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From entertainment sushi to pension sushi

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My favorite sushi restaurant is in the former Tsukiji outer market in Tokyo. It is a small sushi bar with only one counter table that can accommodate a maximum of eight seats. I will not disclose its name and location since I am afraid it would become more difficult to make a reservation. That’s where I often entertain close friends from abroad.

The sushi they serve is supreme. Of course, it is not cheap but the price is reasonable considering the top quality. I always enjoy not only the cuisine but also conversation with the oyakata, the master chef of the restaurant. Last weekend I went there with my family. Oyakata is a bit older than me and we started talking about our ages and careers.

A prodigious chef, he has been serving sushi for more than a half century. He said, “You shouldn’t say you are already 70. I am always telling myself ‘you are just 70’ when making sushi.” He went on, “After these long years, you shouldn’t say ‘you had enough’ in life.” This made sense to me as I’ll be 70 in five years.

“Oyakata,” I said, “I became 65 this year and I plan to leave the front-line next year.” He asked why and I said, “If I continue my project till I get sick or die without handing it over to the younger generation, the project will not survive.” I also said, “However, Oyakata, if I retire, I cannot come back here as often as I want.”

“Why not?,” Oyakata asked me and my answer was, “Ordinary businesspersons enjoy your sushi here on their companies’ entertainment expense accounts. After retirement, however, most of them will have to come and........

© The Japan Times