Masayoshi "Masa" Takayama Takayama Masayoshi) is the chef and owner of Masa, a three-Michelin-starred Japanese and sushi restaurant in New York City. He is also owner of Bar Masa, with a location adjacent to his New York restaurant as well as a location in the Aria Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada.Early yearsBorn in Kuroiso, a small town one hour north of Tokyo, Takayama's parents owned a fish shop and a catering business. He began cutting fish as a child. His brother and three sisters all helped in the store, loading the fish into the display cases before school. After school, Takayama would get on his bicycle and deliver sashimi his father had made. In the spring, which is wedding season in Japan, the family catered celebrations, typically five-course dinners for 200 guests where he would help all day at the expense of school. In high, he wanted to become a surgeon. After high school, he apprenticed for eight years at the famous Sushiko in Tokyo's upscale Ginza district. As per traditional culinary apprenticeship in Japan, he spent many of those years working on the mundane tasks of dishwasher and bathroom cleaner before rising to the level of sushi chef. In 1978, a vacation to Los Angeles convinced him to move to the United States. In 1980, Takayama opened his first restaurant in Los Angeles, Saba-ya. He planned to eventually open a restaurant that would be closer to what was available in Japan, a plan that he felt he fulfilled with his second restaurant, Ginza Sushiko.