greetings Earthlings. My name is John. I'm writing this message from my office at Alliant International University. The school mascot is a lion, and the name of this building is "The Roar". So basically, I hold down the fort and get paid to watch movies, play pool / ping pong, practice the piano at the student lounge. I am super blessed.
Eventually I realized that Tower 23 was not for me. Yeah, the location was great, and the fish was very fresh, but I didn’t want to work with Krab (AKA Russian Pollock) or Spicy Tuna. The eel sauce had High Fructose Corn Syzurp, so I set out to find a job at an authentic Japanese Sushiya.
Matsu Gawa means Tree River. To the owner, this meant that Jacob was like a tree planted next to a river. I thought to myself, Christian Sushi. TIGHT! The chef's name was Azuma. I witnessed this man turn a carrot into a butterfly. Washing dishes was delicate because the plates were art too, but required speed and timing be cooking and cleaning. When Azuma took his cigarette break we would exchange a few words. <<nanto imas ka beautiful?>> <<anatawa kirei des.>> One time he told me of when he was my age.
Azuma-san studied at college in Japan during the 70’s and worked in the evenings at the local sushi spot. He recalled on an occasion serving food to a professor, who asked him 'Do you know where daikon (radish sprouts) come from?'. Azuma learned that this plant was not native to Japan, but introduced through the Silk Road, an ancient trade route extending from Rome to China and Japan. When his professor invited him to travel to Italy, him and a friend accepted the challenge. Such began an adventure by plane to China, and by car through Afghanistan to Italia. They stopped along the road and worked in people’s yards for food and a place to sleep. When he finally arrived in Rome, he bought leather shoes. <<come si dice? le scarpe>> That was the end of the story, and he laughed to think about how nice the shoes were.
He was way cool people, so I accepted the role of short order cook and dishwasher. I could barbeque a mean Hamachi Kama, but after two weeks of working the deep fryer I decided that my adventures in sushi had taught me enough. The California fusion had surpassed the rigidity of the traditional. As a personal trainer, I needed to find a healthier work environment.
So… I got a job in the kitchen at Casa Palmera. It is a skilled nursing facility primarily for women with anorexia, bulimia nervosa, depression and chemical dependency. What more powerful way to touch the lives of starving people than to cook for them. I was reminded of Chef Carter “Smile, it makes the food taste better.” And it did. My firecracker strawberries brightened the days of some the ladies, but it was really my presence and dedication to excellence that gained their favor. Eventually the owners caught word that I was a personal trainer and practiced taichi. I was offered a salary position, where I worked also running errands for the family who ran the hospital. I held a straight face as my boss handed me the keys to his Mercedes Benz S500, and I was sent to get groceries and dry cleaning. At the time I was living a mile and a half down the street, and rode my bike to and from work. It was much fun, but there was serious problems with the program, and I gave up. I made an agreement with one of the patients to wait until she was discharged. I chose to move back home with the family, go back to school and work part-time as an international concierge. Now, I get paid to kick it. I also take groups of students on hikes around San Diego, and even took them on a paintball excursion once. Here is me doing my thang.
When I was a kid my parents hosted foreign exchange students at our home. People from all around the world stayed with us. Thus began the international network. Several years ago I traveled with my brother to Europe, visiting friends in Switzerland and Italy. The homeboy Guido lives in a small town in the German part of Switzerland, and during the week that we stayed at his house in the country, we had the opportunity to travel to Interlocken, where we white water rafted and mountain biked. The trek up the hill on the mountain bikes took us about 4 hours with an hour break in the middle. The way down happened in less than 40 minutes. AWESOME!!! We also went swimming in several lakes. I highly recommend visiting Switzerland during the summer, and one of these days I am goingback in the winter to snowboard. Italy was beautiful too. Non vedo l'ora di tornare. va bene.
So last March when Guido came to visit us, my family decided to visit Yosemite for the first time. I am officially addictted to waterfalls. On the first day, my friend Matthew and I did some recon by car, climbed up the slippery rocks to the base of Bridel Veil. Day two early morning we attacked Half Dome. One of the most intense workouts and by far most rewarding hike to date. The third and final day I went to a certain lookout spot with my parents and Guido. As we walked up there was a large gathering looking down the hill. As I came around I noticed that everyone was staring at a bear. 50 feet down the hill the bear wandered around until it reached the bottom of a fallen tree that led to ten feet infront of me. As the bear charged up the tree towards the group, everyone turned and ran screaming. Suddenly it was up to me. So I threw my hands in the air and shouted "BEAR! Get out of here! ARH". Immediately the bear went back down the hill, and halfway down turned it's head as if to see that I was serious. I shouted again "Go on Bear. Get!" while clapping my hands. The bear disappeared. I felt great. For months I had been considering becoming a Park Ranger as an eventual career progression from personal trainer. I now feel somewhat qualified. Crisis averted. As we returned home, something was different. I had conquered the bear with pure fearlessness. I don't know if that is a word, but it felt good. More to come about my Swizz homies. Peace in the Middle East.
So after the University of California Los Angeles, I came home to San Diego to open a private personal training gym with a couple of buddies. 9 months later, studio was looking great, business is about to get off the ground when I discovered one of my business partner's deceitfulness and immoral business practices. Unforetunately I was forced to leave the situation, to walk away from my dream before it had been truly realized. I took it in stride, but it was a big disappointment.
I needed money, but didn't want to work at a big franchise gym, so I got a job as a P.E. teacher for Delphi Academy in La Jolla. It was SO much fun. Played tag for hours, and it was such a great workout I usually was in bed by like 7pm. Haha. Only program was that the school was owned by the Church of Scientology, and after about two months they started to really trip me out to the point that I could no longer work there. Because of the previously mentioned kitchen experience, I was able to land a job at a sushi bar. JRDN is a waterfront restaurant at Tower 23 Hotel in Pacific Beach. It was there that the second nutrition revolution took place in my life. Most important was the view...
I did a stint at UCLA, and during my second year there I had an opportunity to work for Executive Chef Bill Carter at a place of wonder. As a young man the Playboy Mansion had much allure to me. I would eventually learn the true nature of beauty, but for about 9 months I was a part of this elite kitchen staff.
On this particular occasion I was handed the responsibility of working in the backyard serving hotdogs. I wasn't too excited about this position, so when another young lady from the kitchen staff offered to switch jobs to serve popcorn instead of hotdogs, I was game. As I walked to the popcorn stand I realized that it had a prime location directly infront of the boxing ring that had been erected for the event. It was also about five feet from the DJ stand, although the guest DJ had not yet arrived.
So there I was, ringside at an amateur boxing match in a tropical paradise of a yard. And did I mention the peacocks. Flamingos were in the lagoon next to the famous grotto, and peacocks circled me like sharks, hoping for a fallen kernel of popcorn. Then who do you know shows up to the turntables, none other than DJ Bizmarkie. So, I said what up, he asked for some popcorn, and we kicked back to watch the first fight.
In between the first and second match I was approached by Roy Jones Jr., wearing his title which he has since lost. He strolls up and asks for some popcorn. As I scoop up a bag, I notice a peacock sneak up on me, trying to get some popcorn. Although I was never given explicit instructions not to feed the wild birds, I was not about to let this exotic animal choke and die on my watch, so I stomp next to it to try and scare it off. The bird jumped seven feet in the air, and continued to flap straight upward and finally landed on a tree branch 30 ft in the air. I never knew that peacocks could fly. Neither did Roy Jones Jr. and he freaked out. After jumping back and running away, he was no longer interested in popcorn. And when he went up against Tarver, I knew he was shook.