Pursuing the Path of Ramen


This week, Tyler and Jordan interview the owner of the best ramen shop in Massachusetts, Jake Vo of Yume Wo Katare. Given that Yume Wo Katare roughly translates to "Share Your Dreams," it only made sense that in the episode, we would talk about the reality of the process of pursuing the path of following one's dream.

Yume Wo Katare's Social Media Accounts:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/YumeWoKatare/
Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/yume_wo_katare/


Jordan Ugalde: Welcome to the Path of Passion Podcast, the podcast where we interview people who are living lives that they love, that they're passionate about. I am your handsome host Jordan, and this is my convivial co host.

Tyler T Hamer: Hey I'm the less attractive co host Tyler.

Jordan Ugalde: And today, we are have Jake joining us. Now, Jake runs the ramen factory, the ramen workshop, the dream workshop, Yume Wo Katare.

Jordan Ugalde: Y U M E W O K A T A R E and it is, if I might say so myself, the best ramen shop, if not in greater Boston and then at least the entire United States. I think so. With ghat being said, Jake how did you get into the ramen world.

Jake Vo: Ah, it chose me.

Tyler T Hamer: Best answer possible.

Tyler T Hamer: So guys, we're done here with the interview, like, let's wrap it up.

Jake Vo: Yes, it's literally chose me.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah.

Jake Vo: I.

Jake Vo: I am not interested in cooking ramen.

Jordan Ugalde: How did you go from not interested in talking ramen to coaching so much ramen.

Jake Vo: um it's a good question, I think...

Jake Vo: So um,

Jake Vo: so, so, Tsuyoshi Nishioka he opened up Yume Wo Katare.

Jake Vo: And on the side out said, on the sign outside of says, Yume Wo Katare until 2013.

Jake Vo: And that was...

Jake Vo: created by him and he said that every dream has an end date so by 2030,

Jake Vo: he hopes to accomplish his biggest picture and what he wants and

Jake Vo: I can go into that a little bit later. What that meant. However, for me, I was like well that wasn't my dream initially what, what do I do what should I accomplished by 2030.

Jake Vo: So for me, what I want to accomplish by 2030 is that in the duration of human being opened from now to 2030,

Jake Vo: my dream is just to cook

Jake Vo: good ramen.

Jake Vo: So when you come to Yume Wo Katare you're

Jake Vo: not

Jake Vo: eating or experiencing the end result, you're paying $15 of, for me to figure out how to be cooking ramen. That's what you're experiencing, it's me working on a dream.

Jake Vo: And that's simply as the cook good ramen and it's gonna take me from now til, I think, 2030 to accomplish.

Tyler T Hamer: So I mean like I already think Yume is the best ramen like, I mean. it is objectively the best one I've ever had so I just I'm curious what improvements are there, like, I mean from, like, a very naive perspective, like myself.

Jake Vo: Um so that's the funny thing about this ramen so like we serve like one dish only right?

Jake Vo: And

Jake Vo: for you, as the customer to continue to like this one dish,

Jake Vo: I think the number one rule for anybody is consistency right? Like, you know, one of my favorite meals in the world and will forever be my favorite meal in the world is a Big Mac with some Fries.

Tyler T Hamer: I mean it's the secret sauce right? Like..

Jake Vo: Like a McDonald's Big Mac and McDonald's fries I love it and I don't eat it often I eat once a year.

Jake Vo: But it's like one of my favorite meals in the world.

Jake Vo: And I know that every single time I go to McDonald's it's gonna be that consistent tastes, no matter what.

Jake Vo: So,

Jake Vo: for me, for you guys as the customers to have that consistent taste on the back end of it, I need to like improve

Jake Vo: the rest, like improve the ramen every single day, because if I don't improve the ramen you will you as the customer will feel like it's has gone lower in quality, does that make sense?

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah yeah, I think it's the I mean it's the idea that, like if you're not striving for your best if you're just striving to be the exact same, you know, if you have a hiccup you're going to fall below versus just fall down to that norm.

Jake Vo: Yeah, so,

Jake Vo: I'm like I'm not like a chef like I don't like in my spare time I do not cook. I don't cook anything. So like I'm not like I was never like culinary really trained or I've never worked in a restaurant before. I've never done any of these things before.

Jake Vo: And I started only doing these things in the last six years.

Jake Vo: But prior to that I was a analyst, I graduated Business School, and I was just signed a cubicle for eight hours a day, and I couldn't do that anymore.

Jake Vo: And Yume was the first restaurant that ever worked in.

Jake Vo: I mean, I worked at like Subway when I was 16 that wasn't really a restaurant y'know.

Jake Vo: And yeah Yume was like the first restaurant ever worked at and

Jake Vo: to me, because I worked under Tsuyoshi and he is Japanese,

Jake Vo: I've basically been trained under Japanese discipline as my first restaurant experience.

Jake Vo: And that is extremely rare in America.

Jake Vo: So when I talked to other chef friends and people that are in the industry, the restaurant industry, the things they said, I have no idea what they're talking about.

Jake Vo: You know what I mean?

Jake Vo: Yeah like there's just like like all this like chef talk all this stuff I have no idea even. Like, like,

Jake Vo: it was only like last year I learned what front of house and back of house meant.

Jordan Ugalde: Really? Okay, okay, and for the listeners who aren't familiar, could you just clarify what front and back of house are.

Jake Vo: Like front of house is all the people like, like it sounds, like the front of house, taking care of the customers, you know the host,

Jake Vo: the waitresses, the bartenders, and all that stuff. Back of the house, the kitchen staff, the dishwashers, and, you know they, they never go to the front of the house, they're always back of house right? And at Yume, there is no front or back of the house it's.

Jordan Ugalde: Literally one house.

Jake Vo: One house.

Jake Vo: And it's like you know even me saying that right now it's like it, it makes me just also realize every time you as a customer walk into the door what you're experiencing as a performance, you know every night right? Like I'm,

Jake Vo: So this is why I say I'm not a chef when I first came to Yume, what fascinated me the most was

Jake Vo: the dream concept.

Jake Vo: And I wanted to be the best host possible, I wanted to learn how to be a better public speaker, I wanted to learn how to articulate well, and learn how to...

Jake Vo: Like, I'm so fascinated by storytelling.

Jake Vo: That, I just, I'm so envious of storytelling and people that can tell good stories and that's something I'm really bad at so I'm like working on that.

Jake Vo: And when I was a host at Yume Wo Katare, I was really good at it after a while, because I wanted it so badly, and you know,

Jake Vo: the first year that I was the host of Yume Wo Katare because when you're the host of Yume Wo Katare, you're considered the face of Yume. Not the chef, the host.

Jake Vo: The chef doesn't really matter it's like, the host. And

Jake Vo: the host is like the first person, you see the first person you meet, and the first year I was the host we collected like did 20,000 dreams, so we started collecting the number of dreams.

Jake Vo: And then the second year I was host our goal was 40,000, cuz we're like okay 20,000 so easy let's double that. 40,000 was hard.

Jake Vo: Right?

Jordan Ugalde: Did you hit it?

Jake Vo: Yeah we hit it.

Jake Vo: We had like 41 or 42,000.

Jake Vo: But it was so hard, like we had to think of strategies on strategies on strategies of how to hit 41,000. I remember like,

Jake Vo: I remember, let's see. What did we do?

Jake Vo: For example,

Jake Vo: we would say like,

Jake Vo: if you share 10 dreams, we will give you a free bowl of ramen.

Jake Vo: Right so like, like near the end of like the 41, like the for the 39th, we were like so desperate for dreams that you know, we asked the first six customers to share

Jake Vo: you know, 10 dreams and would we offer them to the free bowl of ramen right? But then there was the precedent that everyone shares 10 dreams so for the rest of the night everyone just naturally shared 10 dreams, you know?

Jake Vo: But that's that's a strategy that we use to get dreams.

Jake Vo: Like we're not, like you know, like when you go to a restaurant, like the host comes over and they're just like oh like would you like another drink and stuff, like that, it's the strategy, they use to, you know,

Jake Vo: increase your bill.

Jake Vo: At Yume, we're not we're looking to increase the dreams, you know what I mean?

Tyler T Hamer: Just to interject a bit, like, so people who haven't been to Yume, Jake could you go into, describe like what is "sharing your dream." Like that experience for people who have been to Yume.

Jordan Ugalde: For people who have not.

Jake Vo: Okay, wow, I haven't done this concept speech in a while, because of COVID.

Jake Vo: It's, I'm still getting back into it, you know? Because we recently opened again for dine in.

Jake Vo: Um.

Jake Vo: So at Yume Wo Katare, it's not a ramen shop, it's a dream shop. And what we do there is, we serve the customers a lot of food.

Jake Vo: But not too much, just enough that it's challenging for the customer.

Jake Vo: And the concept that is, if you can finish this bowl of ramen, you can finish any dream that you have in mind, so, while eating we ask customers to think about a dream that they really want to accomplish.

Jake Vo: Just think about it, and then as they're trying to finish this bowl, use that dream as, you know, your motivator

Jake Vo: to accomplish that dream. and there's this feeling that you get inside, you know, and we want customers, remember that feeling, that good, good feeling of accomplishing something, and it gets associated with that dream.

Jake Vo: And

Jake Vo: because its associated, at the end of the mea,l when you're, done we just simply ask customers, "hey would you like to share what you've been thinking about?" And you know customers will either share or not share and that's like the concept of sharing the teams at Yume. And...

