I have made my own way of working. 〈Soran Nomura - NOMURA SHOTEN〉

For Soran Nomura, who has created the way he works itself, work has become a part of his life and a part of himself.
  • Photograph:MOMOKA OMOTE

HERENESS has developed technologies for creating comfortable wear and knowledge of sustainability in production through the development of sportswear. Now, in order to apply this knowledge to a broader field, we have expanded our product category to include everyday wear. We believe that by doing so, we can make more people aware of sustainable production and responsible manufacturing in apparel, and lay the foundation for the value of sustainable production to become universal.

And the first of these products, the "UNDERCURRENT JACKET" and "UNDERCURRENT PANTS," were created with modern workwear in mind, taking into account post-Corona work styles. They assume a flexible work style that goes back and forth between formal and casual, inside and outside. Incidentally, the name was borrowed from the classic Jazz album "Undercurrent" by Bill Evans and Jim Fall. The reason is that I believe that working time is an important part of our daily lives. And I want that time to be as pleasant as the sounds spun in this album.

Mr. Soran Nomura, owner of NOMURA SHOTEN, a standing liquor store that opened at the same time as HERENESS' new base in the neighborhood of Motoasakusa, was asked to appear as a person who practices such a modern way of working.

I have been present at the bar's transformation.

Soran, who has worked as a brand ambassador, store producer, and director with his solid bartending skills, has now launched his own space, "NOMURA SHOTEN. We first asked him about his career path up to now.

I wanted to go to an art college to study, but I couldn't go after all. So when I decided to leave home, I decided to study abroad and went to London. It was around 2005, and the cost of living was so high that I had to start working right away. With my family's background in the restaurant business, I started working in a bar. I entered the world with no one I knew, and it wasn't until 2009 that I gained confidences and trust, and I felt comfortable, or rather, I felt like I could do it.

During the last two years of his seven-year stay in London, he was able to witness changes in the local bar culture. He says his position as an English-speaking Japanese bartender also helped him to expand his horizontal connections.

There had been upscale bars before, but now there were more casual bars," he says. Since I was in Europe, people from diverse backgrounds came in from the surrounding areas, and I was able to witness the emergence of a new movement. Then I went to New York and came back, and I felt that in Japan, cocktails remained a special thing. For us, it is too far away and unusual. I wanted to keep it as close as possible. When I was abroad, I always thought that there was always a good drink right there.

The position of bar manager at FUGULEN TOKYO, a Norwegian restaurant serving Scandinavian-style cocktails and coffee, was obtained shortly after returning to Japan, helping to fill this gap.

I had been to Denmark often, but I didn't know about the Norwegian and Scandinavian cocktail culture. I had been to Denmark often, but I didn't know about Norwegian and Scandinavian cocktail culture. They use herbs and other ingredients very well, even kelp. They use all kinds of food flavors and transform them into alcohol. He was good at combining not only Western liquors but also Japanese products such as shochu and sake.

I originally knew nothing about Japanese bartenders, so I tried my best to make horizontal connections by visiting as many places as possible. Thanks to that, I became a good base and got along well with everyone. I am 38 years old, and that is the generation with the largest number of bartenders. I made horizontal connections and got to know my juniors, and they in turn made juniors. I created a relationship where you can meet a lot of good bartenders right away.

Building Communities and New Ways of Working

This horizontal development will serve as the base for a new bar culture in Japan. Bartenders participated in bartender competitions and supported their peers. Bars such as "The SG Club," run by bartenders like Shingo Gokan who have competed in competitions, have sprung up. At the same time, the bartending scene was growing, with bartenders becoming well-known without having to participate in competitions. Soran also established a consulting business, and was involved in the establishment of No. in Yoyogi Uehara, GYRE in Omotesando, and Ao, a bar in Kabuto-cho's K5. He was also involved in the establishment of No. in Yoyogi Uehara, GYRE in Omotesando, and Ao, a bar in Kabuto-cho's K5. 「〈KYRO GIN〉というフィンランドのGINなんですけど、このアンバサダーを3年くらいやりました。ブランドの方がFUGLENに来てくれて、世界のバーテンダーのギャザリングの場があるからぜひ来てって呼ばれたんですよ。ラップランドという北極圏まで行って白夜の体験をしたり、チームでGINをブレンドしてブラインドテイスティングして美味しいねってなったものが製品化されるみたいな体験。それがすごく自分の中でもいいなぁとなって。

FUGLENを辞めるタイミングで、アンバサダーをお願いされました。啓蒙活動みたいな感じで人を呼んで試飲をやったり、イベントに行って〈KYRO GIN〉を使ってお酒を作ったり、ゲストシフトといって有名なバーに行って、〈KYRO GIN〉しか使わないようI was an ambassador for KYRO GIN, a Finnish gin, for about three years. The brand came to FUGLEN and invited me to come to a gathering of bartenders from around the world. We went to Lapland, the Arctic Circle, to experience the midnight sun, and we blended GINs as a team and blind tasted them, and the ones that tasted good were made into a product. It was a great experience for me.

When I left FUGLEN, I was asked to become an ambassador. I invited people to tastings, made drinks using "KYRO GIN" at events, and did guest shifts at famous bars where I used only "KYRO GIN". I did these activities for about three years.

At the time, no one else in Japan was doing ambassador work, and I was the first. I think it is fair to say that we also coined the term "freelance. For better or worse, the bars were well known, but the people were not. We thought we could do a kind of branding for that. No one else was doing it, so I thought it would be good to do it.

In this way, Soran created a "way of working" for himself. I don't want bartenders to end up at the bar. I don't want bartenders to end up at the bar; they know the aromas and flavors, so they can direct them. He has been able to embody what he can do outside of the bar.

A place where you can experience and buy

The pandemic occurred in the midst of such a positive trend. It was in this context that he launched his own place, "Nomura Shoten.

When I think about how many people will come back to bars in this with-corona world, there will be a difficult aspect. If that is the case, it would be better to create a place where people can experience it and also a place where they can buy it. In Japan, there are kaku-uchi (corner bar) style bars, and it would be interesting to have a beer bar or a wine bar as a stand-up bar. I thought it would be better to have a variety of things, so I decided to create a place where I could put the things I produced, and I started planning this project around the beginning of last year.

We asked Soran, who hopes to be involved in sake production and blending in the future, about "working.

Working is a part of my life. It is my own store, and making sake is not hard at all. I don't feel like I'm working.

Because Sorato has created his own way of working, work has become a part of his life and a part of himself. Establishing such a natural way of working may not be possible for everyone. However, everyone can make an effort to love working and make it a comfortable time. Sipping the sake infused with the comfort that Soran makes may make you want to rethink your own way of working.