Sushi, sharp knives, and the sometimes rocky road to success.
Sunshine here with a short Rakugo episode.
Since today’s episode is tangentially about Sushi we can start with a short and very fishy Rakugo joke…
Oh, it’s you Kiroku! I have not seen you in a long time. What have you been doing.
Starting a Jazz band.
A Jazz band! I thought you preferred fishing.
So what made you start a Jazz band.
Well, it’s a very special Jazz band, made up of fish.
Fish? Why fish.
Because, it’s easy to Tuna Fish!
Easy to Tuna Fish. Very high level joke.
No! It’s not a joke! I am serious?
You serious that it is easy to Tuna Fish? All right. I take the bait I guess. Why is it so easy to Tuna Fish?
You just have to adjust the scales.
This is a story about a dear friend who is a legend in London, we’ll call him Mr. Suna.
A Japanese legend in London.
He went to London from Japan about 40 years ago barely out of school and is one of the most successful Japanese entrepreneurs in the UK today.
But behind every success is there are mountains that were climbed, there were failures that were overcome, there were walls that were traversed.
As my father says the road to success is always under construction.
Well, in the first few years in a new country and new culture a new environment a new language, you can imagine that there is a lot less success and a lot more custruction.
This was the case, Mr. Suna decided to start one of the first Japanese restaurants in London.
He found a young sushi chef willing to make the long trip to London to live and work and cook in his restaurant.
At the time the VISA requirements were not so strict, or perhaps the requirements were the same but not as strictly enforced.
In any case he told the young chef to come to London on a tourist visa and they would convert it to a proper working visa in good time once he got there and was working.
Chef Shingo managed to memorize a few English phrases in order to answer questions at the airport, but that was about the extent of his English - well, you don’t need English to make Sushi.
He arrived at Heathrow airport with one suitcase in hand and was questioned by customs:
Are you here for business or pleasure?
I am here for sight seeing!
Sight seeing? How long?
Really? Three months? You have only one small bag.
I am a simple man.
Really? Open the bags.
Chef Shingo opened his suitcase to reveal 18 professional sushi knives!
Gyuto, Santoku. Bunka, Nakiri, Debabocho, Yanagiba etc.
All encased and arranged in order of length, width, weight.
If you are here for sightseeing, what are you doing with these knives.
(For Shingo this was an unexpected question…)
Ah….. My hobby is cutting things.
He was sent back home and couldn’t come back to the UK for a year.
My Friend Mr. Suna had to wait to start his restaurant.
Chef Shingo could cut, carve, cleave, slice, dice quarter and crop, but in the end Chef Shingo was not so sharp.