Jake Vo: yeah.

Jake Vo: I'm getting all excited thinking about it because I haven't done this for like a year and a half.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah honestly I've missed it. Like that, Yume has such a distinctive community and culture that does not exist at any other dining establishment and I, I love it for that. Like it, it very much feels like

Jordan Ugalde: a community of, a community of complete strangers when you walk in where everyone cheers you on for you saying what your dream is. It's, I, I really love what it presents. I mean I also love the food, the food is amazing, but the culture is...

Jordan Ugalde: very unique in the best way possible and I'm actually really excited that you guys are open for in indoor seating now because I'm looking forward to going back to there.

Jake Vo: Please, I'm always waiting.

Tyler T Hamer: Because like, so like, Jake, I actually happen to live like a block from Yume and I happen to walk by and saw you guys had seating like yesterday, I think it was, is, is it officially now sit down with the, have the COVID restrictions that lifted enough or...

Jake Vo: I've,

Jake Vo: I've opened since June 1.

Tyler T Hamer: No but I mean, I mean like sitting

Tyler T Hamer: in. Oh oh actually June 1 sitting in the restaurant?

Jake Vo: Yeah.

Tyler T Hamer: Well.

Jake Vo: I actually, I actually haven't made any public announcements on it.

Jake Vo: The reason why is because

Jake Vo: I wanted to ease back into dine in

Jake Vo: and I know how sensitive

Jake Vo: COVID has been on for people.

Jake Vo: So when I opened again for dine in I didn't want to just announce it, have a bunch of people come, and lose the hospitality, lose the service, lose the quality. So I didn't, I made it, I just didn't announce it and I just kind of let you know word of mouth do its thing.

Jake Vo: Just so that we can figure out a good system so everybody feels safe, everyone feels comfortable, everyone's relaxed and it's not tense. Because you know. And surprisingly, people are really comfortable with sitting next to each other.

HERE 15:14

Jake Vo: Yeah, like really comfortable, like, like you know arms and arms, I was like wow, I did not realize how comfortable people have gotten. And you know, things are really looking really good.

Tyler T Hamer: I definitely, like, alluding to what Jordan said about Yume being like a very unique experience I think um yeah it's it's one thing to miss restaurants, but

Tyler T Hamer: with COVID it's another thing to miss a community. And like, I think people are just really wanting to jump right back into it, because it's been so long. It's really hard,

Tyler T Hamer: you know? It's, it's one thing, obviously, you know it's, it was scary, especially when you when you weren't vaccinated that um the medical issues that could arise for COVID

Tyler T Hamer: and the risks. But it's also the mental toll and not being around a community I can kind of understand why people just want to jump right back into it.

Jake Vo: You know,

Jake Vo: it's interesting because, like,

Jake Vo: when you say mental toll, not being in a community that's kind of like what I experienced a little bit because I didn't get to work with so many people.

Jake Vo: You know I...

Jake Vo: yeah last year has been tough.

Jake Vo: I, you know you, cuz I like,

Jake Vo: it's like,

Jake Vo: I, so I went from working with multiple different people every week to two people,

Jake Vo: because I was trying to keep a very small circle of people so that none of us get sick and it was reliable. Because for me,

Jake Vo: I have too much I have too much risk.

Jake Vo: You know? And what I mean by that is that if I get sick like the restaurant needs to close.

Tyler T Hamer: Right.

Jake Vo: Yeah, yeah, because the amount of like the amount of dedication that I've put into making this bowl of ramen,

Jake Vo: I can't ask for that dedication of anyone really.

Jake Vo: Um because that dedication just goes for me, I think, goes beyond,

Jake Vo: beyond what

Jake Vo: you know, you can,

Jake Vo: you can ask of someone.

Jake Vo: I'm and, you know the funny thing that my, one of my employees said to me, he's like, why don't you just hire like a, like a sous chef I think they're called sous chef? Something like that? I just learned these words recently.

Jake Vo: And,

Jake Vo: and I think it's like Yume Wo Katare, we don't hire chefs, a chef is chosen.

Jake Vo: You know, like you need to work and dedicate yourself to this craft, to be able to produce this product.

Jake Vo: And I think you know this, this podcast is about my path of passion right?

Jake Vo: So I'm kind of like switching gears a little bit.

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah sure.

Jake Vo: And you know, I was thinking about how

Jake Vo: I spent four... so the soup takes about 14 hours to cook.

Jake Vo: Right? Okay, so, because the soup takes 14 hours to cook,

Jake Vo: so when I say, "Hey the soup takes 14 hours or so to cook"

Jake Vo: let me switch the perspective for you.

Jake Vo: I work 14 hours a day.

Jake Vo: Right? So, you know,

Jake Vo: and

Jake Vo: when I realized like that's the biggest thing, what, what tasks takes the longest in your profession?

Jake Vo: Cooking soup. It takes 14 hours. So what can I accomplish in 14 hours you know?

Jake Vo: So, then, I fill up my time with what is, what does equate to quality? You make your own noodles.

Jake Vo: Right? You make your noodles you make your own soup. You, you do everything. And I think for quality purposes, if you have somebody that does everything

Jake Vo: then the quality will always be the best it can be.

Jake Vo: And I've over the years, let other people make like noodles and other stuff like that, and I see a drop in quality.

Jake Vo: But I want them to improve. I want them to improve. So we have we always have drops in quality,

Jake Vo: but then it always goes back to, hey like,

Jake Vo: I, when I do everything by myself,

Jake Vo: that's where I know the quality, will be the highest possible quality.

Jake Vo: I hope I, I want to let you guys talk, because I...

Jordan Ugalde: Actually, on those points exactly. How do you thread that needle of like, you know, you know the product best, you know that you can make the most quality ramen.

Jordan Ugalde: But at the same time you want, if I understand, you want other people to have the opportunity to learn and grow better themselves. How do you balance between growth opportunities for others and making sure you deliver the best product possible?

Jake Vo: You know how I mentioned earlier, I can't ask anyone to do what I do?

Jordan Ugalde: Yep.

Jake Vo: I feel like because,

Jake Vo: to like really break it down,

Jake Vo: I woke up one day and decided that I really wanted to do this.

Jake Vo: On that day, I stopped playing Call of Duty.

Jake Vo: Um yeah on that day, I stopped playing Call of Duty, one of my favorite games in the world.

Jake Vo: On that day, I stopped watching TV shows.

Jake Vo: On that day, I stopped going out Fridays and Saturday nights. On that day, I stopped

Jake Vo: doing things that provided me no value.

Jake Vo: I stopped hanging out with friends that were not going anywhere in life

Jake Vo: and other than, other than company is all they provided. That was the only thing that they provided. I started focusing on making friends that were

Jake Vo: better than me or friends that were, just provided me with some kind of value. Teaching me something you know?

Jake Vo: That was a day like,

Jake Vo: when I decided, I wanted to do this,

Jake Vo: you just really like, I know that I will never have children.

Jake Vo: I don't want children, because what I want to accomplish, I will not have

Jake Vo: the capability of being a good father, but also doing what I do best of my capability.

Jake Vo: Impossible.

Jake Vo: Literally impossible. And

Jake Vo: I feel like,

Jake Vo: when I accepted that was when I a lot of things unlocked for me in terms of doing, and doing what I do.

Jake Vo: So, when you say like, how do you thread the needle the needle?

Jake Vo: You sacrifice so much. Like you literally sacrifice so much of the things that you used to do so that you can be great at something.

Jake Vo: Like I don't like,

Jake Vo: like when I die, I want to be great at something. I want to be like, I want to build a legacy right? And to accomplish that I need to like focus all my energy on this product right? So,

Jake Vo: that's like how you, I became like a minimalist, where I don't really need a lot of things in my life. Like I

Jake Vo: really follows Zuckerberg example of clothing. Like, I have the same pair of shorts in the same shirt. When I wake up, I don't have to think about what I need to wear. The first thing I think about it has, how do I make good noodles today.

Jake Vo: Right? Not like spending hours or even,

Jake Vo: to me, because my days so busy doing what I love, five minutes is, I can accomplish a lot in five minutes right? I'm,

Jake Vo: likem

Jake Vo: like do you guys follow us on Instagram?

Tyler T Hamer: Yep I, I do yes.

Tyler T Hamer: I don't think Jordan has an Instagram, unfortunately.

Jake Vo: So a lot of my like Instagram stories uh is developed in five minutes.

Jake Vo: Because I have like. so, I decided that after I wake up and then I do my morning routine I have five minutes to accomplish

Jake Vo: an IG story. If I can't do anything in those five minutes, it's not worth my time. I need to move on and not like dilly dally for the rest of the day, trying to figure out, so once I get that Instagram by idea, I have one hour to produce it.

Jake Vo: And then post it and that's that's that. So,

Jake Vo: when I have five minutes, in like, my line of work, it produces like better results so like if I want to make really good noodles, if I wake up and I have to decide what clothes to wear and I lose five minutes, I lose five minutes of developing how to make good noodles that morning.

Jake Vo: You know? And just removing all these like decisions out of my life that can make like what I'm going to eat tonight or stuff like that,

Jake Vo: I just eat one thing a day, ramen.

Tyler T Hamer: It makes sense it's like,

Tyler T Hamer: it's the best ramen, and possibly arguably one of the, I think it might be the best food in Boston yeah.

