The Village of Artisans. The word itself means a skilled worker, but in the eyes of shinobi they seldom seen for anything other than their many talented weapon crafters. Even then, once the rest of the world became just as skilled as those men, the shinobi began to disregard the village. Knowing that, it is easy to forget that an artisan meant more that just one that could make a blade or a bow.
No, the village was more of a hub for the world's most talented - those whose gifts weren't necessary for their time - not to the men and women that fought for their homes. So as the world's dominant powers left the be, Takumi Village continued to grow. Inventors, tailors, musicians - if you thought you had a gift, or you wanted to make a career out of it, the village was a good place to start.
It was also home to a branch of the Sutekina clan. They had many relatives spread all over the world, but that branch in particular was among the largest. Where shinobi clans would have genetic traits to grant them unique powers, every member of the clan had some sort of clan - or so they believed. Nobody is truly sure whether they really are born with skill or they just try extra hard to develop one, though in a world with Kekkei Genkai, both are very plausible.
Amai was, at one point, the newest addition to the Takumi branch, and just like every other Sutekina clansmen, her family was convinced that there was a gift hidden somewhere inside her. Some of her first memories were of being left to toy with a paper or paintbrush, or being made to watch this aunt or that one play a piece on the flute. Nobody expected much from her at that age, but it was the start of what became a routine for her.
Her family wasn't particularly wealthy, but they were plentiful, with each person having their own skill to bring to the table. From the age of nine, the child would stay at home for a few weeks, then be sent to stay with her armour-smith cousin for a weekend. Once she was back, she just barely had enough time to settle down before she was rushed off to school again. When the weekend came around, she was gone again, sent to stay with another aunt that... did a lot of knitting. Every day was a new adventure, but curious little Amai didn't mind it one bit. It just meant she would be able to see more.
As she grew, her journeys became less frequent, and she found herself with more time to actually do what she wanted. Her parents were convinced that in time, she would decide what she wanted to do with her life - not realising that she already had. With all the constant whizzing around, nobody really picked up on the fact that the girl spent an awful lot of time watching her mother in the kitchen. It was simply brushed off as the girl trying to bond... Until the day that she tried to cook food of her own. Fortunately, somebody managed to put out the flaming chicken before any real harm was done, but after that incident the family made sure to keep a closer eye on Amai.
She didn't see any harm in it, though. At the time, she was merely experimenting - whilst being very distracted, as children often were. It was a big enough hint to those around her, however, and the next weekend she found herself staying with her aunt's cousin, once removed. She owned a little ramen shop near the village centre, and though it wasn't very wise to let a young girl be around boiling water for so long after the last incident, the girl, in an odd twist, was on her best behaviour. The next week, she was staying with that cousin's brother, the owner of a restaurant.
Amai still has fond memories of that place. All of her fellow clansmen treated her like family, but this new place became close to a second home for her. Granted, she wasn't trusted enough to be left in the kitchen alone, but when it came to the culinary arts, she was willing to be patient. The man let her watch him and his staff cook, even went out of his way to teach her a few dishes. Over the years, without any talks, her weekend visits became more of a paid apprenticeship, two days a week. She would watch and learn from the best, and when things got busy, she would act as a waiter. Whatever she needed to do to help, she would get done.
To her, the tasks were fun and rewarding. Her free time at home was spent practising her skills in hopes of impressing her friends at work, and her parents would often gift her with cookbooks that they found at the market. Taking a cue from them, she made a few attempts at making her own books, using recipes she had learned from the restaurant. It was around that time when she discovered her own creative style - she wasn't half bad at writing either. Her own creations were still considered eccentric, but every once in a while she would add a little spice here and there to turn a horrible dish into something wonderful. And what a smile it brought to the customers!
The spunky little kid that set food ablaze matured into a beautiful young woman and an experienced chef. Several of her own works had been made into specials at her workplace, and the staff were more than happy to let her work shifts as a cook when she wished. It went without saying that the girl was set to run her own establishment sooner or later, and she began to look at the age of nineteen. That was a problem in Takumi Village - it was brimming with talented young men and women looking for a job, as as soon as an opportunity sprang up, it was snatched away by some other aspiring chef.
It took years for her to find a place, and even then only because she became willing to go to other villages as an option. The faraway Land of Waves housed a small, growing village, and it appeared that they had an empty building purposed for just what she needed, since its previous owners abandoned it before the village opened its gates. Her years of banked paychecks were more than enough to pay off a deposit, and with a little help from the family, the money was put together to purchase the building.
All she had to do was get there and hire staff. Those at the restaurant were sad to see her go - they had known each other for years -, but were also happy for their little 'student', who could probably teach them all a thing or two. Besides, she had a few months before she departed, using her clan's contacts to draw in other jobless citizens to follow her. Before long, she had a full team of aspiring chefs and waiters, ready to set off.
Despite her appearance, Amai is a friendly, confident woman that does her best to get along with those around her. Whether that's because she's a nice woman or because she's one of the few 'normals' in a village of trained soldiers has yet to be confirmed. Her kindness has limits, however - she won't back down from a (verbal) fight, easily, nor will her attempts to be nice stop her from bluntly calling a person out if the situation calls for it. Other than that, she is an outgoing woman, though her insistence on punctuality means that on most days, she can rarely be found for long outside of her workplace.
Though it is doubtful she will ever stand up against any shinobi trained in sensory, Amai was blessed with the ability to notice the little things in life through her eyes and ears. In other words, she isn't easily fooled by a forced smile or somebody telling her that they're "just fine" though her accuracy is still debatable, as is whether her skills are enhanced senses or just her paying more attention than need be.
As the owner of a restaurant, it goes without saying that Amai is more than capable of fixing up a few meals of her own. Her skill is something she takes pride in, allowing her to easily put together a great meal with whatever is at hand. The vast majority of the village agrees that her meals are amongst the best.