Cogito Ergo Sushi

Yasuaki Shimizu / translated by Alfred Birnbaum

“Hey, Shimizu, you headin’ out? Haulin’ that big suitcase, where to?”

“Er-uh, and a good morning to you too, Mr Sushi Man. Actually, I’m off to Narita.”

“Narita? What dern fool nonsense you talkin’? Goin’ to Narita Shrine lookin’ like that! Cain’t fool me, I wasn’t born yesterday. Stand and ‘xplain yourself. Wher’izit you think you’re goin’, eh? Where!”

“On a trip.”

“A trip, you say? Don’t need no huge suitcase like that just for a trip! Got to be some dee-eep dark purpose to it. I’m listenin’, just try me.”

“Purpose? I can’t explain in 1600 words or less. Even more to the point, I don’t have time, so if you’ll excuse me.”

“Now just a dern minute! Cain’t let you just walk outa here without no rhyme or reason.”

“Listen Mister, enough joking around, please. I get it, really I understand. But I’m leaving, see? Overseas. I’m going abroad.”

“Goin’ there doin’ that, you think you’re gonna become a fer’gner, s’that it?”

“No, nothing of the sort. I’ve got personal interests, and for some time now I’ve been thinking to liven things up by changing my living surroundings. By which I mean, put on hold all the various channels of information I’ve swallowed unconsciously so as to lead the semblance of a real life here, and move to a different reality, thereby experiencing the frictions of adjusting with that living environment, which I do believe might cause wellsprings of authentic inspiration to gush forth!”

“Great! . . . I wish I could say, but hey, you’re livin’ in a time warp. An anachronism. Today’s world, we’re in the Era of Virtual Civil’zation! In this day and age you don’t look at things hor’zontal like, these’re vertical times. You don’ need be traipsing off overseas to feel no flappin’ fetterless communion unbound. It’s all relative think, so all that don’t ‘mount to fishbait. You’re young, so mind you watch your step. Think with the soles of your feet, boy, the soles of your feet. When this ol’ fogey’s squeezin’ out them nigiri sushi, these fingertips cain feel right down to the sub-micro-micro, from time immemorial all the way to the future, get in such ecstasy cain’t rightly tell if I’m makin’ sushi or not.”

“That, you old codger, is the perfect totalitarianism. I’m not going abroad to achieve some cheap self-satisfaction. I believe I know wherefore I am: my interest lies seeing all different places, in probing deeper via broadly experiencing the varieties of human interaction at the everyday level, in verifying what has not bent to rampant uniformity, in grasping these very methods of verification in their nonconformity.”

“Listen to the Cogito Kid! A dragonfly’d laugh at all that thinkie-feelie nonsense! Or maybe, I take that back, what’s a point of even talkin’ to the likes of you? Off with you, away. Get goin’ wherever ‘tis you’re goin’.”

“So okay, good as done, I’m off. Thanks for everything for so long.”

“Hey! Just wait sec, here’s some sushi made with my own heart and soul. Snack for the bus ride. Just to let you know, this ol’ fool’ll be thinkin’ of you.

No hard feelin’s, eh?” “Same here, didn’t mean to be running off so proud at the mouth like that. Thank you.”

“So tell me then, what country s’it you’re movin’ to?”

“Gimme a break, Mr Sushi Man, I’m only moving around the corner to the Daiwa Condo three doors down. This heading overseas is just a bit of a lark. Or no, if I go all the way around the world, that’ll make me a foreign-returnee global citizen won’t it? Ha ha.”