Jake Vo: Thank you, but I don't think it's the best.

Jake Vo: You know I'm still striving for that,

Jake Vo: for it to be better.

Jake Vo: And I always ask customers like what could be better, what could be better about it, but I need to know yeah.

Jordan Ugalde: So all these things you're saying, you seem to be very invested in and passionate about ramen, but earlier, you said you're not that excited about making ramen, like you're not really in it for making ramen. What, how do those two things

Jordan Ugalde: coincide, how does how does that all work together?

Jake Vo: Because I don't feel like okay,

Jake Vo: this is a really good question.

Jake Vo: So in Japan right? They don't consider this type of ramen, ramen at all.

Tyler T Hamer: What do they consider it then?

Jordan Ugalde: Isn't this Jiro style ramen.

Jake Vo: Yeah but it's not traditional ramen. So,

Jake Vo: you know, for example, like uh

Jake Vo: let's, let's, let's, let's think about it.

Jake Vo: Have you ever been to Chinatown and you go to one of those like eateries that have like,

Jake Vo: it's like a noodle soup and it's like yellow noodles and it comes with like, you know, bbq pork, red pork and bok choy and all that?

Jake Vo: Why isn't that considered ramen noodles?

Tyler T Hamer: I just assumed the thickness. Isn't it, it's more like in a curry sauce than a soup I don't know.

Jordan Ugalde: But there's curry ramen.

Jake Vo: Right, it's not considered ramen.

Jake Vo: So, like it's considered just noodle soup.

Jake Vo: But it's yellow noodles, it's thin noodles, you get like chicken broth, you have all the elements of ramen there, why isn't it ramen, right?

Jake Vo: You know, I don't know that. I don't know the question, I don't know the answer to that. But same thing with,the same thing with this

Jake Vo: Jiro style ramen, it's really not, it was for a while not considered ramen in Japan.

Jake Vo: It was later on, that it was considered ramen.

Jake Vo: And for me,

Jake Vo: that's the same thing. I never liked ramen growing up. I'll dabble, I've eaten it, I'm like "Oh ramen, nice and cool." When I ate Yume Wo Katare for the first time it was like "Whoa, what is this?"

Jake Vo: What is this? I don't know what this is, but I love it. I love it so much I can eat every single day for the past six years. I literally eat this bowl of ramen every single day.

Jake Vo: And,

Jake Vo: and you know, like it's so when I'm cooking it,

Jake Vo: and learning about it and stuff like that,

Jake Vo: I'm not making ramen. I'm making some new dish that the world thinks is wrong.

Jake Vo: And like I'm not interested in, like, all these other ramens, but because it's considered ramen I do my research. Like okay,

Jake Vo: you know I don't cook shio ramen, I don't shoyu ramen, I don't cook miso ramen, I don't cook all these things right?

Jake Vo: Because I'm not interested in cooking ramen.

Jake Vo: You know, we have these ramen chefs that will cook like,

Jake Vo: you know, two to three or four different types of ramen and they're about cooking really good and ramen stuff like that. You have the egg and have the nori sheets and

Jake Vo: you know this is traditional ramen and there's like, kind of like, all this like, nuances in the in the broth, and all these complexities, and things like that. And that's what I think ramen is. Something really refined. And for Yume Wo Katare, this noodle dish is just something that just, you

Jake Vo: just want to eat and feel like this is something that's like very homey, very like,

Jake Vo: it's like a home like a really hearty home cooked meal.

Jake Vo: Right? Is that how you guys feel when you eat it?

Tyler T Hamer: I mean, I feel I have like two different opinions on it, one is I definitely feel very, like it does feel very at home cooked, like

Tyler T Hamer: being Irish I can compare it to like shepherd's pie, or like Guiness stew. It's very warm and filling. But at the same time, like Jordan and I are both like big fans of Gordon Ramsay,

Tyler T Hamer: and there is this, like in modern cooking there's this idea of simplicity, going back to less ingredients is more, and when I see Yume,

Tyler T Hamer: I tend to think it's more refined because there's less conflicting flavors. There's more focus on making that broth as good as you can make it.

Tyler T Hamer: Making the noodles as good as you can have it. Instead of having like 13 different ingredients that may or may not go with each other. So I think there's this beauty in the simplicity of it.

Jordan Ugalde: And, actually, to follow up on that, I love that the in-person menu of Yume is ramen with pork or ramen with more pork. You know exactly what you're going to get and it's amazing. And.

Jordan Ugalde: and honestly that's, that's all you need to know, because it, that is, pork dense but it's so delicious. And like it's pork, it's garlic, its goodness, and the noodles just soak it in great without losing their texture.

Jordan Ugalde: It,

Jordan Ugalde: you're right in saying that it's not delicate like a lot of other ramens but, for me, that is to its strength because it

Jordan Ugalde: is, to me, it's like yo, Jiro ramen is taking a stand. Like we are pork incarnate. We are like this is just filling warm goodness and it's, it feels so unabashed and I, I just love that strong headedness of the dish. It, it feels very

Jordan Ugalde: fun, like it feels like an experience.

Jake Vo: yeah.

Tyler T Hamer: I mean it makes me want to share my dream right? Like it's it's hardy, it's a lot, and even if I don't finish the bowl I went on a journey and that mattered.

Jake Vo: You know that's really funny you say that you went on a journey, because in Japan, when they serve the bowl

Jake Vo: and they say

Jake Vo: oh, my God I'm blanking on what they say something, and say

Jake Vo: itterasshai,

Jake Vo:and I asked somebody what does that mean? And

Jake Vo: he told me that

Jake Vo: when you say itterasshai, it means to go and come back.

Jake Vo: And basically like, when you're eating a bowl of ramen, you're going on a journey.

Jake Vo: And after you accomplish this journey, please come back.

Jake Vo: So that's like the loose translation of it, you know I mean? So when, you know, they don't say enjoy they say itterasshai, you know, please go and come back.

Jake Vo: So when you're eating this bowl of ramen you know you're going on a journey and then, when you share your dream, it's like you just came back to me the chef. That makes sense?

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah no I definitely I mean, I completely agree with that sentiment yeah.

Jake Vo:You know.

Jordan Ugalde: So, speaking of your dream.

Jordan Ugalde: So you, you mentioned like overnight going from like playing CoD having,

Jordan Ugalde: like, time on the weekends, and having relationships where it was more just like

Jordan Ugalde: companionship versus like growth and working towards your overall dream.

Jordan Ugalde: What,

Jordan Ugalde: what was that transition process like? Because I, I feel like,

Jordan Ugalde: that

Jordan Ugalde: the ability, not necessarily the ability, but the, being in the mindset of being like this, this is what I wanna pursue. I feel like that is an ideal for some, but they don't necessarily know the path to get there, like they don't know,

Jordan Ugalde: they, they've seen what it's like to be there, but for you, what was it like to get there?

Tyler T Hamer: The hard hitting questions Jordan.

Jake Vo: It was,

Jake Vo: probably so,

Jake Vo: long time ago, somebody asked me this question, "What is the hardest thing you ever did?"

Jake Vo: And I really couldn't really answer that question, "What was the hardest thing I ever did?" And I was like thinking to myself,

Jake Vo: the hardest thing I ever did was I kayaked this like extremely like,

Jake Vo: live wavy river or something like that.

Jake Vo: And you have to kayak and it's like very dangerous but that's the hardest thing I ever did. And

Jake Vo: then, at one point in my life, I'm like really? Like, that's the hardest thing you ever did? And then I was just and then like,

Jake Vo: and then I asked myself like that question again. Like what's the hardest thing I ever did? And I was like that's not that hard, you're just like kayaking. Okay, I thought okay what else did I do, that was really hard.

Jake Vo: I got up to like 50 pushups and then I, y'know, when I set these things to myself, I was like that's not really anything like you know? I graduated college like that was fine. So then

Jake Vo: literally doing what I do now is the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

Jake Vo: And because it's the hardest thing I ever did in my life like,

Jake Vo: when you're in like this state of like, you know, like a

Jake Vo: man I don't even know how to explain it.

Jake Vo: It's like you know, like when you're driving and you're playing music.

Jake Vo: And you get lost right?

Jake Vo: And when you get lost, the first thing you do is turn down the music right?

Jake Vo: Yeah yeah you like you gotta focus. So it's just like I feel like I'm doing the hardest thing I've ever done in my life and I'm completely lost.

Jake Vo: I just gotta turn off the music, turn off the video game, you know I mean? I gotta just shut everything out.

Jake Vo: And,

Jake Vo: and just focus on doing this, you know? I literally, and after realizing that it just became easier and easier and easier. But it was hard it was really hard.

Jake Vo: Like the hardest things like I have to go through aren't just like, besides running a business, and, and then like just like people, there's so many things like,

Jake Vo: I used to have peers. I used to have coworkers. I used to have colleagues. I don't have them.

Jake Vo: I don't have a coworker, I have an employee.

Jake Vo: I don't have

Jake Vo: a colleague.

Jake Vo: Because I don't consider myself a chef, so I really can't connect to other chefs.

Jake Vo: You know, so when you're at the top of what you do

Jake Vo: the hardest thing is like it's a really lonely life.

Jake Vo: You know, like you, don't have these things, and it took me a really long time to accept that and enjoy it.

Jake Vo: Because when you're transitioning from having co-workers and people that you can rely on as like a buddy,

Jake Vo: and you don't have that anymore it's really hard on you.

