Japanese chef and his passion for cooking

Combining passions to find purpose

posted in: folktale | 0

Takeshi’s passion had always been about cooking. It was born from his childhood days of fishing with his father and cooking up the catch. Dreaming of becoming a world-renowned chef and owning his own restaurant where he could cook his own fish and make his father proud, Takeshi was a determined boy.

His desire was strong throughout his teenage years, he knew early on that he wanted to enter culinary school after graduation. Unfortunately for Takeshi, he had fallen in with the wrong crowd.

They were a wild bunch who loved to party and were always up for a good time. Although their company was enjoyable, there were early warnings that they were a bad influence. They introduced Takeshi to drugs. Before he knew it, he was addicted.

Despite this, he couldn’t bring himself to leave his friends. The instant gratification they brought him outweighed his reservations about being around them. Over time he became afraid of being alone. So he continued to hang even as his addiction grew worse. Eventually, he dropped out of school and began living on his parents’ income.

As time went on, Takeshi’s friends began pushing the limits. They became more reckless and got into trouble with the law. On the night Takeshi and his friends were arrested after a street fight that tragically resulted in the death of a young high schooler. He had the awakening he desperately needed.

After some time in the pen, Takeshi finally returned home and started on to the next part of his journey. 

Dark street of Tokyo symbolizing no passion
Image by Andre Benz

The restaurant was a dreary place, with flickering fluorescent lights and peeling paint on the walls. Yet, since he had always loved cooking, he felt his uncle’s shop was be the place to be. 

Takeshi started by waiting tables, cleaning the bathrooms, and washing dishes. The work was less than enjoyable, and it didn’t take long for him to resent it. He felt trapped there, like a rat in a maze. He longed for something more, but he didn’t know what.

The appeal of culinary school that he once had had disappeared. As years went by, Takeshi became increasingly disillusioned, a loner who lost touch with the world around him. His only companionship was with the pots and pans in the kitchen. He was always exhausted and had stopped caring about anything other than sleep.

Every day was the same: wake up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, and repeat. He felt like he was living in a never-ending nightmare. Though he tried to break free from the cycle, but he didn’t have the energy or motivation to do much of anything. 

Yet more years went by and Takeshi grew older. Regret started to take its course and he felt he had wasted his life – never able to get back the time he had lost. Never being truly happy or following his dreams, he knew it was a dreary existence. He cried to the heavens, asking for his father’s forgiveness. It was his own fault.

A man on a river passionate about fishing
Image by Bundo Kim

Looking at his father’s picture on his wall Takeshi felt a strange sense of nostalgia. Without much thought, he dug out his fishing gear from storage and headed out to the nearby river. It had been some 30 years since he had gone fishing, and he felt a spark of joy at the thought of catching something.

As he cast his line into the water, he felt a sense of calm wash over him. The sound of the rushing river and the chirping of birds filled his ears and his father’s presence. He felt a small weight lift off his shoulders. For the first time in years, Takeshi was truly present in the moment, and he felt a sense of peace.

He waited for a fish to bite and reflected on his life. He realized that he had been living in a state of numbness, going through the motions day after day without any real purpose or passion. He had lost touch with the things that had once brought him joy, like cooking and fishing, and he felt like he had been sleepwalking through life.

As he sat by the river, Takeshi felt a glimmer of hope. He realized that he didn’t have to keep living like this and that he could make changes in his life and find happiness again. He made a promise to himself that he would start pursuing the things that he loved again, starting with fishing.

A sunset on a river
Image by Jeremy Bishop

When the sun began to set and it was time to pack up, a sense of contentment that he hadn’t felt in years passed through him. As he walked back to his car, he felt a newfound sense of purpose and determination. He knew that it wouldn’t be easy to break out of his routine, but he was ready to try.

The next day, when the restaurant reopened, he returned to work with a new attitude. The thought of having his next day off motivated him to work harder. And every weekend, he would wake up early to go out to the river. Reconnecting with the joy he had once felt in fishing, he spent his days casting his line.

Takeshi’s rekindled passion for fishing started to take up more and more of his time. But, it wasn’t just for relaxation. He started to incorporate his love for fishing into his work and sure enough into the kitchen. He experimented with new seafood dishes and created a special “catch of the day” menu that featured fresh fish he had caught himself. The customers at the restaurant loved it, and soon he became known for its unique and delicious seafood dishes.

As Takeshi’s reputation as a skilled chef grew, he started to receive offers from other restaurants in the area. But Takeshi knew that he was happy where he was. He had found a way to combine his two passions, cooking and fishing, and he didn’t want to give that up.

Takeshi’s life was still far from perfect, but for the first time in years, he felt like he was on the right path. And as he stood by the river, casting his line and feeling the sun on his face, he knew that he was exactly where he was meant to be. He knew that he was going to be okay.

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