Archive for April, 2014

The best sushi in the world

April 25, 2014

This week President Obama was in Japan and had sushi at a revered and tiny temple of sushi in Tokyo called the subterranean restaurant, with just 10 seats.

The sushi Obama had was carefully crafted by 89-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono.

“His sushi is the best in the world,” says David Gelb. “For someone who has a taste for true, pure Japanese sushi, it’s a place you have to go to.”

What is it like to dine at such an iconic place? For starters, the restaurant is hidden in the basement of an office building and offers only one item on its menu — the omakase course, which can cost between $300 and $400 per person. It consists of 20 pieces of sushi, prepared and served one at a time.

“There are no appetizers, no rolls of any kind,” Gelb says. “It’s purely his style of sushi, which is the classic Tokyo style. It is basically just fish and rice and seasoning, maybe a soy sauce or a nikiri, which is a kind of sweetened soy sauce.”

If you’re fortunate enough to be one of Ono’s costumers, don’t even think about ordering off the menu. “Jiro would not change his sushi for anyone,” Gelb says, adding that “he just gives you what he feels is the best of the day.”

And Ono really means the best. Every day, for instance, he massages the octopus he’s planning to serve for an hour.

More …

You have to love your job.

You must fall in love with your work.

— Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The Japanese call it shibui, simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements.

— Japan Sukiyabashi Jiro 3-Star Sushi

Interesting and surprising statements about education

April 24, 2014

I think this is a great statement:

Education is an engine
for upward mobility.

This statement about colleges and universities surprised me:

It is cheaper to attend
private schools than it
is to attend public schools.
The reason is that private
schools provide lots of
grants, whereas public
schools do not.

Interesting facts about bananas

April 20, 2014

Today I learned some really interesting things about bananas:

Bananas don’t actually grow on trees—they grow on plants that are officially classified as an herb (not surprisingly, the world’s largest herb). They’re in the same family as lilies, orchids, and palms.

Americans eat an average of 27 pounds of bananas per person every year.

Residents of Uganda eat an average of 500 pounds of bananas per person every year.

Rubbing a banana peel on your forehead can help cure a headache.

People started cultivating bananas 9,000 years ago.

More interesting facts about bananas:

Feel the wind on your skin

April 12, 2014

Here is a wonderful story that I recently read:

As a young man my father raced bicycles. He was a very good amateur racer who won 100-mile road races. He met my mother then, and because she couldn’t stand to see the inevitable crashes and injuries, he did not pursue a professional career but instead became a journeyman carpenter.

The bike was put aside as the country became involved in World War II. Because of his carpentry skill, Dad was put to work building barracks, finally becoming a crew chief working in Yakima, Washington, on the building in which the atomic bomb was created.

Fast-forward 40 years to when Dad was in his late 60s and he began to race again in age-group races, much to my mother’s consternation.

This long preamble leads to a conversation I had with my Dad when he was about 80. He had a summer home at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and on most weekends he would ride around the lake, a hilly 30-plus miles. One day, as he pedaled up to me at the end of a ride, he was drenched in sweat. It was 90-plus degrees and humid. I asked him how he felt after that long ride. All he could talk about was how the wind felt on his sweat-drenched body and how most people did not understand the deep pleasure and satisfaction that wind against the body gave. His contemporaries, of course, many of whom could barely walk, all thought he was crazy.

They would ask him why anyone would subject himself to what they saw as torture. He thought the answer was very simple—the only way to experience the wind was to ride. Wanting that feeling was the reason he rode. He never rode “for exercise”; he rode for pleasure. He rode to feel the wind on his skin.

The body adapts quickly, so change often

April 11, 2014

Diets, just like exercise training programs,
work for a while but not forever.

— Jose Antonio, Ph.D.

A supple spine for youthfulness and long life

April 6, 2014

Recently I watched a YouTube video of a 1960 TV show featuring a Yogi [1]. He said something that really hit me:

There is a natural tendency for the
ligaments to get shortened as you
get old. Often, by the age of 40 or 50
the body has become like a statue.
The Yogi’s method is to keep the body
elastic and supple, especially the spinal
column. By doing so, we can maintain
our youth and have a long life.

Recently I have been going to a place that offers “hot Yoga” instruction (the room is heated to 100 degrees and is very humid). I shockingly discovered that — yikes! — I have become one of those “statues” that the Yogi refers to. I am pretty inflexible. I am determined to work diligently in the upcoming months to reverse this and get back my youthful suppleness.

[1] Yogi Swami Vishnudevananda on TV in 1960: