-The cat sign in your restaurant is very impressive. How did you meet Sayaka Yamahashi, the artist who created it?
I know Sayaka’s brother. She is also a good friend of my sister. We have always had a brother-sister relationship. Sayaka was drawing a portrait of my sister. This was very good.
-Why did you ask Sayaka-san to help you open your store?
Before I opened the restaurant , I had already decided that I would ask Sayaka to help me open the restaurant . I knew that she was a good artist by nature, so I had no hesitation. I wanted to cherish my local ties and connections. It wasn’t that I was interested in paper cutouts, it was that I wanted to work with Sayaka.
-What did you actually order?
I told her that I wanted her to include a black cat. It’s a cat I had at the time. The name of the restaurant , “GATTA NERA,” means black cat in Italian. Sayaka came up with various ideas using the cat as a motif. She was also very quick to draw and submit them on the spot. There were cute cats, stylish cats, and even a cat coming out of the shape of a pair of boots since it was Italian cuisine. She listened to my ideas and finished them with paper cutouts.
-You also have a few of them displayed in the store.
When we first opened, some customers came to see Sayaka’s paper cutouts. Now, customers may not even realize that these pictures are cutouts. A boy who used to work part-time at our restaurant saw Sayaka’s paper cutouts and said, “I want to do that too! He taught himself how to cut pictures and became so skilled that he had his own exhibition. He left not with his cooking skills but with his paper cutting skills (laughs).