Jake Vo: You know?

Jordan Ugalde: How do you come to, if not embrace at least accept that loneliness?

Jordan Ugalde: Do you? Do you?

Jake Vo: Good question.

Jake Vo: It's because, when you're doing what you love every day,

Jake Vo: that is providing you with enough company.

Jake Vo: And realizing that

Jake Vo: the people that come within your company are there to

Jake Vo: see what's going on in your life.

Jake Vo: And paying gratitude to the people that's around me,

Jake Vo: really helped me be present, with what I'm doing and focusing on what I need to accomplish, accomplish, which is making this the best ramen I can.

Jake Vo: Um.

Jake Vo: And that is just like a subset dream of my biggest dream, the biggest dream is

Jake Vo: ensuring that Yume Wo Katare stays open

Jake Vo: so that I can help people accomplish their dreams. That is the number one thing

Jake Vo: that I love to do. Is to help people figure out what they want to do with their lives and accomplish that dream. And, and that's like what brings me to the fulfillment right? So like,

Jake Vo: when you get used to having friends and get used to having colleagues and going on Friday and Saturday nights and having a huge social life and all these things. when you switch to a different lifestyle, it takes you a while, for you to learn gratitude right?

Jake Vo: It takes you to learn gratitude that, whoa, every night I see so many different people. It's always fun to see your face when you walk in, and I know who you are, you know who I am and we share a moment.

Jake Vo: You know? And there are three types of friends that you meet in this life. The first type is you know your ride or die, the people you know you stick with for the rest of your life. Your parents, whatever.

Jake Vo: The other person is the people that you meet onc,e and then you never see them ever again, you know that happens, a lot.

Jake Vo: And the third type of person, and this is my favorite type, is the type of person you meet. you spend some good time with, and then you leave.

Jake Vo: You guys separate and then maybe, let's say a week, a month, years down the line, you meet again, you share your experiences in life, and then you separate.

Jake Vo: Right?

Jake Vo: That is my favorite kind of life experience. So every night when you guys come in and we get to spend time enjoying each other's company,

Jake Vo: I get to spend a moment with you.

Jake Vo: And then, when you leave to go accomplish your dream, and come back and be like "yo I did this." Like that is what makes me feel like I have a lot of friends.

Jake Vo: You know?

Jake Vo: So that's how I just thought it was like, whoa, like not a lot of people get to have this. I'm fortunate to have this.

Jake Vo: So I paid got gratitude to it, so I think I got it, that's how I find out, you know.

Jake Vo: How do you think how do you feel about the interview so far? Just want to take like a...

Tyler T Hamer: Oh yeah I mean I think it's going great. I mean like it's fine no one's actually ever asked this a bit on the interview but uh I'm,

Tyler T Hamer: it's just you know, I guess you're the fourth person Jordan and I have interviewed. And it's, one thing is just, learning kind of how you were just saying like meeting people

Tyler T Hamer: and then they go away for a while, and they come back into your life, and you get to share those experiences.

Tyler T Hamer: A lot of, you know, us just starting out a lot of the interviews have been people we already know that we're friends with that we don't necessarily see on a regular basis.

Tyler T Hamer: And so it's been really interesting to see like their, their points of view and how they've come to live to walk a path of passion yeah.

Jordan Ugalde: And also like,

Jordan Ugalde: it's a story that I think is... One of the things that I'm loving about this story and hearing your story is,

Jordan Ugalde: pretty,

Jordan Ugalde: very consistent, is the story of people who did eventually find something that they love, is it not being an easy path and often coming with a lot of sacrifice. Like,

Jordan Ugalde: for, for some, like one of our previous guests, Jared, went from being an investment banker to a bartender and that comes with a pay cut and a, like,

Jordan Ugalde: a way of living cut, but his life is a lot more happy and he's a lot more fulfilled for taking that jump. And so it's, it's interesting to see the different levels of sacrifice that people will take to pursue the ways of life that they love and what that actually looks like. Like it's,

Jordan Ugalde: it's a narrative not often told, and I have really enjoyed hearing what the, like, deep raw details are of your journey and just what that's been like. And absolutely

Jordan Ugalde: along those lines,

Jordan Ugalde: do you, do you think some of this mindset this mentality came from the previous owner? Like, and is that like why he gave the business to you? Or like what was, what is that relationship like with, was it Tsuyoshi?

Jake Vo: Yeah.

Jordan Ugalde: What was that relationship like?

Jake Vo: It's so fun working with him.

Jake Vo: It's literally like the best time of my life working with him.

Jake Vo: Like,

Jake Vo: no matter how skilled, it's like,

Jake Vo: it's funny, the best way to describe this is, at one point in our relationship, we started playing chess.

Tyler T Hamer: Nice yeah.

Jake Vo: and

Jake Vo: I got so intense that he's at home with his wife and kids and I'll just call up and I like how you want to play chess? And he's like,

Jake Vo: Right now?

Jake Vo: I'm like, I'm like I'm home with my wife and kids. I'm like yeahm right now. He's like okay. So I just go over to his house and we sit down, we play chess, and you know we were like very, we were like very consistent, like almost back and forth, back and forth.

Jake Vo: And then one day he just excelled, like exponentially, and I was just like what is going on?

Jake Vo: And

Jake Vo: this is the premise of who he is and our relationship. When I got better at making ramen and cataching up to him and making good ramen he just excelled exponentially every single time.

Jake Vo: And him excelling exponentially, I couldn't keep up. Like it was too much. Like, and like I, when

Jake Vo: you know, when I just think about it, like when you can't keep up, when you can't,

Jake Vo: you can't, it's like,

Jake Vo: you know people might get upset at you, or you know you lose that, you know you drift further and further away.

Jake Vo: And that's kind of like what ended up happening.

Jake Vo: Because he was excelling at such an exponential rate that he couldn't teach me anything new.

Jake Vo: I need to have someone that's a little bit closer to my skill set and my skill range for me to learn, because the things he, he, he is doing and his ramen is so far advanced than me that I have I don't have the capacity to understand that.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah.

Tyler T Hamer: So, is he, is he, where is he making ramen? Is it back in Japan right now then, or is in the states or...

Jake Vo: I actually have not checked in with him for a little bit.

Jake Vo: But he, the last I know he went back to Japan, and he he opened up an udon shop in Japan.

Jake Vo: It's called I want to see you smile.

Jake Vo: And that's the last thing I know.

Jake Vo: But you know my relationship with him is great.

Jake Vo: We, you know, he's busy doing his own thing and,

Jake Vo: like I said earlier, the best type of relationship is you guys do your own thing and then you come back, eventually. You know what I mean? So I will come back eventually to Tsuyoshi.

Jake Vo: And that's when I can, that's when we update with, that's when I get the full update, you know I mean? Like I'm not like keeping up to date with himm, you know, every week or month or something like that.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah how, as someone who is passionate about the way of your style of noodle dish, not ramen, not ramen, but your style of noodles,

Jordan Ugalde: and is dedicating their life to it, how do you,

Jordan Ugalde: this might sound weird, how do you deal with seeing someone so much farther? Like is that disheartening, or do you see that as a guidepost or what, what does that, what is that like??

Jake Vo: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah yeah yeah. So you were talking about how Tsuyoshi,

Jordan Ugalde: as a,

Jordan Ugalde: working with noodles in general, you described him being so much more advanced than you that it was hard for you to even keep up.

Jordan Ugalde: And, but at the same time you're dedicating yourself to this craft, so like I can imagine that being intimidating and for some people, I could imagine that being disheartening, but how, how do you perceive it? Like how did you experience being surrounded by a genius?

Jake Vo: I was trying to keep up.

Jake Vo: But then when I realized that

Jake Vo: if you go to the grand, the grand finale with the genius,

Jake Vo: the audience recognize that you're not on the same level.

Jake Vo: Right? I wasn't, I just wasn't on the same level.

Jake Vo: And in realizing that, the I guess embarrassment of not being on the same level is stronger than

Jake Vo: you know, not being able to keep up.

Jake Vo: I don't even want to call it an embarrassment but it's just like,

Jake Vo: it's more encouraging to know that

Jake Vo: the level gets that high.

Tyler T Hamer: So does he served them like as like a beacon or a lighthouse in the distance like where you want to go like?

Tyler T Hamer: like kind of like how you know if you're a white belt in taekwondo and then you, there's like a fourth level black belt, like it, kind of it's a place you can get to, you know if, you stick with it, you can eventually get there.

Jake Vo: Yeah, yeah exactly.

Jordan Ugalde: That's,

Jordan Ugalde: I find that really interesting because,

Jordan Ugalde: I think when seeing someone,

Jordan Ugalde: many times farther than you in something you're passionate about there can be two responses. One is the response that you have taken, which is to see that person

Jordan Ugalde: as I will constantly strive to be better so that I can reach that better, like that ideal. But I will admit for myself, I, I used to be pursuing physics, I wanted to be a physics Professor.

