Tuesday, April 05, 2005


"If while travelling through Japan you are lucky enough to have the occasion to summit Mt Fuji, you might be one of the fortunate few to observe four suns rising out of the east. Today I shall explain the origin of this great natural wonder of the earth." Akihito smiles with an effortless civility that shines calmness over all of the diners at Aki's Paradise Palace Restuarant. Around fifty people sit in concentric half rings around the sushi bar. They smile while hunger hides in the corners of their mouths. Several have their cameras on the ready.

"In the beginning, Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, desended from the heavens." From the ceiling of the restaurant, a large piece of filleted salmon on two lines of fishing wire descends. The lowering of the salmon coincides with a bright light which shines down on the sushi bar.

"Argghh I am Oni, a miserably disgruntled demon, and I have no use for this horrible goddess whose countenance provides this world with nothing but blinding rays of useless sun-shine." After saying these lines through an ugly grimace of a hand puppet, Akihito slashes his hand-puppet wielding sushi knife through the air cutting the filleted salmon (playing the part of Amaterasu) into two pieces which fall on the table in front of him.

"Ah you have cut me to my very core," he says in a high pitched female voice. His free hand is hidden beneath the piece of salmon animating her speech. "But now there are more of us aren't there," he says, quickly moving his hand beneath the other piece.

With a swiftness that inspires gasps in the audience he brings the knife down on the one moving piece of sushi. "I will carve you up until there is none of you left to speak then," he shouts in a low growl of a monster's voice.

Relieved delight replaces shock on the faces in the crowd as they realize how the swift dexterity of his hands is part of the show

"How can you sever a ray of sun-shine, you foolish demon. Even the keenest blade of a samurai sword could not destroy the essence of a beam of sunlight. No matter how many times you slice me I will rise again and to forever remind you of these words I shall be seen from Mt Fuji as four suns on this very day every year. So have I Amaterasu goddess of the sun spoken and so it shall be."

"Arrrrghhhhh" Akihito returns to the low grumble of a beast, all the while cutting up the salmon into palatable pieces. Waiters come to pick up the salmon to give it to the delighted audience. Applause fills the restaurant. One rather obese man even stands while clapping furiously with meaty hands. It's the most beautiful form of art he's ever seen in his life, he'll later tell his brother back in Ohio. The thought that there are three hour's worth of fables to follow brings tears to his eyes.

Akihito takes the hand-puppet off, smiles and bows graciously for the first scene of the evening.


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