Ever since elementary school I have chose to be “alive” rather than just “live”
This has caused a myriad of challenges especially for my parents and most of my teachers.
I had straight F’s in conduct from 1st grade to 6th grade across the board and the principal of Sinclair Elementary school, Mrs Deubel hated me and I am very proud of that fact.
Especially the fond memories surrounding her face tightening like a prune at the very sight of me in her office.
You see the reason she hated me is because she couldn’t control me or figure me out. Hate just means “you don’t understand”. As a kid I found it humiliating to sit at a desk and be trained like a sheep to work in a factory one day. Even early in life my instincts just told me to fight the conformity of the whole thing.
I remember Mrs. Murray who I gave a lot of grief to (I even glued her shoes to the floor) going on a rant about how “evil” the Pink Floyd song “Another Brick in The Wall” was. She was specifically upset with the lyrics in the chorus “We don’t need no education”
I so identified with that song and rock and roll at the time because it is about rebellion. How can you not rebel in an education system designed to train you to work in a factory and become a member of the herd. The bell rings and then they herd you to the next class. Everyone goes to the bathroom at the same time and to lunch at the same time. You have to ask permission to go to the bathroom?
Kids that are bright tend to stick out from the herd and are punished for being a “Problem Child”.
A great AC/DC song by the way. The nail that sticks up is the one that gets hammered down. In the system the hammer comes way of Ritalin or some other drug or a convenient label like ADD. ADD is such a complete crock it frustrates me to no avail. I am very lucky in I get to do what I love for a living. Play my guitar, I am a teacher first and Player second.
I see so many bright kids humiliated by the system it breaks my heart. I do everything in my power at my guitar dojo to be a light and show them a way out through music. The word educate is derived from the latin word “edu” which means to “draw out of”. The exact opposite happens in our system. Some legislators get together and decide what they are going to project on to the minds of our youth. They are not concerned with their individuality and well being.
I had someone I thought was a good teacher helping me teach while my mom was ill for a while. When I came back and took over I discovered I was wrong. This person was just like the legislators (all about themselves). Deciding what the student will be learning. This person even told me one time about this young girl that has become amazing now that I am back. “I am not teaching her ‘Linkin Park’ I refuse to teach her that trash”. I took a different route and used the music she loved to inspire and motivate her and lead her on to great things. Her and her Mother both commented to me that they like my approach and results better. They even signed her brother up with me who had been taking lessons from someone else for years.
I don’t tell you any of this to impress you, but to impress upon you the true value of being real and being a teacher that listens to the student. Not a narcissist that projects on to them what they think the student should be.
This is precisely why I am going to home school my children. I have worked with a lot of home schooled children over the years and the difference is phenomenal. I know firsthand of this.
Almost everything you hear in our society is bullshit. For example;
“Those who can do, those who can’t teach”
Absolute bullshit! Some of the greatest teachers I have ever had were incredible doers. That precisely why I am one, I was very lucky and I learned from the best.
My classical guitar teacher Chris Carrington is a hell of a guitar player. The best I have heard and I have heard a lot of them. My Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor Carlos Machado is one of the best teachers on the planet. He also can do it and is a world champion. I have seen him tap out black belts from all over in just minutes.
Everyone is a teacher rather they know it or not and the first person you must learn to educate is yourself. When you have children you are a teacher. In your relationships you are a teacher. You are a teacher to your team and employees and co-workers and even your friends.
Here is where the difference lies:
There is a huge difference between those who can DO and those who can TEACH what they do.
There is the calibration and where the origins of the aforementioned bullshit phrase true meaning was lost.
So with that being said let me teach you something fun about one of my favorite subjects;
When I first moved to Dallas/FW there were 3 real Japanese restaurants that served sushi.
Royal Tokyo, Mr. Sushi and Hana. My best friend Jim Taylor took me to eat sushi after a Judo tournament and I fell in love with the cuisine and the culture. This was in the early 90’s and in the almost twenty years since then I have educated myself to a level I could never have imagined. I even became involved in bringing a real authentic Japanese restaurant Keiichi to my hometown Denton, TX.
Over the years Sushi restaurants have exploded in popularity so much that it is threatening the stocks of many fish and the great fisheries on our planet. Japan just signed a treaty to cease harvesting Blue Fin Tuna. This is sad, there are so many so-called Japanese restaurants in Dallas/FW they are like “dry cleaners” they are everywhere, however very few are even close to being the real deal. Even fewer are owned by real Japanese who uphold the tradition and the honor and respect so essential to it’s history.
The same can be said with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Because of the quality and effectiveness of the instruction of the Gracie family and their cousins the Machado Brothers. The art has exploded and every school teaches “:Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu now. Why? Because it is popular and will make them money.
You see where I am going with all this? Back to the herd mentality we see in the schools.
Truly get to know things, especially yourself, go to the heart, to your core and always leave your ego at the door.
It is inevitable that things evolve, Japanese cuisine will evolve as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will evolve. I understand that but get to know the history and respect it and learn it’s origins.
Here are some keys to truly getting to know Japanese cuisine.
When you go to a sushi restaurant sit at the sushi bar. This way you can interact with the chef and have a much more intimate experience. One of the reasons this is important is so that the chef hands you what he makes immediately and you can eat it while fresh. If the sushi is sitting there waiting for a waitress to notice it and then getting around to bringing it to to you.
The nori (seaweed) gets soggy and this makes for a much more unpleasant experience.
I remember talking with my friend Dr. Jeff Viaclovsky about this phenomena years ago in Austin at Mushashino in Austin. I remember up and coming chef Tyson Cole who used to be at Kyoto lighting up and agreeing with me from behind the bar. With that kind of sensitivity I knew he was going places and he sure has. He has his own sushi restaurant in Austin now called “Uchi” which means house in Japanese. It is excellent.
Here is a great subtle way to see if you are dealing with a real Japanese chef. Order a Kanpyo roll, Kanpyo is a Japanese pickled pumpkin that is pickled and marinated. It has a wonderful aroma and salty sweet taste. If he looks at you like you are crazy and he doesn’t know what it is. You are not at a real Japanese restaurant.
If the restaurant uses fake crabmeat Kani-Kama run for the hills. This is a sign that they are cheap and focusing on profit not quality. Authenticity and quality are essential to the Japanese and no chef with any type of respect for himself and his customers would try and pawn that crap off as a substitute for crabmeat.
Inside out rolls are another sign to watch out for. This started as a way to hide that they are using cheap nori or nori that is not fresh. Nori should be crisp and pop in your mouth. This is my favorite subtlety in Japanese cuisine. This is why I always order hand rolls, I want the seaweed on the outside. If it is chewy and you have to pull at it with your teeth it is not fresh at all.
Order Natto, a delectable Japanese dish that is fermented soybeans and has a coffee like flavor and aroma. It is incredibly good for you and can be ordered in a roll or with tuna.
My favorite is Bakudan, Natto with Japanese Yam, Nori and quail egg.
If they have none of these things you are not at a real Japanese restaurant and you do not know what you are missing. The essence of this wonderful food is in the details and it is a shame that it’s true meaning and delicate subtleties are getting lost in the pop-culture popularity of sushi these days.
By the way sushi just means “with rice” anyone that that mistakenly believes sushi means raw has a lot of catching up and learning to do.
Until Next Time,