Jordan Ugalde: And then I made it into MIT and I saw some people who, I thought I was smart, and then I saw some people who their freshman year

Jordan Ugalde: their homework answers to graduate level classes were being used as the official answer guide to the classes. As freshman's they, their answer guide was the graduate school's answer guide. And, and, their first year they were doing like three different research studies and I realized

Jordan Ugalde: as a, if I wanted to be a physics professor, I would have to compete against that. And my take was, find a different field for me

Jordan Ugalde: to win in, to succeed in, because this one, like seeing my competition in here with the narrow opportunities,

Jordan Ugalde: I didn't like my chances. So for me it's really interesting to see someone who, see who, faced with that insurmountable obstacle decides to chase that obstacle anyway, like chase that dream

Jordan Ugalde: regardless. it's just it it's a different take than I've personally taken in life, and I think it's really interesting to see and hear.

Jake Vo: Well, I have a very simple solution for you.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, what up?

Jake Vo: You said that it's disheartening to see all these, like, younger people have their example be used on the test or something like that right?

Jordan Ugalde: It was disheartening to see a peer,

Jordan Ugalde: being multiple, like a peer

Jordan Ugalde: not just like, in my, in age and in position in life, be effectively like half a decade ahead of me. And, and knowing that I would have to compete against him.

Jake Vo: Well that's the thing you want to compete against them. So that's where, that's where the trouble lies. So, when I see somebody that's better than me, let's say, let's say I'll use the example of, to keep things simple,

Jake Vo: I used to see people that were better than me that, also age range right? So if you're older than me you're more knowledgeable, if you're younger than me you're not as knowledgeable. And basically, if I'm hearing you right, are you saying, like in using my example, if a younger person

Jake Vo: is at the higher person's level, and you have to compete against that, that's disheartening. Am hearing it that way, am I hearing it correctly?

Jordan Ugalde: Basically yeah.

Jake Vo: Okay, so when I experienced that, I realized that I don't want to compete with this younger person, I want to befriend them and start studying under them.

Jake Vo: Because if they're going to get there, and if you're under them, you'll get there with them.

Jake Vo: If you're competing with them and they get there,

Jake Vo: you're not with them. They're there and you're not.

Jake Vo: You know what I mean?

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah so, the previous episode before this. we interviewed my dance teacher and I started dancing his style of dance like two years ago,

Tyler T Hamer: at like 26. And there is obviously people who start dancing like you know, eight years old, so there is people that are grandmasters in terms of dance

Tyler T Hamer: much even younger than I am. And I definitely understand what you're getting at with that Jake is, I've always viewed them, as you know, Sean, my dance teacher, might bring in someone younger than me to keep

Tyler T Hamer: to also teach, but that has always been someone I viewed as, I can expand my community, that's someone else I could learn from and share their experiences with, not someone I was trying to compete with.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah that's an interesting point because I,

Jordan Ugalde: and this might just be, just the mindset that I've had for a while, but I haven't really challenged, is I've always thought of,

Jordan Ugalde: I, I very frequently thought in terms of competition and in,

Jordan Ugalde: growth, like having a growth oriented mindset, yes, but not necessarily the idea of,

Jordan Ugalde: actively seeking people who intimidate me and trying to learn from, like grow,

Jordan Ugalde: from them.

Jordan Ugalde: Like, that, so,

Jordan Ugalde: I, like I've tried to learn from people who were so far beyond me, like at previous jobs I've talked to like the C-suite and had regular meetings with them, try and learn from them, but in that, in those situations, the gap was so distant that it didn't,

Jordan Ugalde: we didn't, I didn't see us as peers, but I had never considered some, like for someone who I saw as a peer and therefore a competitor, actually

Jordan Ugalde: acknowledging them as better than me,

Jordan Ugalde: then going to befriend and work with them, to learn from this peer who I saw as a competitor. That's just not a mindset that I had even considered until literally right now.

Jordan Ugalde: So, like if anything else I'm glad to take that away from this podcast because that's been an absolute, that's a really good takeaway. And yeah I appreciate you bringing that up that's a good thing for me to think about.

Tyler T Hamer: Oh, also Jordan just you know, one of the things you mentioned, as the example of being a physicist and looking at people.

Tyler T Hamer: When you look at like, the career being a professorship since like, especially our friend Dan wants to be that, that happens to be a really cutthroat world where you have few

Tyler T Hamer: positions, and so it kind of naturally leads to competition, but in reality there's a lot of things in life that

Tyler T Hamer: you know, I'm never going to be a professional dancer/ I'm not going to, I'm not striving to do that. And I'm beginning to learn saxophone, I'm not going to be a professional saxophone player. But, and I think that might also be a key to it, is it's freeing where you,

Tyler T Hamer: ynfortunately, money and like you know, like is a big things that, thing that plays into it. And so if you're trying to get a really exclusive job that's gonna be really hard, but if you, in a lot of things in life it's not as cutthroat.

Jake Vo: This has been a very interesting conversation so far.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah I hope you enjoy it as much we, as we have, because I feel like we're both really enjoying this. It'ss very informative very...

Jordan Ugalde: yeah I've learned a lot,

Jordan Ugalde: about myself yeah.

Jake Vo: You guys have any additional, like what other questions you guys have? What are we at, how are we on time, do you guys want to wrap up, I know you said, like an hour, I kind of want to just kind of gauge what you want to do.

Tyler T Hamer: I mean it honestly depends we've had some episodes as short as an hour, some as long as two, so it's kind of just, based on everyone's energy level, and if people want

Tyler T Hamer: to keep talking about this yeah.

Jake Vo: If you have more questions, let me know I'm good.

Jordan Ugalde: Okay yeah,

Jordan Ugalde: I guess one question that we very frequently ask is,

Jordan Ugalde: so you are currently pursuing your dream, but in terms of what,

Jordan Ugalde: the highs and lows one should expect if you are pursuing that dream, like what have been your highs and lows

Jordan Ugalde: in your pursuit.

Jake Vo: How are you so good at asking questions man.

Jordan Ugalde: practice.

Tyler T Hamer: Well it's practice, and we also have like a computer off, like full of stuff, like a computer off to the side with like a list of questions. That like we curate questions on.

Jordan Ugalde: Don't reveal the special sauce.

Tyler T Hamer: He revealed the special sauce to us.

Jake Vo: Oh okay.

Jake Vo: What are some of my highs and lows?

Jake Vo: Is that what you're asking?

Jordan Ugalde: Yep yep yep.

Jake Vo: Lows, lows, lows.

Jake Vo: Okay.

Jake Vo: I'll tell, I'll talk to you about, okay, can I change the question?

Jordan Ugalde: Sure.

Jake Vo: I'll talk to you, instead of answering my highs and lows, how about I answer my highest hi, my lowest low?

Jordan Ugalde: Even better, we'd love that.

Jake Vo: Well,

Jake Vo: one of my lowest lows

Jake Vo: was mopping the floor.

Tyler T Hamer: Well, I mean at at like Yume or just like in general at another job or okay.

Jake Vo: I just hated mopping floors.

Jake Vo: I hated it. I absolutely hated it and

Jake Vo: one day,

Jake Vo: Tsuyoshi noticed.

Jake Vo: how I get really

Jake Vo: upset with certain things, that he was like "you're really getting that upset over mopping the floor?"

Jake Vo: You know, unless like,

Jake Vo: this, I'm like, whoa like what do you, what do you, what are you asking of me? And then he was, he was just like, he asked me to ask you, just like,

Jake Vo: he's like, can you tell me how you feel right now? And I was like I just hate mopping the floor it hurts my back,

Jake Vo: it's like gross, I just hate it, I hate doing this. And he's like, why do you hate it, like so much, like why? And he's like, well like it hurts my back. He said, well what, what can you do so it doesn't hurt your back he just looked at me for

Jake Vo: like three minutes without saying anything.

Jake Vo: And he's just getting.

Tyler T Hamer: Like a Mr. Miyagi move.

Jake Vo: Right? And then I was just like, well, if I had you know, like a longer, a longer one it wouldn't hurt my back so much. And he's like, and he's like please throw this mop away, please go buy a longer one, here's my credit card. And I'm like okay, so I went out to Ace and I found the best mop possible,

Jake Vo: and I was like, ih, this is nice I was just like staying there for a good 15 minutes in Ace and just like, just like, really examining all these mops you know?

Jake Vo: And I was like, which one should I buy? I was like wow, why am I doing so much work into buying this, I'm using my boss' money, like, I have to buy a good mop.

Jake Vo: And after I figured out how to mop I, when I got that, and then I just figured out like oh my back doesn't hurt anymore, then I was like why do I hate mopping, I was like oh it's so dirty, and I was like, and I told him that it's like, he's like,

Jake Vo: he's like it's so dirty? And I'm like, yeah it's so dirty. And he's like, do you know who cleans the employee bathroom?

Jake Vo: And I go, I go no... who, who cleans ot? He's like you know, how you clean, you know it's like, you know how, you guys clean

Jake Vo: the customer bathroom every day, and you make it really nice? I'm like yeah. And he's like, have you ever cleaned the employee bathroom? Like no.

Jake Vo: He's like, did you ever think to clean the employee bathroom? And I'm like no. He's like why? I was like because it's always so, like this is the cleanest place in this building.

Jake Vo: And then, in, he's just like, do you know who cleans that bathroom? And I was like no, he's like I do. I clean this every day and he's like I stick my hand in the toilet where you pee to clean the bathroom I was.

Jake Vo: like, I was like, he was like I touch your pee

Jake Vo: every single day, and you think this is dirty?

Jake Vo: I started, I started dying.

Jake Vo: And then the next day, I was just like mopping.

