From the beginning, the Tenpaku family has practiced tebiyama—a time-honored way of smoking that attaches firewood flavor while allowing for precise control over the flame. But very few makers still use this labor-intensive method, and Tenpaku believes it's in danger of disappearing. "It isn't attractive to the younger generation," he says. "The bonito are decreasing, and Japan's food is diversifying." Still, the desire to preserve this way of life keeps him going. He used to obtain his bonito—a smaller relative of skipjack tuna—from local waters, but after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, he has turned to the waters of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The months-long process begins for Tenpaka at port, where the fish are gutted and boiled before transport to his hut.