I tried and I tried and I tried. Six times, at least, I tried tweaking recipes I had found on the Internet. Teriyaki sauce is damn near impossible to bullshit, let's put it that way. You really need to get the right mixture of ingredients. Suffice it to say, I didn't have it.
The first round, prior to now, was utterly doomed. In every case, the teriyaki chicken I had from restaurants was perfect: Sweet and a little tangy. I could not impart the same traits upon anything using the recipes I found and tried. They were something like 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part mirin, 3 parts sake, and 1 part sugar. My very first attempt yielded FIRE! I set my friend's stove on fire after it boiled over while I was heating it. No matter what, though, this always came out too salty. So I would do things like attempt using brown sugar instead of white sugar. Admittedly, it helped a little, but it was still the bane of my skills. I increased the mirin, but it didn't seem to have an effect. I could've lowered the soy sauce, but there simply wasn't much there in my batches in the first place. I stopped making it, even though everyone seemed to love it.
Six months after I last make a batch of the failure, my AP Calculus class is barbequeing. I'd ended up being late to class, but as I walked in, I smelled the heavenly brew. Salvation! But who had made it? I asked around and found out who made it. I couldn't find him and when I did he was avoidant. 'AH-HAH! I know where he works! There I shall extract the recipe.' I thought to myself. And so I proceeded to his work, a grocery store. He is a bagger there, so when I ran into him a couple weeks later with a lull in the shoppers, I pulled him aside. Sure enough, he gave it up easy as pie.
"The recipe, the recipe!" The beauty. Simple, but tasty. Add it freely to what you wish. I tried it on fresh hamburger, marinated it for a day and cooked it. I subject my friend's family to experimentation with the recipe. Not a single negative comment to be had and I am darn happy with it. Granted it is probably less than "Japanese" it is awesome. Here it is:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
Mix in a bowl. It doesn't particularly need to be heated, but that would aid in the dissolution of the brown sugar. Last time I made a batch, the brown sugar wouldn't completely blend in, but heating it up probably would've solved the problem. I'm lazy. Marinate, glaze, brush it on stuff, do as you please! Just try it, once in your life, try the stuff. Unless you're allergic to something in it.