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Europeans are virtually flocking to Tokyo's sushi academy in a bid to master the traditional Japanese cuisine and become pioneers of the booming industry back in their home countries.
Let's find out what's motivating them to go to such lengths.
Matthias Weise, 26, isn't like other westerners walking the streets of Toyko on an Asian vacation. He spends his days studying hard, mastering a centuries old Japanese tradition-- the art of sushi making.
Weise, who is German, is now a student at the Tokyo Sushi Academy in Shinjuku, the heart of Tokyo.
Matthias Weise, trainee from Germany, said, "In the past a lot of Asians came to Europe to learn our way of doing things, for example how to bake bread. Now it's exactly the other way round. We go to Asia to learn their cuisine which is very fast, very fresh, and very good."
Seven out of the 13 trainees at the all-English course are from the UK, Italy, Belgium, Brazil and the Philippines where healthier Asian dishes like sushi are rapidly gaining popularity.
Despite having to dish out more than 10-thousand U.S. dollars for tuition on top of the high living cost in Tokyo, trainees believe the skills they learn will pay it all back with greater earning potential back home and a real sense of accomplishment.
Ferdinando Poucci, trainee from Italy, said, "Right now it's a booming business in Italy. Opening this type of restaurant in Italy now is a good business opportunity because it would be a pioneer in this field back home."
The history of sushi in Japan dates back two centuries when Tokyo residents took to eating fresh raw fish on rice on the go. So, what started out as fast food, now has taken on a more respectable and cultured reputation.
- Japanese cuisine is hot among Europeans 2010-08-27