Mamoru Ijima doesn’t snowboard as much as when he was younger.
Now 40, the Squamish man is busy raising two children with his wife.
Ijima also devotes much of his time to running his food trailer, Teriyaki Boys, which specializes in Japanese street food.
This weekend, Teriyaki Boys is coming to Vancouver as one of 20 food vendors at the Powell Street Festival.
The festival, which takes place July 30 and 31 in and around Oppenheimer Park, celebrates Japanese-Canadian culture.
As in previous years, Ijima expects to sell a lot of teriyaki rice bowls as well as grilled calamari.
“Grilled squid is a very popular street food in Japan,” Ijima told the Right in a telephone interview.
He added that Teriyaki Boys does not usually have grilled calamari on its menu, but it is prepared for certain occasions like the Powell Street Festival.
Ijima prepares its own recipe for teriyaki sauce, a sweet and savory flavoring for meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Teriyaki traditionally uses soy sauce, sugar and mirin rice wine.
Ijima, originally from Fukuoka on the Japanese island of Kyushu, came to Canada in 2003 to snowboard in British Columbia’s famous resort, Whistler.
“I saw a lot of beautiful mountains and the people are so nice, and I decided to come back on a work visa,” Ijima said.
He returned to Whistler in 2004, got a job at the Japanese restaurant Teppan Village and met his future wife, also Japanese and from Hokkaido, at the same establishment.
Fukuoka is known for its street food and Ijima used to work at a barbecue there.
“I wanted to bring Japanese street food to Canada,” Ijima said of why he and friend Yu Sasaki, a professional skier, decided to start Teriyaki Boys in 2014.
Sasaki eventually settled in Revelstoke and asked his buddy Ijima to become the sole owner of the Teriyaki Boys. He currently co-owns the Twilight Bite food truck in Revelstoke, which Ijima says is very successful.
Michael Ouchi is the Powell Street Festival’s longtime food stand coordinator.
“Food is one of the main reasons people come to the festival,” Ouchi told the Right in a telephone interview.
He explained that food vendors are grouped into three types: community associations, independent businesses and food trucks like the Teriyaki Boys.
“Our community associations have been with us in the festival since the first year, so they will always have a special place in my heart,” Ouchi said.
“I know for many of them they use their food stalls as their main fundraising activity, so I encourage everyone to support them,” he added.
As an example, Ouchi cited Vancouver’s Konko Church, which sells a Japanese dessert called imagawayaki, a stuffed pancake.
He also mentioned the Vancouver Buddhist Temple, famous for its curry rice bowl.
Other community associations are the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, Tonari Gumi (Japanese Community Volunteers Association), Tenrikyo Yonomotokai, and the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association.
In addition to freshly prepared dishes, the festival also features a selection of seasonings from condiment maker Van Koji Foods.
There is also tea from Tea Lani and Matcha Bar from Ichiyo.
Vegans can enjoy Vegan Pudding & Co.’s Vegan Ice Cream, featuring selections of Mango Vanilla, Espresso Chocolate Chip, and Salted Caramel.
Ouchi said the festival offered a good cross section of Japan’s food offerings, proof of which is in the queues of all the vendors.
For more details on the Powell Street Festival, see here.