Stories at Sea is a series of interviews highlighting artisanal fishermen, fisheries, and suppliers who are furthering the seafood industry within Canada. We are here to tell their stories and to pass on their wisdom to the greater community.
Goshoku is a major Japanese seafood company, specializing in purchasing and distributing high quality seafood products directly from Toyosu Market in Japan. Goshoku and Coastline have partnered up to bring Vancouver the best Japanese products Toyosu Market has to offer. Products are purchased, packed, and shipped directly from auction, arriving at YVR restaurants within two days.
We sat down with Goshoku USA’s Imports and Exports Manager, Rian Lucas, to discuss his journey to Goshoku, the importance of bridging the cultural gap, and the future of seafood.
Hayley from Coastline: Ryan, where are you from?
Rian Lucas: Utah, USA.
What brought you to Goshoku?
I used to live in Japan and I wanted to work for a Japanese company. I also like food. When I found Goshoku, it seemed to be a good fit. I am able to use both my love for Japan and my love for food.
What does your day to day look like?
In the morning, I am often making calls with different US companies on the projects they are working on. I then put together documents for importing and exporting, working with import brokers. In the afternoon, I call our different offices in Japan (its their morning). A lot of my emails and calls are in Japanese, because I am the point of contact for all US business in Japan.
“I’ve learned a second language, so I’ve learned how to deal with one factor. But when you add a second language, then a generation gap, a culture gap, and a knowledge gap, all compounded at work, it’s difficult to figure out how to work around those factors. These characteristics make people who they are and you need to understand them to get things done in the right way.”
What’s been the most difficult thing to learn?
How to deal with different people when you compound different factors. I’ve learned a second language, so I’ve learned how to deal with one factor. But when you add a second language, then a generation gap, a culture gap, and a knowledge gap, all compounded at work, it’s difficult to figure out how to work around those factors. These characteristics make people who they are and you need to understand them to get things done in the right way.
Who was your role model growing up?
Definitely my dad. He works super hard and is always doing something. I don’t do the same things he does, but it’s the idea that he’s always doing something and being productive.
If you could pass any knowledge on to the next generation, what would it be?
When people say you should do something that you like for your profession, they say it for a reason. The trick is that it takes a while to figure out what you like. With that said, don’t be afraid to try out a lot of different things. Be comfortable knowing you can like something for a little, but you can try something else out as well. What you like in your career doesn’t have to stay the same.
What are you putting off right now?
Learning more. Dedicating more time to learn new things, whether pertinent to my job or not. Another language for example. I wish I put more time into learning new things, rather than just doing things to kill time and relax.
When are you happiest?
When I’m in my element, whether it’s one of my hobbies or something for work. I like being with people, doing things that I really like or care about. That could be in a restaurant with a chef, on the soccer field, or on the slopes snowboarding.
How can we ensure future generations can enjoy the same quality and diversity of fish that we enjoy today?
Diversity of wild fish is really hard to control. A push should be towards sustainable fish farms, something we are working with, in the places we can. Ocean or land based fish farms, that don’t have any waste and are processing the product in house, should be better represented in the market. Those are the steps we need to take to make sure future generations can have as many of the same species of fish that we have today.
What do you see as the future of seafood?
Connecting the consumer to the product and the supplier through information. Coastline is doing a good job of this, connecting fishermen and restaurants more direct than ever before. For international products, there are a lot of factors that come into play. That’s why different companies will still need to be there for support.
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