Jake Vo: When I was mopping and thinking about that he touches my pee and he cleans the bathroom every day, I was like you know what? This is great, I was having the highest of highs.

Tyler T Hamer: That's amazing.

Jake Vo: You know and

Jake Vo: that's just like, you know, that was also an example of my relationship with Tsuyoshi.

Jake Vo: You know, and that is just one of the many examples of one of the lowest lows and the highest highs.

Jordan Ugalde: Are those one and the same? Both the lowest low and the highest high?

Jake Vo: The lowest lows and the highest high right? You have to go that low to get that high right?

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah I mean it's definitely a thing right? Like if you're always baseline you can, y'know it's the idea, you can only, it's better to have loved and lost and never loved at all. You have to experience

Tyler T Hamer: te lowest lows

Tyler T Hamer: to be able to experience high highs.

Jordan Ugalde: Poet here.

Tyler T Hamer: I'm so bad at words I'm not a poet.

Tyler T Hamer: Or a lawyer.

Jake Vo: You know, damn,

Jake Vo: I was happy to share that story I don't think I really ever shared that story, you know?

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah it was interesting to hear.

Jake Vo: You're digging up a lot of like moments. I always think of year one and year two, those were like my training years.

Jake Vo: You know? And I forget a lot of things during those times, but as I advance in my skill level, and I think back to those times, I can start to see things that Tsuyoshi did that I couldn't comprehend back then. I'm slowly starting to comprehend them by myself,

Jake Vo: through leveling up. Does that make sense?

Jordan Ugalde: Oh completely one thing we've, very much talking both, both from our own experiences, as well as the people we've talked to is that,

Jordan Ugalde: it's hard to,

Jordan Ugalde: you won't always be in a place to process the lessons you're taught when they are taught to you. Sometimes the lessons you need to learn most, you learn years after they happen, years after, like, and that's because it's really hard to,

Jordan Ugalde: to know what you don't know. Like there, there's a, as you advance in anything in life, there is a specific language,

Jordan Ugalde: like we think of languages, what we generally use to talk about our day to day lives, but really it's a lot more than that there is,

Jordan Ugalde: there are there, specifics of language of, in your case mechanical engineering, in your case ramen, it, there is very specific ways of thinking that you,

Jordan Ugalde: you don't even have a conception for until you've reached a certain level. And it's, it's really hard to appreciate all the lessons you've been exposed to until, not necessarily until it's too late, but until you've reached the level to recognize what you really do know.

Jake Vo: Yeah.

Jake Vo: And it's really enjoyable to experience that.

Jake Vo: Right? I was, I was always so focused on the destination, I want to be making better ramen than Tsuyoshi that I could never really enjoy this moment right now.

Jake Vo: And when I started understanding like practicing being in the moment and say whoa, look at these noodles it me today whoa. Like, why is the soup so ridiculous today?

Jake Vo: Or like wow today's pork, raw pork that I got in, this is the most marbled pork I've ever seen in my life. I'm going to cook this today, like,

Jake Vo: learning how to just enjoy that and not worrying about, oh when am I going to be better than Tsuyoshi or when, am I going to make the best ramen. Ot when when my ramen live up to the live up Tsuyoshi's ramen, you know what I mean? It's his ramen I'm trying to replicate.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah I think it's common when you have ambition to be laser focused on that end goal and not really appreciate everything that's happened along the journey.

Jordan Ugalde: Like it, there's,

Jordan Ugalde: it's,

Jordan Ugalde: I think if you're ambitious, you have dreams, and you're told to enjoy the journey

Jordan Ugalde: it's a lot easier said than done. Because if there is a goal you have in mind, it's so easy to get wrapped up in everything that goal means to you and everything you know

Jordan Ugalde: that goal entails. That it's, it's also very easy to fall into the trap of not realizing the 10s of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of steps you've taken along the way.

Jordan Ugalde: And how much you've grown along the way, and also all of your accomplishments along the way, like along the way to the final dream,

Jordan Ugalde: you've accomplished 10s of thousands of dreams in the mean, dreams in the meantime and it's really easy to not just forget about those but even disregard those and

Jordan Ugalde: I think that, at least from my own experiences, the act of disregarding all those accomplishments can weight down the journey and. like, honestly even take away from the final dream, because you aren't appreciating what you're accomplishing along the way.

Jake Vo: Yeah definitely.

Tyler T Hamer: I mean my Instagram, like, started off originally as a memoir to remember the accomplishments and like the good times, because I very much suffer from being, the hardest critic is yourself.

Jake Vo: hmm that's true.

Jake Vo: So then, so how did you, did you, how have you guys gotten with it?

Jordan Ugalde: A lot of therapy.

Jordan Ugalde: No, like therapy has helped.

Jordan Ugalde: For me, actually finding a community of

Jordan Ugalde: people going through similar experiences, so I,

Jordan Ugalde: I left my last job to try and become an entrepreneur

Jordan Ugalde: and that sucks, that is hard, and I mean you are effectively that as well, like you, are a business owner, you are operating your own business and, as you mentioned it's lonely, it's difficult, and for me,

Jordan Ugalde: not even regularly in like, as you mentioned about the friends that you talk to maybe once in your life, maybe once a month, maybe just once every so, like once,

Jordan Ugalde: whenever it happens, being able to be exposed to other people's experience of realizing how lonely it can be, how hard it can be how overwhelming, it can be to be faced with 10,000 choices and needing to make one. Like it's,

Jordan Ugalde: I feel that there's a lot that,

Jordan Ugalde: if you had infinite time,

Jordan Ugalde: you could learn every experience and eventually learn your best way to make it through life, but we only have our own finite lives, and I think

Jordan Ugalde: learning from others, hearing their experiences, sharing in experiences is the

Jordan Ugalde: best way to get a true appreciation for your own experience, because

Jordan Ugalde: I feel it, it both provides camaraderie and also

Jordan Ugalde: it helps provide contrast to show that the lows

Jordan Ugalde: are

Jordan Ugalde: to be expected and that the lows don't necessarily define the entirety of the journey. The entire journey is the lows and the highs and the in-betweens and it's,

Jordan Ugalde: it's easier to see that when you are sharing in other people's experiences, who have taken a similar journey as the one you are hoping to take.

Jordan Ugalde: That's been my experience, what about you Tyler?

Tyler T Hamer: I mean,

Tyler T Hamer: just the way I approach life in general has been a very much, I try to establish a baseline, even if I don't want to live life, according to the baseline that I end up

Tyler T Hamer: establishing, and I establish a baseline just by people who are similar to me like you're saying, similar journey, but people who also live lives totally different to me, I, you know, I, one of the,

Tyler T Hamer: especially being a mechanical engineer, you become really good friends with the machininsts in machine shops. They're blue collar workers there you know.

Tyler T Hamer: They work hard, but and, you're a white collar worker who gives them your drawings and says like build this for me.

Tyler T Hamer: And so I've been luckily exposed to like a lot of different people from different backgrounds and I tried to establish what is a baseline for

Tyler T Hamer: life, relationships, friendships, accomplishing goals, hobbies, and I try to have an idea of what is in the realm of reasonable. What is the realm of possible. And I find that is grounding for me, then, to go off in a direction, because then, no matter what, even if I fail,

Tyler T Hamer: which is going to happen in life, I can come back to and be like, that's part of a journey, and now I have a base point to jump off from and go in a different direction.

Tyler T Hamer: Versus like, I have failed, I have gone back to rock bottom, and I have no idea where to go. And so that's that's helped a lot because there's been,

Tyler T Hamer: hobbies that I've started that I haven't continued. Like, for example, my friend Bethany, when I first said I was getting into dance and

Tyler T Hamer: I thought I was gonna do hip hop dance, and she's like, come to swing dance with me, and what I ended up doing was,

Tyler T Hamer: I end up doing house dance with my teacher Sean I allude to that we just did an interview with, and it was really his teaching style that drew me in and, but I would never have

Tyler T Hamer: found that like right off the bat. Then like I'm going to do dance and I'm going to immediately find the dance teacher that's perfect for me. I just went,

Tyler T Hamer: I like dance. What do people do on YouTube, like how did they start off, like you know, talking to friends, and tried a bunch of experiences, and I'm like, I'm going to try to

Tyler T Hamer: find a direction and, hopefully, that suits me. And it's okay if it doesn't, I come back and try try a new direction. And,

Tyler T Hamer: also, along with talking with people about it, not just trying to establish a baseline is,

Tyler T Hamer: relating over these experiences, relating over these failures, over these journeys, that's the human condition. People like to talk about what they've been through and then hear what other people have been through and that's the reason why people go out and drink. They bitch about work,

Tyler T Hamer: they bitch about like,

Tyler T Hamer: problems going on their life because they want to, they want to hear like, what is someone else's experience. Like, how do I get through this? Because the reality is we're on this like rock in space.

Tyler T Hamer: And it's hard, it's like, that's what part of the reason we founded that the podcast is, you know.

Tyler T Hamer: Obviously me and you wanted to do this for different reasons. Like my reason is, I wanted to see more that baseline.

Tyler T Hamer: What is the jumping off point for people for being passion, or being passionate about things. And one thing I mean, obviously I went in with the expectation,

Tyler T Hamer: that there's probably a baseline. But one thing I might find out over this journey is that there isn't a baseline. Everyone's experience is different, but that's still valuable.

Tyler T Hamer: So I guess that's kind of

Tyler T Hamer: my opinion on it.

