I grew up in Cherokee County and never encountered sushi. Back in the day, we called raw fish “bait;” and I never felt a need to change my mind.

Fast forward a handful of decades.

A church member mentioned frequenting a local Japanese restaurant. David claimed his grandchildren enjoyed the California rolls while he dined on sashimi. He invited an associate pastor and me to lunch.

The hostess provided “Fun Chop” helpers for my chopsticks. They’re designed for young children and old gaijin. I managed to manipulate the salad into my mouth without mishap. They thankfully supplied an old-fashioned spoon for the soup.

The appetizers blended rice, avocados, vegetables, and crab. I felt quite cosmopolitan spearing the tapas with my toddler chopsticks. The main entrée plated a variety of raw fish, featuring several types of tuna, salmon, and an unidentified fish that may or may not have been mermaid.

My tentative nibbles turned into appreciative bites as I enjoyed the gastronomical adventure. Only a few morsels remained on the plate by the end of dinner. I thanked my host for the new experience.

Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. It just takes a little raw fish. Maybe I’ll try tandem skydiving next.

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