Takumi Shiraishi is enlivening company.

In conversation, he throws in questions, some answers, quite a few anecdotes and the odd curveball, such as his idea to scrap private universities. It helps that he's been around the block; the day after graduating from high school in Kyoto he took off for London with nary a plan or a companion. Here in Japan, he's lived well off the beaten track at times, on islands to the extreme north and south of the country.

All this might help explain how Shiraishi became both publican and restaurateur, but his own reasoning is simpler, and more instinctive.