Jake Vo: So you, so you realize that there is no baseline.

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah it's, it's kind of like the dark truth behind like I want there to be a baseline.

Tyler T Hamer: Like that,

Tyler T Hamer: like being a, being a engineer, being like right? You go back to Newton's three laws.

Tyler T Hamer: You go back to like Maxwell's equations for

Tyler T Hamer: electricity and magnetism. You want, I want there to be a baseline experience that everyone goes through that I can deviate from and find my journey.

Tyler T Hamer: And what I found is there's lots of different experiences, and you know it depends on where you've grown up, where you grew up,

Tyler T Hamer: what you're exposed to, how your parents were, who your friends were, life events going on at the time, you know, country you're born in. Like it's, and so it's just kind of like well,

Tyler T Hamer: maybe there's a bunch of these different experiences and it... So this is gonna sound really cheap, like me being the poet right? Like, like life is like a fucking box of chocolates you

Tyler T Hamer: never know you're gonna get.

Jake Vo: You know, when you said

Jake Vo: if you stop doing this, or you jump off of it,

Jake Vo: what are you going to default to earlier, right? But not stop back at rock bottom.

Jake Vo: I was thinking about that, when you said that I kind of like,

Jake Vo: made me ask myself, like,

Jake Vo: If I just,

Jake Vo: let's I woke up and like Yume was on fire right? And the building's gone, like what do I do?

Jake Vo: And I, you know, and I asked, I literally asked myself that question, as I was listening to you.

Jake Vo: And when you said, there was no baseline, it made me realize that when you do what you love,

Jake Vo: you're also doing other things that you love.

Jake Vo: When you do what you hate,

Jake Vo: you often are doing things that you hate,like driving in, being in traffic for two three hours a day. Working a job you don't like and then you know, for example.

Jake Vo: When you do what you love you also have to have time to do other things that you love, so if I, if Yume disappeared and I couldn't make ramen anymore,

Jake Vo: what have I accomplished, while following what I love and what my passion is? I started investing in photography to be, like to market my brand.

Jake Vo: I started making videos to market my brand. I go to other restaurants and I want to be supportive of their restaurants and show that we have a community you know what I mean?

Jake Vo: And I use my video skills and make promo videos for them and advertise them on my web, like you know you see, I don't know you follow me and you see me.

Tyler T Hamer: Yeah I've definitely seen it yep.

Jake Vo: And

Jake Vo: you know, I do that because it for you know, it promotes community and stuff like that, but at the same time I'm also investing my time in other skills. So if I stopped doing like ramen and I have to hit rock bottom,

Jake Vo: you know I can just be like a photographer or I can be like making videos and I can like have clients, you know? I can

Jake Vo: you know, I've made all these free promo videos, I can just start making promo video for all the new restaurants, that are coming up, because I, like do you see how many new restaurants are coming up?

Tyler T Hamer: Oh yeah it's insane right now.

Jake Vo: Right? If you're a video maker or photo maker and you can like be like a local video person because word of mouth, you know I mean? Then you're you're just making like these, like videos and get paid for that.

Jake Vo: Or you know, be a restaurant consultant, like I've worked in the restaurant industry for like six years now. Like

Jake Vo: I, aside from making ramen like I handle payroll, I handle the permitting, I handle every single thing, that's, like I'm running,

Jake Vo: I'm running a business, while learn how to cook ramen, while learning how to be like a good manager and a leader.

Jake Vo: You know what I mean? So you like, when I talked about I have 14 hours in the day, like, like, it's like, I have to like read this book on how to be an effective leader. I have to

Jake Vo: work on being an effective leader. I have to prep for ramen. I have to make noodles I have to run service and make sure that everyone's happy and food is quality. After that I have to clean up the entire restaurant. You know what I mean? So it's just like,

Jake Vo: you do so much.

Jake Vo: And

Jake Vo: the things that I do in my 14 hours, while the cook is, while the soup is cooking for 14 hours, is investing

Jake Vo: in my happiness.

Jake Vo: You know? Yume Wo Katare's goal this year is investing in your happiness, meaning the time you spend doing something, is that investing in your happiness or not?

Jake Vo: You know, and this kind of goes back to what I said at the beginning of the conversation. How you just like wake up and you know stop doing this stop doing that?

Jake Vo: Simple, you ask yourself, is this investing in my happiness or not? If it is, like keep on doing it, if it doesn't just stop doing it.

Jordan Ugalde: I think, for some people there's,

Jordan Ugalde: there's a trap that they can fall into in

Jordan Ugalde: some attempt to, in pursuit of that idea, which is like the idea of delayed gratification.

Jordan Ugalde: Where you're sacrificing your short term happiness for your long term happiness. I think that can, there is legitimacy to that, but it can also be used as an,

Jordan Ugalde: it's used to never be happy. Like day one, you sacrifice a penny, day two you sacrifice a pound, day three you sacrifice like your home like,

Jordan Ugalde: it isn't inherently a slippery slope.

Jordan Ugalde: But,

Jordan Ugalde: I think there can often be, maybe not even often, but there can be a tendency to use the "sacrifice happiness now for the future," use that

Jordan Ugalde: as an excuse to justify not pursuing your own happiness. Because, I mean, as you are definitely fully aware, like really going hard into your happiness and sacrificing

Jordan Ugalde: like your time, your priorities to dedicate to your dream, you're sacrificing a lot. And that, the idea of...

Jordan Ugalde: Something, something that came up in last episode was the idea of giving up something you love to focus on something you love more.

Jordan Ugalde: Because there's only so much time in the day that, if you really love something, you have to give up some of the things you love less in order to pursue that thing you love more.

Jordan Ugalde: Because, given our finite lifespans, finite time in the day, we have to prioritize and

Jordan Ugalde: sometimes, it can be easier to

Jordan Ugalde: give excuses for why we aren't prioritizing

Jordan Ugalde: and

Jordan Ugalde: say that I'm pursuing this to provide for myself in the future. Which again there are legitimate cases where you want to do that, but it can also become an excuse.

Tyler T Hamer: Well.

Jake Vo: Go on.

Tyler T Hamer: I was gonna say I think building off both of that, one thing is, I think a lot of people

Tyler T Hamer: mistakenly like, if you're on this journey and the point is the journey, going back to what we were saying a lot of people focus on just the end goal and you're not appreciating the steps along the way.

Tyler T Hamer: And maybe one one idea I had was, you know, people a lot of people when they talk about their identity, they identify with that end goal, but are you in, like what Jake obviously,

Tyler T Hamer: Jake identifies with making this delicious noodle dish but, like you could also identify with the various steps that make up that. Being a photographer you know, being a promoter for other brands and so you know it's, it's,

Tyler T Hamer: yes, you are sacrificing your, your short term happiness for a long term happiness, but there is

Tyler T Hamer: happiness along the way right? You are, you could choose to identify not just, just with the end goal, but also with the achievements you've made along the way.

Jake Vo: Yeah because, like when you, when you sacrifice these things you,

Jake Vo: you, the way I see it in my mind is you rank up to another level. And when you rank up to another level, the person that you become at that level,

Jake Vo: for me, no longer finds value in the things that I considered a sacrifice at one point.

Jake Vo: It goes from sacrifice to, wow that wasn't really that valuable to me after all.

Jake Vo: You know, and if it was valuable to me,

Jake Vo: it, if something's really valuable to me, it does not become a sacrifice.

Jake Vo: You know?

Jake Vo: Yeah it does not become a sacrifice. Because going out drinking Friday and Saturday I with my friends like,

Jake Vo: that was a sacrifice. I remember, I told Tsuyoshi that one point and he's just like, what, he's like your days off are what?

Jake Vo: Sunday, Monday and now Monday, Tuesday right? Why don't you just find friends that'll go out drinking with you on Monday and Tuesday?

Jake Vo: He said...

Jake Vo: I was like that's an easy solution.

Jake Vo: And that's when I was like, you know, like there's always an easy solution to something but finding that easy solution is really hard you know.

Jake Vo: And that's how I was like, well yeah so now, you know I always have people that drink with me on my days off.

Tyler T Hamer: That's amazing.

Jake Vo: Very like insightful perspective, like, I really like this podcast, like the questions and yeah, so far really thought provoking.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah I'm glad you liked it.

Jake Vo: Yeah, what else you got?

Tyler T Hamer: Well.

Jake Vo: Well, in.

Jake Vo: the interest of time,

Jake Vo: what, do you feel like we missed anything, or you like, was there a vision you had for the podcast that you felt like, you know how earlier you were like hey can you guys talk about the dream concept now I was like, oh shit, let me, let me talk about that real quick. Like, you know what I mean, like that that's important.

Jordan Ugalde: Yeah so,

Jordan Ugalde: let's, to just wrap things up a bit,

Jordan Ugalde: the question we typically end with is, for someone who has an inkling of desire to pursue the same path you did, what would you recommend to someone who wants to get started, taking the same journey you've taken.

Tyler T Hamer: Sorry Jake.

Jake Vo: Oh wow.

Jake Vo: I don't even know how to answer this question man.

Jake Vo: It's so good.

Jake Vo: I mean it's like,

Jake Vo: like my general answer is just do it right like just.

Jake Vo: Literally just do it.

Jake Vo: And see what happens. Like don't think just do.

Jake Vo: Another, another example of that would be, and you've heard it in popular media,

Jake Vo: when the boss asks you to do something say yes, then figure it out later.

