I love sushi. I really love it and I’ve enjoyed sushi at restaurants all over the country and beyond.
You know how, at some restaurants, they have a menu that shows pictures of the individual pieces or the roll, to help customers know what to expect? And sometimes, next to certain kinds of rolls they have the words “Challenging Sushi.”
The first time I saw that on a menu it really caught my eye. I deduced that there are some types of sushi that have a tougher texture or unique flavor that would cause American customers to complain or send back the meal. The restaurant wanted to prevent this by warning them ahead of time. Like once when I ordered little fried shrimp the waitress informed me clearly that they still had their heads and and was I SURE I wanted that? (Answer: yes.)
I mention the above because I have embraced the “challenging sushi” concept but not for food. For people.
I refer to certain people “Challenging Sushi” when their personality characteristics are appealing but not for everyone. They might be overly bossy or prone to gloomy moods. They might be a bit stuck on themselves (sometimes with good reason, sometimes not).
My theory is that some people are easy going and happy. They are the sushi everyone likes, like salmon roll or California roll. Universally enjoyed. But others require a more refined palette. Our culture tends to teach us to judge these types of people, but if you do that you miss out on a lot of deliciousness, uniqueness and depth. If you only ever order salmon roll, for example it would get pretty boring before long. You need to branch out and give salmon skin a whirl, or maybe try a Chirashi to mix it up.
I know and love many challenging sushi people, and I do not drive us both crazy by harboring the notion they should be anything other than what they are. Do you look at the menu and demand octopus be tuna? No you do not.
Even if you don’t realize it, challenging sushi types can teach us a lot. They are often extremely intelligent, creative, darkly funny or, at the very least they can show us how to NOT relate to people or look at things. There are a lot of gifts over on the challenging side of the menu.
Maybe if you have a few of these types in your life, my sushi metaphor can bring you both some peace and a new perspective. I was going to say you could just roll with it but that would be a terrible pun, so never mind.
Barbara Wayman, APR
BlueTree Media, LLC