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Sometimes I walk by a shutter that has a large picture of shrimp tempura on it. It always sparks a craving in me. It also reminds me of when I first came to Japan so many years ago. Back then, the idea of eating raw fish was abhorrent to me. If the fish wasn't cooked it wasn't worth eating, I thought. I was staying at my friend’s house. His parents were living in Ohio because of his dad's work. One day the dad came home and he was excited to take me out to dinner. “I'm going to take you to the best sushi shop in town,” he said. I was mortified but I couldn't say anything because I thought it would be rude to refuse him since I had been staying in his house for free for about two months. So, despite the feeling of dying inside, I went with him to the sushi shop. We ate salmon, eel, tuna, yellowtail, scallops, and all of the sushi standards. I pretended like I enjoyed the meal even though I was disgusted. “Oh, this is delicious Mr. Shimizu!” I lied as I stuffed my face until my lie had become the truth. Somewhere between being grossed out at the first bite of raw fish and the last sting of wasabi, something clicked in my brain. Sushi had actually become delicious to me. Not only had it become tasty, but I also found myself having a craving for it afterward. Maybe it was something they put in the rice. Maybe it's the combination of wasabi and soy sauce. Whatever it was, I was hooked and I've never looked back. Some types of sushi still grossed me out like raw horse meat or raw chicken. Otherwise, the biggest lesson I learned from my trip to the sushi shop with Mr. Shimizu was that fear can spoil a good meal.


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