Shinichi Mine of Tabieats has developed quite a following both for his articles and his YouTube videos. His articles often feature his travel experiences and those experiences nearly always feature food! He has a way of writing that make as you feel like you are right there, traveling along with him, and enjoying every minute.
Then he started cooking. No doubt he has cooked for a long time, but when he started featuring recipes with wonderful photographs in his articles, his followers grew in number as they gazed in fascination (another word for drooling) at many of his recipes.
We caught up to Shinichi between filming YouTube videos, his latest and perhaps biggest undertaking. His followers are rising quickly, and you will see why if you watch. He has a way of making his beautiful recipes looks possible for everyone to fix themselves. See for yourself below.
Thank you so much Shinichi for sharing with us today. Many of us here at Jaquo have followed your writing since the Squidoo days. It’s such a pleasure to see all you are accomplishing now.
First, can we have a little background about your cooking skills. I want to try nearly every recipe you publish. Is your love of cooking (and your skill) recent, or is it just that the recipes are now being published?
I really have no professional cooking background and it’s something I’ve always loved doing ever since I was a kid. I used to love watching my mother cook in the kitchen, even though she wasn’t much of a cook. So when I was 15, I started to cook for her instead and since then, I’ve always been the one in the kitchen. I love seeing how my dishes can make people smile and give them pleasure and it’s probably the main reason why I cook today.
Shinichi, you have moved to You Tube with much enthusiasm! Will you share with us how you got there? Why you decided to do videos?
When I was writing for Squidoo, we were able to add YouTube videos to complement our writing. It was around this time that I started to think of making my own videos. I just never did it because I thought it would be technically demanding until one day, my friend showed me how to make videos using my iPad and the built in iMovie app.
I was amazed at how easy it was to make videos. Such a big change from 20 years ago when only professionals could make them. But I was still quite uncomfortable in front of the camera.
I initially had plans to eventually write a cookbook but I got to thinking how book stores are closing up shop all around us. How many people would actually buy my book? Was it worth all the effort? I also knew that most of my younger friends hardly ever read any more and they were watching YouTube videos all the time. I started looking towards the future and decided that video was the way to go. I’d get my content out to a larger audience through video than with any cookbook. That’s what I thought.
Of course I still would like to publish a cookbook sometime in the future though. It’s just one of those dreams that won’t die.
One of my favorite articles was your food tour of Hawaii. It was so much fun to see the different foods you ordered while you visited the Islands. What made you start photographing food at restaurants?
I first started taking photos of food for my personal pleasure. There is nothing I like better than browsing through food porn! I can do that for hours on end it’s not even funny!
(Wander through Honolulu with Shinichi here. You can also taste the delightful dishes)
You are an artist of food photography. Where did you learn plating and the staging for the photography?
Aww thanks Merry. You are too kind and always have been. I’ve always been picky with food presentation ever since I was a kid. Seriously I used to annoy my mother because I’d critique her all the time. Most of the time, I’d take the food back to the kitchen so I could present it more beautifully. Yeah I was annoying that way.
This continues today where even at a buffet, I fuss over how beautiful my plate looks.
Oh, I also study through looking at other people’s photography and constantly reprimand myself for not doing better. It’s always a challenge though and I find myself still getting frustrated at my photography skills. Really Merry, my photography skills are not that great. You really are too kind.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to publish recipes?
Well firstly, make sure to take the best photograph possible of the finished product. It’s all about food porn isn’t it? No matter how good the recipe is, people can’t taste it so photography plays such an important role. Make sure to test the recipes and if possible, a short story adds to reading pleasure.
Do you have a favorite recipe of all of those you’ve created?
I love my Matcha Scones with Lemon Glaze. I had to tweak this recipe a half dozen times to get it right. I also love to give these as gifts to friends and they all love it. Definitely my favorite!
(Check out Shinichi’s Matcha Scones with Lemon Glaze here. You won’t want to miss them.)
Do you have a favorite travel destination so far for the foodie?
This is a tough one and I’m not sure if I can answer this. Hawaii, or should I say the island of Oahu is a top contender. I go crazy with the food there. New York also has an interesting food scene and I can’t wait to go back there. Paris does food very well but so does Tokyo. In fact, Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin stars than any other city in the world. No, I cannot answer this one properly. Sorry. Haha!
How often do you make videos now?
I make 6 videos every week. It’s crazy I know, but I love it!
You now have a schedule for each day, I understand. Can you share that here?
I do. Since we release 6 videos every week, a schedule is crucial for me. Our current schedule includes recipes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a travel video on Tuesdays, and random Saturdays for fun stuff. Every Thursday alternates between Ramen Hunt and a Food Review.
As for work flow, Tuesdays are recipe rehearsal where we run through the three recipes we’re using that week. Wednesdays we film all three recipes. Thursdays we go out to shoot our travel and food review/ramen reviews. Friday and Saturdays are for editing. Sundays are for uploading, writing descriptions, marketing, blogging, etc. Mondays are supposed to be days off, but we haven’t had one since we started. We run into so many problems or additional projects we have to do that we might need to cut down to 5 videos instead. But for the moment, it’s 6 videos.
One day centers on ramen. How did you decide to dedicate a day each week to that?
When we were on our videos, we realized the need to add trending things so people would find our channel. Ramen seemed to be very popular in and outside of Japan so we decided to do that. It’s also easy for us because we love ramen to begin with.
How did you decide the focus for the rest of the week’s schedule?
Well, I knew I wanted to do recipe videos. But I also wanted to do travel because for me, they go hand in hand. I literally travel to eat! I already knew from the start that it would be a challenge to do travel videos every week, but so far, it’s fine and not that difficult to do. Food reviews were something we decided to do because of three reasons. They gave us a break from the more difficult recipe and travel videos, they were fun to do and people simply love those kind of videos on YouTube.
Finally, the random Saturdays were a way for our viewers to get to know us and also a day gave us a day of freedom to do what we wanted to do. But they are always food or travel related. This is also the day we make announcements like giveaways for example.
Thanks again Shinichi. It looks like you are having a great time with your new endeavor. We’ll be seeing you again soon.
You can catch up with Shinichi at the sites below. I’d suggest you subscribe to both his blog and his YouTube channel. Wonderful treats await you there.
May 31, 2015
Great article and interview Merry! And congratulations to Shinichi on all your success! It’s well deserved!
May 31, 2015
Great interview of the great Shinichi Mine! I so enjoy his food presentations as well as his travels. Shinichi… I would buy your cookbook, so publish it, please!
May 31, 2015
Awesome interview, Merry! Shinichi, you’ve always been one of my favorites, impressing me with your writing from the first time I met you on Squidoo. Then came the awesome recipes, beautiful photography (you’re far too humble on that topic!), travel, and, for dessert, the videos which just knock my socks off every time! I’m so proud of you, the good work you’re doing, and the work ethic that is obvious and such a good example for all of us who aspire to be bloggers and writers. Love that you talked about your work schedule here.
Keep on inspiring others!
My best to you always,
May 31, 2015
Thank you Susan, and I completely agree with all you have said about Shinichi! You played a part in his rise too. We appreciate you.