Photographs by Kaori Nishida
Tsubasa Tamaki didn’t dream of pizza. He dreamed of architecture, of following in his mother’s footsteps and designing buildings in Okinawa, where he spent the first 18 years of his life. He dreamed of being a golf instructor, of converting his silky swing into a model for aspiring linksmen. He dreamed of being on television, like his cousin, a ventriloquist who made a name for himself across Japan making special sounds from barely moving lips.
Above all, he dreamed of being famous, a dream that carried him from the shores of the southern islands to the streets of Tokyo in search of his big break. Serving pizza — his part-time gig at a mediocre family restaurant — was only a pit stop on the road to something bigger. …