the blue water café

Posted: October 22, 2011 in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I love sushi.

Before I discovered I loved sushi I hated sushi. This was curious considering I had never eaten it. Generally I consider myself an open-minded person. Yet when it came to this particular Japanese delight my mind slammed shut tighter than Scrooge’s wallet. It’s a belief I stuck with for a long time for the silliest of reasons: an imagined reaction. I imagined once a piece of sushi hit my mouth I would retch with the grace of a high school senior who drank too much spiked punch, ruining my taste buds forever. The more I thought about it the more I knew it eating it would be as reprehensible as bathing in clam juice. I mean, seriously. Raw fish? Who eats raw fish? More importantly, why eat raw fish? I didn’t care that it’s sheltered by seaweed (which also doesn’t help encourage a person to dive right in), rice and tiny bits of veggies. Draping slice of ginger across it or dipping it in soy sauce or dabbing it with that phosphorescent green wasabi stuff wasn’t much of an inducement either. As far as I was concerned the sushi-eating sickos would prefer I didn’t join their weird cult. In that way there would be more raw fish for them with me sitting on the shoreline, as it were.

As is often the case in life our imagination not only gets the best of us, it irrationally influences our decisions. But now and then that moment comes when everything is aligned and old beliefs become susceptible to new ideas.

One day I was invited to a business lunch. Without asking where we were going I suddenly found myself seated in a sushi joint. It looked clean, didn’t smell funky and other diners wore content, blissful expressions. This environmental purity helped lower my guard. When asked what I wanted I told my colleague since I was a sushi virgin I’d leave it up to him. Sneaky bastard chose eel and cucumber rolls. I never knew such a thing existed. As horrifying as it sounded I’m nothing if not gracious, so I gave it a whirl. And what do you know? It was fabulous! Since then I’ve been a card carrying sushi loving cult member.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about sushi. Actually, I thought I knew almost everything there was to know. Until yesterday when I was once again humbled by the boundless extent of my ignorance. I found out something new: If you love sushi do not go to an aquarium on an empty stomach. It’s torture.

The lovely Ms. Trask and I spent yesterday at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. Camden is one of the jewels of New Jersey, a place with a crime problem so bad the only people left for criminals to vandalize are other criminals. It’s just like Congress in that way. However, one shining light in this model of urban blight is the Adventure Aquarium. It’s really a fine place to spend a few hours. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not eating a full meal before trekking to South Jersey to stare at the purdy fishes. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a museum-type place where I found myself salivating at the exhibits. I tried to combat this inappropriate reaction by eating what the aquarium café humorously called a hamburger. It didn’t help. As we strolled past the various displays I pictured many of the beautiful fish delicately balancing between a pair of chopsticks. I figured the only way to get my mind off reaching into a tank and snacking on Nemo (and consequently scarring a class of 4th graders on a field trip for life) was to stop thinking of them as lunch and instead think of them as photography subjects. I had a camera. It was worth a try.

Let me tell you, as photography subjects fish are better suited as a meal. They won’t sit still, the darting little buggers. So most of the shots I took ended up with an “artistic blur.” Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy these few photos from the Adventure Aquarium. Or as I now refer to it, The Blue Water Café.

  1. AriRambles says:

    Coming from East India, have been a fish eater from childhood.. one of my most loved food.. yet, somehow – never tried sushi… definitely on my “MUST EAT BEFORE DIE” list…

    BTW, your pics are absolutely gorgeous!!


  2. BrainRants says:

    Sushi is one of those foods that you have to take away from me because I will just keep eating it. I will totally destroy some sushi.


  3. John says:

    @sparkle: So did chickens. Just saying. lol


  4. sparklebumps says:

    I SO want to try sushi, but I’m TERRIFIED!


  5. I’ve tried sushi and it’s okay. Some combinations are better than others. My issue with it is the rolls are too big to shove the whole thing in my mouth without me looking like a squirrel with a winter’s supply of acorns in its mouth, but if I try to bite into it or cut it into smaller pieces, it falls apart. I’d rather have a steak (which can be almost raw).

    Great post and lovely photos!


    • John says:

      Admittedly it’s pretty tough to look graceful when shoving something the size of a rock into your mouth. But whatever it lacks in culinary aesthetic it more than makes up for in delicious yumminess! Of course, steak works too.


  6. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Your pics are gorgeous. And I’ve never tried sushi. Yet another bucket list item for me.


  7. Your post made me giggle, but I’m still not eating raw fish. I do like the pictures though. Poor little fishies never know they had a predator in their midst.


    • John says:

      It seems as if raw fish is the bomb up your way. From what I’ve seen it’s tossed around the Pike Place Market like kids toss a baseball around on a Saturday afternoon. Come join the cult!


  8. Camden, “a place with a crime problem so bad the only people left for criminals to vandalize are other criminals.” LOL! Priceless! I have yet to visit the Camden Aquarium but when I do, I will take your advice to heart. I love sushi and especially, SASHIMI! Look out, fish!


  9. John says:

    He tried to hide, but to no avail!


  10. Donna-Lee says:

    I think you found Nemo 🙂


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