In Memory of Lisa Tian, Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa restaurant owner

I stumbled upon Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa one day in January of this year when a friend and I were heading to SoHo Sushi North and found it closed at 2PM. We decided to try a new restaurant we had seen on Bruce B. Downs by Acropolis, Joy of Tokyo. Once inside we had a great meal and the owner, Lisa (Lixin) Tian, came and sat with us. We talked for quite some time about her new business and how much I liked the food. She told me she moved all the way from Ohio down to Tampa to support her son attending USF and had successful businesses in Indiana and Ohio. I gave her some suggestions about using social media and setting up a website and she took my suggestions.

The next time I visited for lunch the owner and I talked about her new website and Facebook fan page. She told me her son who attends USF made the accounts for her since she wasn’t too familiar with how to use the internet. We laughed and after another great lunch I decided I wanted to schedule a sushi social with the organization I started at USF, The Japanese Club at USF. She was happy to set it up and I talked with her for about thirty minutes over the phone, she said she was happy to work with the USF community and would plan special discounts for my members and work with us however best she could.

The sushi social had a decent turnout for being scheduled during the day and the owner prepared everything and was completely hospitable to us. The next time I would interact with Joy of Tokyo would be at a Sushi Workshop organized by USF organizations Sigma Lambda Beta and Asian Students in America (A.S.i.A.). The employees from Joy of Tokyo came to our school and explained to students how to make certain sushi rolls. It was clear that Lisa was a smart businesswoman who was open-minded and happy to be a part of the USF community.

Unfortunately, in late May 2011 – I heard that Lisa Tian had been hospitalized after being severely beaten by her husband, Chunping Lin, and Lisa  suffered severe bleeding from the brain and a broken wrist in a case of domestic violence. Chunping a six-foot tall, 160 pound man, also attacked his 10-year old son who was defending his mother and caused a laceration of the son’s finger with broken glass. Lisa became comatose at St. Joseph’s  Hospital and after two months of the restaurant being closed down, I heard that she died a few days ago. Her husband was being charged with attempted murder, domestic violence, and child abuse according to article released in June. I am unaware of his current criminal charges.

During the week that Lisa became hospitalized a positive article was written about her business by a local newsletter. I am deeply saddened that her business never had the chance to reach success in the Tampa Bay area and that a local community leader has been lost in such tragic circumstances. The restaurant was hardly at it’s half-year point. My condolences go out to her children who must be struggling through such a difficult time. We have lost a pioneer in New Tampa and a local friend. Rest in Peace.


6 responses to “In Memory of Lisa Tian, Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa restaurant owner”

  1. My name is Sara, I worked for Tian in Ohio, I also babysat her youngest son Derrick, and mowed their lawn once a week. She has suffered from her husbands abuse since I have known her, and she never left him because she loved him, and he didn’t speak good english and she didnt know how he would make it on his own. It kills me that he took her life, but the worse part is that she knew it was going to happen one day. Tian was a wonderful person and would do anything she could to help anyone. She was one of the most awesome people I have ever met, and I guess its right when they say only the good die young. Rest in peace Tian. I love you 😦

  2. I knew Tian very well and worked with her on a couple deals she asked my help on. “Mike” as her husband was called was a great cook but a very violent man with a terrible temper, at all times. A friend of mine who is a police officer once confronted her beat up face while stopping into their place of business, China One, as he knew exactly what was taking place at first glance. When they left Oxford the newer house had walls with fist sized holed in the walls that had to be fixed. He was a stick of dynamite ready to explode over any little thing.
    I have a hard time believing Tian loved Mike, as he is not a loveable person, but it was an arrangement for business purposes. Such a shame. I really liked Tian and would not have wished this on her in any way. I hope her son gets the help he needs so he will not end up like his father. Attempted murder is hardly adequate as a charge for him.

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