What I Learned from the Sushi Nazi of L.A.

Uncategorized Nov 10, 2020

I’m reading this fantastic book I found in a Little Library, called the Story of Sushi (by Trevor Corson, in case you want to read it too). It’s super interesting! Within the context of students attending a sushi-making school in California, there are all sorts of bits of history about fermentation, rice, seaweed, soy sauce, and even how the plastic green leaf in your box of takeout sushi came to be there. (I barely even noticed that little guy before reading this book!)

Anyway, there’s a passage I wanted to share with you.

“Part of the difficulty in encouraging Americans to appreciate the sushi experience was getting them to relinquish control. In America, you were considered a sophisticated eater if you insisted on having things a certain way. To really experience sushi, you had to let the chef decide what was best for you. It was hard for Americans to do. That was why the most uncompromising Japanese sushi chef in L.A. - a man named Kazunori Nozawa, more popularly known as “the Sushi Nazi” - had a big sign hanging over his sushi bar. It said, “Today’s Special: Trust Me.”

In and of itself, that’s pretty fascinating, how things are so different in the East and the West.

What I thought was even more provocative, though, was how we behave in the very same way with the Universe (God/Great Spirit/_______ fill in your preferred term).

Part of what’s happening with the Great Pause (pandemic) is that we’re being called to relinquish control. Up until March 2020, as a collective, we thought we pretty well had this life thing under control. We thought that our plans were set in stone. We thought we knew how it was all going to go down.

Well… not so much.

And for a lot of people, that relinquishing of control has been a great upheaval. 

But what if the Universe hung up a sign just like Kazunori?

“Today’s Special: Trust Me.”

What if the only thing we had to control was our sense of trust? What if we became unwavering in our faith that absolutely everything that was going to come our way was going to be exactly what we needed? 

I’ve learned from my book that sushi chefs in Japan must be artful in both food preparation and in charisma. A talented sushi chef engages in banter to playfully uncover what his customers’ current preferences are. Then he adds a sense of adventure by surprising them in order to both delight and expand their palates.

If there are customers who are willing to trust their sushi chefs (even with poisonous blowfish!), couldn’t we learn to trust in Infinite Intelligence?

I mean, it is infinite. And it is intelligent. It probably knows what we need in order to expand our souls. 

I’m going to imagine that there’s a big banner up in the sky (perhaps being pulled by a lovely little stripey aircraft) that says: Today’s Special: Trust Me. 

I invite you to do the same. Because if you can learn to surrender control, and trust…

All you have to do is show up at the sushi bar of life, have a seat, share your preferences and enjoy what comes your way.

With rice cookers full of love and oceans of courage,