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The Zen of Fish

As part of my (late) birthday present, my sister bought me two books I’ve been wanting to read for a while: The Zen of Fish and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (Hey, we all have to do our part to prove Steve Jobs wrong.) I finished reading The Zen of Fish last week, and I’ll probably save reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma for the flight to Japan.

While it may read like a fictional drama, The Zen of Fish is, in reality, a nonfiction documentary. The author, Trevor Corson, actually spent three months at the California Sushi Academy following each of the characters around and taking notes on everything he saw and heard. Real people and real facts, but not overly boring (as I often imagine documentaries to be). The story follows the life of Kate Murray as she leaves everything behind to attend the California Sushi Academy. Playing the classic role of ingénue, Kate starts the academy with next to no experience and faces difficulties from the start. The story continues with Kate facing challenge after challenge and reveling in small victoires. It’s your typical feel good story. Hardly novel.

If this were all there was to the book, I’d be pretty upset, but Corson doesn’t disappoint. Kate may be the main character, but sushi is what truly takes center stage. Corson packs The Zen of Fish with interesting information about every aquatic life form that finds its way into our stomachs. From toro (fatty tuna) to tako (octopus), it’s all in there. In fact, I felt like the story was just something Corson tacked on to make the book feel less encyclopedic. I didn’t feel for any of the characters, but I loved all the fish facts. But then again, I’m the kind of guy that reads Wikipedia recreationally.

If you’re interested in sushi, even if it’s just a tiny bit, this book is worth a read.

Winkflash review

I’ve got some painfully bare walls. Other than a guitar chord poster (and the free chord progression chart that came with it), a clock, and a drawing Tawin’s sister put on my wall when she came to visit from Hawaii, I’ve got nothing but a whole lot of white space.

Part of the problem is the double-edged sword of renting instead of owning the place you live in. On the bright side, I can move out at any time (not quite, but it’s still easier than if I owned a place); on the down side, I might move out at any time, so painting the walls—and then painting them back if/when I move out—is something I don’t want to deal with.

I needed a less permanent solution, so a few months back, I had a hundred of my Flickr photos printed onto Moo mini cards, but no matter how I arranged them, the tiny cards always looked out of place. Straight into the dark gray Ikea wire trash can they went.

I still think photos are my best bet for banishing the overwhelming amount of white that greets me every morning, though. The Moo mini cards didn’t work out, so I decided to go bigger–12×16 inch posters. Some quick searching revealed winkflash. The web site is ugly as hell (I’m talking web 1.0 ugly), but they had the lowest price I could find for posters, so I took a chance. Shipping was on the slow side, taking a week for my first print to arrive. Despite their poor web presence, I’m happy to say they do a damn good job at their core business of printing. Now I just need to find some good/cheap frames.