Yujiro Samurai Taniyama, CEO, Japan Broadcasting . net Inc.
About a year ago, I was inexplicably contemplating on brevity of life, as the petals of Sakura trees in my neighborhood evaporated into thin air, day after day.
Without figuring out the answer to the “question”, and the enigma of the world we live in, that evening, I happened to dine at a ‘Corooo-Cooroo-Sushi’ (CCS)- or belt conveyor Sushi in the outskirts of Tokyo.
It was just before the groundbreaking ‘Trump-Kim Singapore summit’; I recall.
The CCS was pretty crowded, and while waiting in a queue, I inevitably spotted a blond male standing near by. He looked like a deportee from Venezuela. The nation is a pandemonium as we all know, thanks to chubby-bus-driver turned President.
“Gonna have to wait for another 30 minutes. Ready for some best Sushi’s in the world fella?! Welcome to the land of the rising fish”, I said to him, grinning.
The doughty looking guy, presumably in his late 20’s smiled back, relieved to hear some words he obviously understood. Hamacci, as I will call him here, turned out to be a U.S Navy serviceman. Just as a reminder for some readers, Hamacci (はまち）is the Japanese term for Young-Yellow-Tail. Mouthwatering good.
“Thank you for defending my little country”, I bowed.
The ‘Venezuelan’ didn’t know how to respond. So the Outspoken Samurai continued; “We are now unfortunately nothing but a flock of emasculated sheep, sir. The Samurai is dead. Banzai Mr.Big Mac!”
“Big……Mac? This is a Sushi parlor, right? Not McDonalds”.
I was up for some mischief, but Hamacci had turned out to be somewhat a typical, ignorant ‘American millennial’ , that had never been taught the nickname (code name) of the ‘legendary’ hero Douglas MacArthur, produced by the U.S.A.
Better change the subject, I thought. We both needed to kill time.
“Sir, what do you make of Mr.Kim?”
“Yeah, the super Fatty. You know”
“Wow, so you know him. Yeah, Mr. Kim”
There seemed to be a serious, unfathomable misunderstanding between Hamacci and myself. Of courseI had been referring to the notorious North Korean despot, that was to meet Ivanka’s dad pretty soon. The U.S Navy personnel didn’t seem to follow any topics on international affairs, not even his ‘Commander in Chief’, to say the least.
“He’s a nice man, Mr.Kim”
I struggled to comprehend Hamacci’s words. He seemed to relish every word he spoke.
“Yeah. I like him”
How on earth would you expect to hear such remarks from an American sailor, when his big bosses presumably in Yokosuka U.S Naval base or Pentagon eyes on Pyongyang as ruthless menace?!
“Wait. Do you seriously think Mr.Kim is a nice man? Are you out of your mind? He’s allegedly eliminated his half brother in KL international airport with a chemical weapon! ”
The ‘Venezuelan’ froze for 3 seconds, then burst into laughter.
“Oh, that Kim, Kim Jong Un!”
“Oh my god, I thought that you were talking about Captain Kim”
“Captain …. what?!”
“Captain Kim. He’s the man in charge of U.S base in Yokosuka”
¥100 yen Sushi, the “Mission Impossible”
A year later from the shocking “Kim Incident”, which is last week, I happened to visit the same Coroo-Coroo-Sushi restaurant.
To my disbelief, I once again coincidentally banged into two U.S Navy guys. One fella was from California, and the other from Florida. Both looked to be in their mid 20’s.
I’ll call the dark brown hair guy “Magro” (Tuna), and the blonde “Tamago” (Egg).
“This place is so freaking good, I come every damn week”, said Tamago in a boisterous fashion. Indeed, he talked like his great President. But the young lad looked by far more honest, compared to the old man.
“Every week! That’s not bad”, I responded, indulgently.
Magro told me that he’s been stationed in Yokosuka for two years already, but hardly speaks a word of Nihongo. So I decided to mock him.
“You know what Magro, I just know too many unhinged Gaijins in this country, expats and so forth, that simply lacks the minimum respect to learn the very basics of our language and culture. You look so sophisticated like Harrison Ford in the 80’s, and don’t you tell me that you can’t even count 1 to 10 in Japanese?!
Tamago and Magro looked at each other, in awe, in shame.
Magro suddenly gave a penitent look, but started to prove that he’s go the ‘brains’.
“Ichi, knee, son, sea, go, rock……”
“Shit, you are good man. Americans Banzai!”, I interrupted.
But ‘scholar M’ continued.
“Yeah, Hachi the dog. Two more, come on, come on Magro!”
Then he froze.
“Wait…….9 is…… Q!”
I nodded. If he was to count perfectly, I knew I had to buy him an icy beer. Not the famous ‘piss water’, but KIRIN, of course”.
However, the intrepid U.S serviceman struggled to come with “10”, in Japanese. I waited for ten seconds, but Magro finally gave up. But I did not want to just praise him in a mundane way. That would be boring and counterproductive. There was absolutely no need to cajole him anyway.
“Magro, you are a smart man. You are a proud American, with balls, defending the land of the Rising Sushi thank god. But if you can count 1 to 100 in Nihongo, your balls are gonna be by far bigger, like Mt.Fuji”.
The Californian ‘dude’ nodded cordially, towards the rude and brash Outspoken Samurai. Probably deep inside he must have though I’m Chinese.
“Do as the Romans do, then you’ll enjoy life here to the max”, I said.
“Yeah, you’ve definitely got a point there man”, Magro muttered, and we shook hands, beefing up the 1960 Japan-U.S defense treaty bond.
Then suddenly, disruptive Tamago interrupted, like a Russian.
“By the way, Sushi here is unbelievable. A plate here would cost $5 bucks back home in Florida!”
Some readers must also be surprised, on how cheap and fresh Sushis are in Nippon. So in conclusion, let me offer you 5 reasons why we can maintain the price for just ¥100 per plate here.
1. Sushi is super ultra pervasive across the nation. This keeps the price low.
2. Around 50% of conveyor-belt Sushis are made by ‘AI Robots’.
3. It is estimated that one robot is synonymous for hiring five employees.
4. Shops skimps on maintenance costs of Sushis, by controlling ‘supply and demand’
5. The Japanese have the know-how to preserve seafood fresh, from the moment they are caught in the sea.
Well, these are MY feasible assumptions. What do you think!?
One thing for certain, Sushi is definitely the catalyst for peace. Nobody I’m sure would dare to wage wars and terrorist attacks while they are infatuated with ‘¥100 Coroo-Cooroo-Sushi”.
No Sushi, No life!