It's surprising just how far some fishy connections can get you.

In 2004, Yuji Haraguchi, originally from Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture, left his job as a salesman in Japan and headed across the Pacific to Boston to take up a position with True World Foods, one of the biggest fish distributors in the U.S. The sudden change in work turned out to be the first step toward a whole new vocation.

Like many fresh graduates, Haraguchi had quickly discovered that the first job he had landed — in this case selling complex multimillion dollar machine parts — was not something he wanted to spend his whole life doing. Perhaps that helped highlight what he did enjoy doing, though, as at the same time, he made another discovery: He was a foodie.