Full of enthusiasm and excitement, Tak Tokumine speaks fondly of the journey that brought him to the U.K. and ultimately led him to establish the Japan Centre and Shoryu Ramen chain, as well as help build Japan's presence in the UK.

Tokumine grew up in Hiroshima during the 1950s before moving to Fukuoka, the home of Hakata ramen — a tonkotsu (thick pork-broth) based dish — at the age of 12. He recalls the vibrant city of Hakata, and the colorful years he spent growing up there. At the age of 18, Tokumine moved to Tokyo to attend university, and through a friend whose father lived in Singapore, he began learning about life abroad. Singapore, a place he felt was thriving and offered many opportunities, also became the first country in Tokumine's path. After making the decision to move there, Tokumine delved head-first into studying Mandarin, a language he found quite easy to grasp because of its written similarities to Japanese.

He was taking his first steps toward a new life in Singapore when, as happens with many young romantics with a thirst for adventure, his plans changed. While studying Mandarin in Hong Kong, Tokumine fell in love with a British girl named Susan, and this love took him to the U.K. instead of Singapore. Susan hailed from Derbyshire and he visited her often, before eventually making the move over in 1975. "I was impressed with how forward and fun she was," Tokumine says about his wife of over 40 years.