Omakase ~ Weike Wang
Surprisingly, I was able to find several stories that began with O, such as Octopus VII by Anna Reeser and Our Day of Grace, by Jim Shepherd. But I decided to go with a story by an Asian writer to help support voices I don’t normally read. So here we go.
Omakase is Japanese for “entrust.” In a sushi restaurant, it means “I’ll leave it up to you,” i.e., the sushi chef’s choice. It is the favorite thing to order for both of the characters in this story, but for different reasons. The woman feels overwhelmed by all the choices and tends to second guess herself. The man prefers to go with the flow. She lists her belongings on an Excel spreadsheet and sends it to him before moving in together to make sure there are no multiples of items. He is the type to squint at Excel spreadsheets. This story takes place in a hole-in-the-wall sushi bar in Harlem. It is purported to be the best sushi place in Harlem, but the woman notes, it’s probably also the only one. As the man chats with the chef and flirts with the waitress (which is fine with the woman, she likes to know that he is desired), the woman goes through how they met online, watched online movies together, and eventually moved in together.
Throughout the story, the woman considers the racial undertones of each encounter: with the white man, the Chinese waitress, the Japanese chef, her traditional Chinese family and friends, and others she interacts with. The man tells her she takes things too personally, and she overthinks things. But is it that or the man’s privilege to not have to think about race, to be the so-called default.
This story was in the Best American Short Stories of 2019, and I am glad I picked this one over the others. Wang does a marvelous job with characters and emotions here, things I am trying to learn. And it also made me more aware of some of the racial slurs and assumptions I sometimes think about as I encounter Asian people and how I need to do better; be better.
https://nydamprintsblackandwhite.blogspot.com/ – The MORAL of Quentulus Quazgar: Never let geographical improbability get in the way of a good story.
I absolutely love this theme https://artismoments.blogspot.com/ – “My theme this year is based on the Japanese concept of Ichigo Ichie which means–“What we are experiencing right now will never happen again. And therefore, we must value each moment like a beautiful treasure.”“
This month I am participating in the A to Z blog challenge. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
The challenge involves 26 posts in April, all somehow connected to the alphabet. My theme for the month is short stories. The Story Factory needs market research, of course, so I will be reading a short story for each letter of the alphabet and trying to learn some new techniques for my story writing. My lacks seem to be characterization and emotional experience, so I am mainly looking for stories to teach me those things. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments if you know of an amazing story. Another component of the challenge is the blog road trip, where we visit each other’s blogs, leave comments, etc. While I would like to visit a couple of blogs every day, it is more realistic to do Road Trips on Sundays. (Of course, my ongoing, 52 bad story challenge is still on, as well as the 2021 creative hours in 2021.