Once upon a time, important enlightenment penetrated this malleable mind at the most delicious yakitori shops in all of Japan.
This out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall was run by the dishevelled master~
and his somewhat rustic wife.
This kind of special place was truly representative of the Japan one encountered often back in the early days, but these kinds of atmospheric shop, alas, are now slowly fading away.
The kitchen floor was like a traditional style Japanese farm house—earthen.
Not only was his electrical octopus maxed out, it was also smothered in grease—a wonder the place didn’t burn down.
Often the guests coming in later were those who carried out business outside traditional hours.
One of the boys plopped himself right down beside this Occxie and started to chit-chat about this and that.
Always amicable for conversation, one could not help but notice this individual was missing both his pinkies and a ring finger.
Nonetheless, there was never reason to inquire as to his line of work while engaging him with mediocre Japanese language skills.
The protocol here is to adhere to the age-old adage:
Do not judge a book by its cover.
All guest, no matter what class or status, were there united in a common purpose—to consume the masterfully cooked Toricho chicken-on-a-skewer—among many other types of home-style cooking in the Japanese country kitchen.
Toricho holds a very special place in the heart of this country-boy who came from a very far away and conceptually remote world.
This was a very favourite place to go to in the wee hours of one’s youth, and two dearly departed friends, in particular were an important part of that particular period.
The closing time of this joint?
When the last customer left.
Often in tandem with the crowing of the roosters and the distant sound of newspaper deliverymen making rounds at the crack of dawn on the standard Honda Cub 50.
When asked what the secret was to his delicious chicken he said:
“Cook the parts that aren’t.”
This stuck as a metaphor for things one starts but never finishes.
Half baked one could say.
This comes into much more clear focus as the week and month really start to whisk by as the days of one’s life upon earthly paradise dwindle away one-by-one—mostly unnoticed—until the final decline.
It is folly to believe all whims of youth should come to fruition, but the niggling in the heart and the voice whispering in the ear for years can not be silenced—not up until the final door—marked EXIT.
One has had a few of these uncooked items on the metaphorical plate for eons, and now the forward motion and inspiration to “cook the parts that aren’t” are palpable—again in the immortal words of the Toricho master:
“Cook the parts that aren’t.”
The secret of the Toricho chicken-on-a-skewer was never revealed as the heavy smoking and mostly drunk Toricho master passed away early (50ish), and the shop close many moons ago today.
He passed his life in service to the hungry and thirsty of our community without giving a thought to his lot one way or another, for his destine was to be the Toricho master, and thus it was so.
Life passes by in the blink of an eye, so one must finish the unfinished masterpieces of one own life, before it’s too late, and to “cook the parts that aren’t.”