The cohort went to a sushi restaurant in Moose Jaw the other day. I point out that it was in Moose Jaw just because I really like to be able to talk about all the things I did in “Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan”. I don't think it'll matter where in the world you go, that will still be a really goofy name.
Anyway – Saskatchewan sushi! Eating sushi was one of the items of my bucket list and I figure if I end up in Asia somewhere, it'll probably be good to start adjusting myself to raw seafood as soon as possible. So I went to a sushi place. And I ate sushi.
Not much, just three little pieces of California roll. It barely qualifies as sushi in my head, but I thought I'd start small. So here's what I did. First, I stalled by asking seasoned chopsticks user Adrianna how to use chopsticks despite already having a general capability with them myself.
Then I stalled by asking seasoned sushi eater Melanie to demonstrate how to eat a piece. Chopsticks, soy sauce, PUT IT ALL IN YOUR MOUTH AT ONCE! Chew, swallow. Ok.
Then I saw no more reasonable way to stall. So I picked up my chopsticks. I picked up the piece of sushi.
Then, it was my turn to make up the question for our game of Would You Rather. So I put the piece of sushi down and asked whether they'd rather allow their spouse to die or if they'd steal the appropriate medicine to save them. The group split (mostly, the guys said they'd steal and the girls said they wouldn't marry a man who would deliberately steal) and thinking the discussion was a good way to distract myself, I picked up my chopsticks.
I picked up the piece of sushi.
I dipped it in the soy sauce.
I put it in my mouth.
As it was still whole in my mouth, even before I tasted anything and began chewing, my gag reflex kicked in and I almost barfed. I pulled myself back under control. And I closed my teeth. And almost barfed again. Seriously, there was nothing fundamentally awful about anything in my mouth. I just have way too much psychological baggage when it comes to food that once lived in the water. I ate barbequed salmon for the first time in like, fifteen years just last month.
This was far more intimidating than salmon. I looked around the table, hoping to see somewhere I could reasonably throw-up without being thoroughly unsanitary and disgusting. Failing to find one, I put my hand over my mouth and tried not to breathe.
At this point, Jaynette noticed I was having difficulty. “Bit into something you wish you hadn't?” she said, sympathetically.
I shook my head and pointed one finger at my brain.
“Just listen really intently to the conversation while you chew,” said Jaynette.
So I did. Chuck delivered multiple arguments in favour of stealing and was reprimanded by the women until he compromised by saying he'd have to ask God for wisdom and then cross that bridge when he came to it.
I swallowed. My stomach did not immediately send it back up. There was no disgusting aftertaste. I had officially finished my first piece. Victory! At some point in the meal, I did throw my arms triumphantly into the air, but I don't remember if it was after the first or the third piece. At any rate, the second piece went down a little more smoothly than the first, the third was a bit more dicey again, and then I figured that three was enough to say I'd eaten sushi and I gave the rest away.
I finished my teriyaki chicken and rice and enjoyed the conversation. Maybe one day I'll be able to eat raw octopus on rice, but currently I'm content. For lunch today, I'm eating a noodle cup.
“If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison', it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.” Lewis Carroll