Sonoko Sakai

Sonoko Sakai is a food writer, Japanese cooking instructor and soba maker based in Los Angeles, California. Her kitchen memoirs, recipes as well as stories on soba, sake, miso, umeboshi, and katsuobushi artisans have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Saveur, and Zester Daily. She is the founder of Common Grains, an innovative cultural initiative whose mission is to promote Japanese food and culture and awareness of Japanese grains.

For more information, visit the Common Grains website at or her website at

Updated December 2012

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Common Grains

Common Grains is a Japanese food and culture project that started in my home kitchen a couple of years ago, and until this year, it didn’t have a name. It was just myself, writing Japanese food memoirs and recipes, and giving cooking lessons.

The eldest daughter of five children, I have lived in Los Angeles for most of my adult life. I was born in New York and raised in Kamakura, San Francisco, Tokyo, Mexico City, and Pasadena. My father, an executive for Japan Airlines, was one of the first people to be assigned overseas after World War II ...

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