Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?
Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.
Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.
TGG: This is the first of (I hope) many interviews with Tokyo Legends. This is a place I went to when I first came to Tokyo, and Traci was and is an amazing community leader and connector. “The Pink Cow” is celebrating twenty years in business, and I wanted to celebrate that here. So, without further ado, could you introduce yourself and “The Pink Cow” to our readers?
TC: Thank you Hamish! I would be happy to! My name is Traci Consoli, a Cali girl in Tokyo and Pink Cow Restaurant & Art Bar creator & founder. I graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with degrees in fine arts and religious philosophy and have been in Tokyo ever since, although I am still trying to move to the beach! The Pink Cow Island Resort is the dream! We have just celebrated our 20 Year Anniversary so still dreaming big!
TGG: What was the original concept for the Pink Cow, and how has it evolved over the years? (i.e. did you intend for The Pink Cow to be a community center/hub for expats and internationally minded Japanese, or did it evolve that way organically?)
TC: I guess we should begin with why we started it in the first place to make sense of our journey through the last 20 years. In the beginning it was just me and my business partner, Naoya Teraoka. He was the bartender and I was the chef and that was it! lol. Neither one of us had restaurant or bar experience, at least not on that side of the bar! We are both artists who met in 1996 and collaborated on a studio and exhibitions together. I love to cook for people so we would cater our exhibitions and big parties for musicians, artists and performers I would host at my house. I was married to a Japanese guitar player so I had stayed in Japan but I missed California and just did not find a home for creative collaboration, think tank style mixed with party mania, like is so common in CA so I decided to make my own! Plus, there were no burritos that I could find in Tokyo and vegetarian options were very limited at the time (I am not a vegetarian myself but believe Everyone should have the option to eat great food!) so I decided to make that too! The theme kind of just became “Traci’s California living room”.
TGG: It’s at once funky and cool, but also cozy and homey. A wonderful place. What have been the highlights over the last twenty years?
TC: We started with art shows and music but over the years added every creative thing you can think of really! We combined, and were the first to do many, art shows, live music, dance performance, DJs, installation art, burlesque, Japanese Lounge night with culture, live body painting, vegan night, short film night… We were the first venue to introduce Bitcoins to Japanese retail, then the first place to put in a crypto ATM and we also host Bitcoincash. We even had Vitalik Buterin speak at the Cow along with many other amazing and cool people speakers, musicians and otherwise! We have had Medieval full armor fight demos, Martial Arts demos, Fire Dancing, professional Ninjas, Kimono dressing, Drunk poets night, magic shows, drag shows, comedy nights, Indian culture nights, Black History Month, PCC business networking, poker nights, tons of charity events…. etc…. And those are just the things we actually produced ourselves. We have also hosted a multitude of other types of events and parties for people! People have even gotten married at the Cow! Those are the happiest times! Like any community, it has evolved over the past 20 years, and some people have come and gone, others have been with us for the long haul, but our core values still remain the same. We are a restaurant & bar that serves great California-Mexican food on the business side and we always want to serve our community, especially our creative community, on our fun and happiness side
TGG: I myself have shown music videos and short films at the space, as well as going to the “Fruits in Suits” networking event, and Dr Sketchy’s Life Drawing Class, among many others. My time in Tokyo was greatly enriched by The Pink Cow. It can’t have been easy running a business like this. What obstacles have you had to overcome and how did you manage it?
TC: Well, the biggest obstacles, time and money, are still the same so I guess we can’t say we have overcome those yet! LOL. But, I don’t usually think of things in terms of obstacles so much as challenges to find an outside the box way of thinking about solutions. I mean, we literally had zero money to start with. It took me 3 years of knocking on doors to find someone who was willing to rent us a place with the first 3 months free! I am a huge believer in “if you can’t find a door, go in through the window!”
TGG: I feel like you know everyone in Tokyo. In your opinion, who have been the most interesting characters that have passed through the city?
TC: I love me some rockstars, lol, so partying with the band when friends come through town on tour is probably my favorite But the list of interesting characters is pretty endless. From the rockstars to our drag queens and burlesque dancers. We had a very cool Kabuki actor perform the lion dance. Amazing tech developers, business builders. Dr. Emoto the water crystal guy from the movie “What the Bleep” gave a talk. Performers of all kinds. I wish we had it all on tape!
TGG: Finally, how can we best support you during this time (covid19)?
TC: Thank you so much for asking Hamish! It is hugely appreciated! I am just finishing up our new website which will have lots of details and info on the various ways we serve our customers. We have quite a few options! Dine-in, take out, private parties, event catering, fresh frozen delivery anywhere in Japan, Uber Eats and high quality organic CBD delivery. Here are the site links but for inquiries people can always email us to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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