JAPAN’S HERO, HIRO Hiroyohi “Hiro” Iwamoto – Translates for Us

Updated: May 1, 2004

He’s the nicest Flair Bartender you could ever meet and a Legend of Bartending top three finalist. I had the pleasure of interviewing Hiro Iwamoto, one of Japan’s best Flair Bartenders. I first met Hiro at Quest for the Best Bartender in the World competition in 2000 and he has been making Japan proud ever since.

Age? 30.

How long have you been Bartending?
3 years. I used to work in a bar. I only worked as a Bartender for 3 months after I started Flairing.

How did you start learning to Flair? I took [a] Flair course at ShowTenders in Orlando. Patrick McNamara taught me how to Flair.

What makes you stand out from other Flair Bartenders? I never try to Flair too seriously. I’m smiling all the time. I try to do something funny.

What do you hope to get out of Flair ? I want to Flair with rock stars. I want to Flair in front of 100,000 people.

Why do you Flair now?I Flair now for fun.

How does the general Japanese public react to Flair bartending? Most Japanese never watch Flair. So [when] people come to watch Flair for [the] first time, they are surprised and have fun, but if they come [in a] second time and watch [the] same moves again, then people get board. Actually, they don’t come to watch Flair. They come to talk to friends and eat delicious food.

FBC_Video_ButtonTeam Japan is growing stronger every competition, what is causing this sudden growth in Japan’s Flair Bartenders? Many Bartenders buy Flair videos like Legends and they’ve been practicing a lot. Most of them were beginners, but now some of them are very well. So they decide to try overseas competitions. Most of them still don’t compete because they can’t afford to, but I’m sure there is more in the future.

Click on the Video Clip to see Hiro at Legends 5.



Who do you look up to in this Sport? Tim “Flippy” Morris. I like his style. It’s fun. Patrick McNamara in ShowTenders taught me how to Flair. Michael”Bumby” Bombard also taught me basic. Mindaugas shows what the originality is. Christian Delpech is the best. Nobody beats him ([even] if Christian [were to] change his mind and compete [in] Legends in the future.) Matias Supan and Francesco Leoni are very stylish. I’ve never talked [to] him but Angelo Vieira is very good. Of course Ken Hall is the Legend.

hiro_scoopWhat is your favorite Flair Bartending competition? Legends of Bartending and Quest for the Best. I like Legends because I like “invitation only” competitions. I’m very proud of me if I get an invitation and I like [the] pour-test and speed rounds. Training for these rounds is the only way to improve my Bartending skills. Because you know, I don’t work in a bar. I like Quest too. This was my first big competition. I was very excited while qualifying and I made the finals. I like to make the finals.

Hiro with his famous scoop stall .

hiro_juggleWhat are the differences in preparing for American Flair competitions rather than Japanese Flair competitions? American competition is  more complicated than Japanese competition. It’s hard to listen in English like speed round, so I practice not only Flair but English. Otherwise there is no big difference. I spend lots of money if I compete [in an] overseas competition, so I think I practice a bit harder for overseas competitions.

hiro_poseWhat is the biggest Japanese Flair competition out there and what are you mainly judged on in that Flair competition? (More show, technical, or difficulty, etc.?) Flair Bartenders Network, FBN, Championships in December. I won 2 years ago and last year I was a judge. I mainly judged technical, especially clean (less drops, no spills) but it seems everybody is similar so I put more points for originality and difficulty. Now everybody is like somebody in [the] videos. I think it’s not interesting. I want to see something new.

Thank you, Hiro, for your dedication and for keeping Flair a gentleman’s sport.




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