Small town says goodbye to family-run sushi restaurant after 39 years | Koto: The Last Service

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Published 2021-11-24
After nearly 40 years, the family-run Koto Japanese Restaurant in Campbell River, B.C. is closing. Over the course of its last day, the community says goodbye. #CBCShortDocs #KotoTheLastService

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After nearly 40 years in operation, the family-run Koto Japanese Restaurant is closing down in Campbell River, British Columbia.

Over the course of its last day, the small Vancouver Island community bids farewell in this meditation on how to say goodbye with grace.

The community and relationships that formed over sushi will last long after the final service.

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カナダ・バンクーバー島の東海岸に佇む小さな海辺の街、キャンベルリバーで、約40年の歴史に幕を閉じた家族経営の和食レストランがあった。その名は「KOTO」。最終日には地元の常連客が続々と訪れ、長年愛されてきた名店を名残惜しむ…。KOTOの最後の一日を通して、寿司が育んだコミュニティの絆と思い出、そして温かな別れを描く物語。

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All Comments (21)
  • Quil
    I had my first piece of sushi at Koto when I was a young kid in the early-early 90s, and was addicted from the start (my favourite thing was the pop from the flying fish roe when you bit into them). I remember how kind Tony was, and that he wrapped an elastic band around two chopsticks for me because I was too little to know how to use them properly. I continued to go to Koto throughout my entire life, and have never had sushi as good as it was there. I miss Koto and the history it had in our community, but I'm also happy that Tony's family will get to pursue their other interests. Thank you for 39 years, Maeda family.
  • ergosteur
    Tearing up on Family Day morning over a sushi restaurant I've never been to. What a beautiful thing they built.
  • PureShinee
    I think viewers want to know what's next for this family because their dignified essence was captured in the short 14 mins documentary. So well done to the Maeda family and the crew that worked on this!!
  • Josh
    I’m not one for YouTube recommendations but I am so thankful I watched this. There was a local restaurant in my city that I grew up with that closed down years ago. It was open for a very long time and they watched me grow and I watched them grow as well . It’s unbelievable that the smallest things we take for granted or things we see every day … suddenly just disappear. Places like these… you wish they would last forever. But all good things must come to an end. This was very touching. It would be nice to see how they’re doing. This video was fantastic. Thanks!
  • Suyo Begna
    Local restaurants especially family-owned restaurants, sometimes we forget how crucial they are in our everyday lives. The sense of community, the food, the place, the memories, it's ultimately what defines what life is about. And huge respect to the family for holding up for 40 years!
  • Manoj
    Incredible job the entire production team. It evokes a subtle sense of melancholy that I find simply beautiful.
  • Zachary Hall
    This was soo sad..but I like what she said that her and her husband started it and although her husband passed away she will end it and not let someone else come and take over...she is a beautiful cute and classy looking woman and her sons to step up and help them they are all soo blessed and a beautiful family
  • Jason Sanders
    A beautiful story. Thank you for sharing Koto’s final day with us.
  • Cathy Macdonald
    What a beautiful closing with such grace of a life well lived. Thank you for your service to this community.
  • Hugh Hall
    Was by far the best Sushi anywhere. I started travelling to Campbell River in the 1990s until 2000 and every stop included eating at the counter at Koto - sometime both nights I would be there. Tony over time introduced me to every variety of sushi he had; yes even raw ebi! It is unfortunate but all things have a beginning and an end.
  • Hotaru Tomoe
    The image of Daruma-san with both eyes looking out was so touching. Such a beautiful way to finish one’s life work, sharing space with cherished people.
  • Keith W
    I discovered this fantastic restaurant in a business trip to Campbell River 15 years ago and would always make an effort to have lunch or dinner there. The food was so good and the sashimi was so fresh that they could be better than a lot of sushi restaurant in Japan. Sitting at the bar counter to watch Tony making the sushi with care was inspiring. This is a good story but wish that this documentary can be longer.
  • A J
    Wow, this was such a moving piece!! :') Makes you realize what life should be like and what really matters at the end of the day- love, family, friendships and community!! Hope all these nice people continue to live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives ahead.
  • N. B.
    So bittersweet. We have so few authentic Japanese restaurants in Canada and the relationship this family had to each other and the community looks so special.
  • benedict ma
    running a family owned restaurant is hard work. what a lovely story. a beautiful beginning and an elegant end. what a great testament to Tony and the Maeda family.
  • Joseph V
    A pleasure to have watched this. I loved seeing the women hug and kiss. The bond was incredible. That’s real beauty.
  • Jeffrey Tsang
    What a beautiful story and such lovely family & friends.
  • Sasha M.
    I love seeing people show their authentic love for one another. Hugs and smiles. Gods, we need this more… ❤️😥
  • William Chan
    This short doc really gives you an appreciation of just how fleeting but beautiful life is. But at the same time, you can feel how some things continue on and that the fact that people lived and accomplished meaningful things will never go away.