Synopsis: Anthony Bourdain joins Masayoshi “Masa” Takayama as he revisits his roots, exploring the urban center of Kanazawa, Takayama’s rural hometown of Nasushiobara, and the sushi restaurant in Tokyo where he began to learn his craft.

On Masa Takayama’s long and distinguished career:

“To call him America’s most respected sushi chef would be an injustice, as he is more than that—much more.”

“They say you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy. I don’t know if that’s true—we all come from someplace, that’s for sure—but New York City in Masa Takayama’s case seems far, far away from the little town he grew up in.”

On Japan’s bullet train:

“It used to be a five-hour trip from Tokyo, now reduced to two by the Shinkansen bullet train. Why don’t we have these in America, by the way? Ask your congressman.”

On the martial arts tradition of kendo:

“School in Japan is different. They didn’t give up on physical education as we seem to have. The thousand-year-old martial art of kendo, or ‘the way of the sword,’ is still widely taught. Boys and girls alike compete with bamboo swords—sensible stand-ins for actual samurai swords, but the same thing, man.”

On the curative powers of an onsen bath and a friendly bonfire:

“The Japanese often bear a heavy burden of responsibilities: societal expectations, family obligations, tradition, work. But when they relax, they really do it well. They are better at it than anybody.”

“Get together with some friends and cook some alfresco mountain-style sukiyaki, b****es.”

Guests weigh in:

Masa Takayama: “Umami is essence, strong essence—much bigger than the universe.”

Ishi (Takayama’s mother): “He seems to work harder [at home] than at work.”

Bourdain [to Kazuo, Takayama’s brother]: “So back in the days of the family catering business, when he looked at his younger brother, did he think, This guy’s gonna make something of himself?

Kazuo Takayama: “Not particularly.”