Sushi, Diabetes and Frivolous Lawsuits


Here in the LA Times we have a story about a man with Diabetes who refused to eat the rice in an “all the sushi you can eat” special offer at a sushi restaurant, wanting only the fish. I think the kicker here is that the chef kindly offered to prepare him sashimi specifically, but the customer dramatically refused – and then sued for “over $4000.” What an ass.

Not for the last time will I say this: “sushi” is vinegared rice. If you’re not eating the rice, you’re not eating sushi. The chef would be quite literally compromising his craft to take any other stance.

Key para:

Oh said he offered to prepare sashimi for Martin. Two orders of sashimi cost $25, or $3 less than the all-you-can-eat sushi deal. But Oh said Martin declined the offer.

To me, this makes all the legal and moral difference in the world. If you want sashimi – that is, the sliced fish – then order sashimi. Don’t order all you can eat sushi and not eat the sushi (i.e. the rice).

For his lack of respect, the customer wants $4000+ for humiliation and discrimination for his disability.

Sir, you have a medical condition, not a disability. Disability is someone who can’t walk because of a genetic defect. I have Type 2 diabetes; I take pills before meals. I’m fortunate that I do not have to take insulin, but I do not. I realize this might impact my enjoyment of Japanese meals if I was living in Japan, but people would understand… and by the same token, I wouldn’t be baka enough to go after all-you-can-eat sushi.

More to the point, just going after the fish is abusive to the hospitality of the chef and is in effect robbing him of his work.

It’s not just a financial mugging; it’s a cultural mugging. Maybe the image of “sushi” as the fish is being preyed upon here. But we have no obligation to humor cultural ignorance as the basis for a frivolous lawsuit. Nor greed.

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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