When Will Ryan moved to Tokyo from Tipperary, a county in the Irish hinterlands, he started out in as familiar a territory as he could find. Perhaps working in an Irish bar, however, was the only way to make the transition smooth.

It all came about in 2002, when a global hospitality recruiter visited the bar Ryan was working in, Tigh Neachtains in Galway City. What started out with a gin and tonic and some over-the-counter raconteuring, soon developed into an opportunity to move to Japan. Though Ryan spoke not a word of Japanese at the time, within the year he was pulling pints in The Shannon’s in Osaki, a bar where he would remain for the next decade.

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