Cyril Roy is a natural-born barman. Like any professional, he makes it look easy. When he arrived in Japan six years ago, Tokyo's pub culture was bloated with English- and Irish-styled establishments serving classic and micro-brewed quaffs on tap. But Roy landed squarely on his feet, within a month, behind the bar as manager of Scruffy Murphy's in Harajuku -- which is not bad for a French national.

He had thought that he knew no one in Tokyo. But a few days after arriving, he accidentally ran into Go, who had DJ'd one night at a London pub where Roy worked. He discovered that he not only had a friend but also a well-connected one, as it was Go who introduced him to Scruffy's. Roy's well-honed people skills and love of music helped him to quickly establish Scruffy's as one of the hot spots on the pub scene. It also plugged him into the network of local musicians who play the circuit -- another area in which Roy was more than just a little practiced, having played in seven bands in the U.K.

No one who knows Roy was surprised when, two years later, he became manager of the Akasaka branch of Hobgoblin -- a company he was eager to learn from. Roy left Hobgoblin last year and, with the backing of his wife, started planning his own bar.