Spotlight: Noriyuki Sato

Spotlight: Noriyuki

employee spotlight: noriyuki sato

Aaron Pylinski | community writer

Most people talk about the bar at the Eagle’s Nest as Nori’s more so than its normal moniker for a good reason. Nori has been tending bar there for the last 17 years with a smile on his face and a passion for his work that hasn’t gone unnoticed. His smile is inviting and his humility a lesson for those of us who wish to take a little bit of Japan back to the States.

If you’ve been to the Eagle’s Nest after 4:30 PM for a frosty adult beverage then you know the man behind the bar. Nori has been a mainstay at the Eagle’s Nest for about as long as some of our young Servicemembers have been on this planet. Although he’s not originally from Iwakuni, he is happy to call this place home. He has no issues helping those of us who are far away from home accept this place as ours and leave Japan with pleasant memories.

We were able to take a few minutes out of Nori’s time and get to know a little about what makes our humble bar keep such an outstanding individual in the community.

What is your position at MCCS and how long have you been here?

I am the head bartender at the Eagle’s Nest Bar. I have been in this position for 17 years. I have been working here in Iwakuni for 21 years. I started out as a cashier, then I worked in the warehouse, and now I am a bartender.

Are you from Iwakuni? If not, where are you from?

No, I am not from Iwakuni, I am originally from Matsuyama, which is on the island of Shikoku.

What are you most passionate about working at MCCS?

This position is my passion. I have the chance to meet people who aren’t from the area and when they come back, and they see me again, and they remember me, it makes me happy.

People here think very highly of you at MCCS, what is it that you do that creates such a positive impact on the people of this station?

I think I am a happy guy. It’s a little humbling that people would say something nice about me. I like to think that I am very normal and that I do my job. But when people say nice things about me, it’s a little humbling because I think that maybe somebody else could do a better job. My biggest accomplishment is when people are here having a good time, and it is part of my job to make sure that they get home safe. I am always looking out for my customer. If people read this, they will know me, and they will know that I always try to do a good job. I always try to be fair, and if someone is trying to fight someone else, I always try to stop it and make people happy instead.

What have been some of your greatest accomplishments at MCCS thus far?

I try to make people feel comfortable and happy when they come in. Sometimes young people come in from other bases or they come to Iwakuni for the first time. They come in for drinks, and I do my best to make them feel comfortable, to make them feel at home. If someone is coming to Japan for the first time and they may not like it, I help them understand what it is like to live in Japan. That way, when they go home to the United States, they have good memories and see how nice it is to be in Japan and live in Iwakuni. The young people in the military are a big deal to the mission here, so I want them to be happy and safe and think of Iwakuni as a home.

What challenges have you faced in your position?

The biggest challenge is change. People are always coming and going , and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Also, I continue to stay true to myself.

How do you spend your time when you are not at work?

When I start my shift here, I’m listening to people talk about what is going on in their life. When I am off shift, I go to concerts and listen to music mostly from the ‘60s and ‘70s. I really like watching baseball also. I take care of my kids when I am at home, and I like to talk to my wife about what is going on in life.

What are your goals for the future at MCCS?

I don’t really think about that. I always try to just live in the moment. I am thankful to have the work that I do. I will be happy to work until I retire and try to make people happy and comfortable.

Since you’ve been here for over 20 years, you’ve left quite an indelible mark on MCAS Iwakuni, how would you feel if they renamed the Eagle’s Nest to Nori’s?

I’m lucky to have my position, and I am honored. I can think of other people who the bar can be named after. And, after I am gone, I could see someone else doing this job better, and they could even name it after them. But it would be an honor if they decided to name this bar after me.