもしれません。

Sympathizing with the
“Integration” of Urban and Nature

To tell the truth, I don’t have that many and wander items myself. But I have known the designers, Ms. Mori and Mr. Ikeuchi, since before the launch of this brand, when they still worked for Issey Miyake, because they used to come and eat at my restaurant occasionally. Not only do they love outdoor activities themselves and care about their items’ functionality for outdoor life, but they also adopt exciting aspects of sophisticated modern city life. My lifestyle is somewhat akin to and wander’s concept. I actually own two properties; one is close to Yoyogi Park and my restaurant “LIFE”, and the other is in the mountainous area of Nasu in Tochigi Prefecture. Since I migrate between these two houses, I’ve never really had a yearning for a life in the countryside. In fact, both city life and country life are equally comfortable for me. Practically, I live a “hybrid” life. It can’t be just one or the other.
I feel that this integration of urban and nature also applies to and wander too. That may be the reason why I sympathize with this brand so much.

Shoichiro Aiba 相場正一郎

栃木生まれ。イタリアで料理修業の後、2003年に代々木八幡にイタリアンレストラン「LIFE」をオープン。現在、「LIFE son」「LIFE Sea」など全国に5店舗を運営する。レシピ本の出版、フリーペーパーの発行やプロダクト製作、ワークショップの開催など、幅広く活動。

Born in Tochigi. In 2003, after returning from an apprenticeship in Italy, he started his own Italian restaurant, called “LIFE”, in Yoyogihachiman (Tokyo). He currently owns and operates 4 other restaurants in Japan, including “LIFE son” and “LIFE Sea”. With his years of experience as an owner/chef, he is expanding his field of business. His recent activities include publishing his recipe book, printing free magazines, product development, and arranging workshops.

text Takashi Sakurai
photography Koichi Tanoue
translation Masumi Tokugawa