Jake Vo: Right?

Jake Vo: So when you are pursuing whatever you're trying to pursue just say yes to it and then figure it out right? So

Jake Vo: most people, the hardest part is taking that leap of faith.

Jake Vo: Is,

Jake Vo: you know? And

Jake Vo: whatever you need to do to build the confidence to take that leap of faith,

Jake Vo: start there.

Jake Vo: For me, for example, I used to really care what people thought of me.

Jake Vo: I used to really care about my appearance every time I left the fouse, I had to have my hair styled, if I didn't have it styled I would not leave the house and that was just like my younger years.

Jake Vo: And you know I

Jake Vo: really cared about what people thought about me. Then one day, I decided, I really need to figure this out like, how do I get over this and

Jake Vo: I,

Jake Vo: I literally just went on to a train

Jake Vo: and just laid down on the floor. Everyone was looking at me, like what the hell is this guy doing?

Jake Vo: The first four minutes were intense. After four minutes when I, cuz I did it for 10 minutes.

Jake Vo: After 10 minutes I got up and left.

Jake Vo: And I asked myself, did anything bad happen to me? No. Am I still alive? Yes.

Jake Vo: Those people that are on the train.

Jake Vo: Are they gonna care about that tonight when they're at home and with their families.

Jake Vo: Maybe. If they do they'll have a laugh about it.

Jake Vo: But other than that, like I, like when I've gone on the train and I see something weird or something happens, like I'm like, well that's weird and then I don't really think about it, for the rest of the day.

Jake Vo: I don't really care about it, like you know I'm like, oh whatever. So in realizing that,

Jake Vo: when I did that it like really unlocked like inner confidence for me.

Jake Vo: That's something that you know, is really important to me is developing your inner confidence.

Jake Vo: Because there's like three types of confidence. The other two is like appearance, like how you look. And like your status, the other one is status, style confidence. Whether, you know your job, your car, materialistic things make you confident.

Jake Vo: But if you strip those things away from you, all you got left is your inner confidence and not a lot of people develop theier inner confidence.

Jake Vo: So when I laid down on the subway that was me to developing my inner confidence, you know? And I know it's weird but that's that's what was effective for me.

Jake Vo: And one thing that I started learning in life when I started this island, this journey is that, I used to think really black and white. This is bad, this is good.

Jake Vo: Instead I started changing my perspective, to what is effective, what isn't effective.

Jake Vo: Right? And not associated with bad or good.

Jake Vo: So when I said, oh wow this is more effective, for me, let me go down that path. So for the people that are like trying to figure out what they want to do.

Jake Vo: You know, develop your inner confidence. Is this what you really want to do like sit down have a chat with yourself? Is this what you want to like,

Jake Vo: dedicate your life to? Like, like is this your vocation, you know you decide your vocation and once you decide that vocation, you know I learned this from Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Jake Vo: He says that you need to dedicate your entire life to this vocation, if you want to

Jake Vo: be good at it.

Jake Vo: So you know, once I made that decision like everything kind of just like fell in place. You know it's like a, it's like a,

Jake Vo: it's very similar to how I feel when I survived in the woods for

Jake Vo: a couple months.

Jake Vo: Like you, it's a do or die situation, like you have to find water, you have to hike to explosive supply of water, so that you can have

Jake Vo: water to drink and water to boil your food and survive any, if you don't get a suppli of water you're most likely going to die.

Jake Vo: It was kind of like that situation. So every day like that's the mentality that I had when I was in the woods, I was like I have to hike this, these 10 miles, right now, if I do not hike these 10 miles

Jake Vo: I'm not gonna be getting, near any water, and I will die. So when you decide your vocation, it's like, I need to do this, I need to do this, I need to do that, if I do not do these things, I will die. Like, I have the mentality that I will still die because I lived in the woods, you know what I mean? So,

Jake Vo: you know, like you really have to dedicate your entire whatever and whatever other sacrifices that you, it's okay, like it's okay, that I don't want kids.

Jake Vo: I never want kids personally, because the reason why is because I don't think I'll be a good father, because I don't think I have the time to dedicate.

Jake Vo: And like and I really want to be a good father, I want, so, when I work at Yume like I view all my employees as my kids you know? You know that's how that's how I got over that hurdle too.

Jake Vo: Yeah just build the confidence and just just go for it just do it that's it.

Jordan Ugalde: To to quote Nike branding or also Shia LaBeouf, "Just do it" "Just do it." Yeah no that's, that's really

Jordan Ugalde: honest, true, like,

Jordan Ugalde: if, if you don't take the dive now it's easy to continue pushing, pushing the buck further and further down the line, so yeah I very much feel that.

Jake Vo: And the funny thing is.

Jake Vo: You can't apply to everyone right.

Jake Vo: Kike if you some people they have kids they have a wife, they have a family, they have all these things.

Jake Vo: Right? And that's perfectly fine. Like that's that's you gotta do what you gotta do to provide for your family.

Jake Vo: Right? But

Jake Vo: you know, like I

Jake Vo: decided that I don't want kids,

Jake Vo: because I know I won't be a good father and then realizing that it unlocked me to focus on being really good at something right?

Jake Vo: You know I decided that I don't, you know,

Jake Vo: want

Jake Vo: to have like many friends, because I don't have the time to dedicate my time to hang out with people and be a good friend, I just don't have that time.

Jake Vo: So it's not really a sacrifice anymore, and you know the people that can't do that because they got friends or like they got family and they got other like obligations like that's okay too. But at least, you don't have to sacrifice everything you do, but at least

Jake Vo: take the leap to go towards something you love that's not so risky. Reduce the risk and do something a little less risky you know?

Tyler T Hamer: Well, I was just, y'know building on that I just think it's like, it's not always,

Tyler T Hamer: like, you know, you, the sacrifice, like you're saying sacrifice everything for one thing, there is there's a scale to this and, like

Tyler T Hamer: you know, one of them, is some days I just have trouble getting started at work and I just, now I have a routine where it's just like, I put on,

Tyler T Hamer: on low-fi music and then I just open up like a PDF about something I have to read, just so I get started, and the only sacrifice I'm making there as I get off Reddit. Like that

Tyler T Hamer: I'm just saying there's a scale to right? It doesn't have to be.

Jake Vo: Oh, so good.

Jordan Ugalde: Well, so actually to, to touch on something from a previous episode, when we were interviewing our friend who became a bartender, he was talking about how,

Jordan Ugalde: he left banking to become a bartender when he was 23, before he had a family, before he had kids. And he was talking about how, when he was young, single, and

Jordan Ugalde: naive like he could leave the stability for a risky dream. Because no one was depending on him.

Jordan Ugalde: If he was to do, he, he even mentioned, if he was to do that now, in his mid 30s, when he has a wife, he has a kid he has a, like here, there are people in his life that he needs to,

Jordan Ugalde: like it's not just him taking care of himself, he is integrated into more something more than just him. It impacts, the risks you can take and in those situations, like, it's understandable what you can and cannot do you. You do what you can do.

Jordan Ugalde: But at the same time, like I,

Jordan Ugalde: as you were saying, there is a spectrum of risk and there's a spectrum of sacrificing

Jordan Ugalde: happiness for risk, risk for happiness, and those two things aren't necessarily linked, you can

Jordan Ugalde: potentially, like you can, there is the potential to take not that much risk, but increase your happiness significantly and I think if you

Jordan Ugalde: think of your life in those terms, that, what actions can I take to increase my happiness in the day to day, as well as the long term,

Jordan Ugalde: without necessarily risking what's important to me. Like, how can I minimize the risk of what's important to me now for the long term, I think, if you are in a situation where there's a lot

Jordan Ugalde: of dependent, of things that are dependent on you right now, there's still is the opportunity for happiness and that's that's honestly time what I

Jordan Ugalde: that is one of the things I want to touch on in this podcast in general. Like what are the potential paths to happiness for people in any walk of life.

Tyler T Hamer: Well, so I think it goes back to what Jake was saying earlier. It's not, it's not black and white it's what is effective for me what you know?

Tyler T Hamer: I have this idea of what I want to be, what steps can I take that increment my happiness day to day and long term towards that goal, not you know society says I should do, this society says, I should do that to be happy.

Jake Vo: Yeah.

Jake Vo: Yeah wow.

Jake Vo: You guys can articulate these things so well.

Jordan Ugalde: We try, we try, we're getting more practice every week every interview we

Jordan Uglade: get our practice.

Jake Vo: It's so good to hear like in a different perspective, you know? I mean like I love that so much.

Jake Vo: Thank you.

Jordan Ugalde: We love it too.

Jordan Ugalde: Well, thank you very much for joining us today Jake, it has been amazing. We have loved having you on and hearing your story.

Tyler T Hamer: I was just gonna say just building on the idea of like friends, you know go away from apart for a while and then come back together, we definitely I think should like in the future to another episode with you, like yeah you know being yeah.

Jordan Ugalde: Our 100th episode.

Jake Vo: I mean I, my first podcast I did, can we go off off off script now?

Jordan Ugalde: Oh,

Jordan Ugalde: yeah we're, we're, yeah yeah we we have no hard scripts you can say whatever you want.

Jake Vo: No, no go off screen like this, after this is not gonna get published.

Jordan Ugalde: Oh, just wrapping things up, thank you very much for having, thank you very much for joining us Jake and everything after this off the record.