Hagane, the Japanese word for steel, is an apt descriptor for this restaurant's decor; there are several hand made katana mounted upon the back wall, encased in glass. The signature engraved into said blades is also engraved into the chef's cutlery. Certainly a labor of love, this place. Otherwise, it's nothing one wouldn't expect from an old school sushi shop in Japan, an elegant atmosphere small enough to provide an experience tailored to each customer. There are two small tables, but most seating is at the bar, where meals are prepared right in front of the customers upon custom wooden surfaces. Exceedingly fresh ingredients are cleverly stored in refrigerators hidden beneath the bar, and bottles of sake are displayed behind it.
The lighting is a touch on the dim side, but it's more intimate or serene than unpleasant. Whatever happens to shine in through the front door, which is a traditional curtain (until closing time), adds to it. Also traditional is the maneki neko at the right end of the counter, the beckoning cat said to bring good fortune to businesses. Other small decorations are here and there as the small space permits, carefully trimmed bonsai and depictions in paint of swordsmen befitting the restaurant's name. It's an establishment from another time, not another feeding factory, but a place to go for something more personal. Reasonable prices for the quality, too.
<some posts have been lost to the void>
Mike smiles politely to the waitress and nods a little. "The good Doctor was kind enough to let me join her, so yes, please." Looking over to Bieta curiously, he'd watch a moment then motions a little. "Would you like some help..?"
Bieta smiles and looks at her hand, "I know how it is telling me to hold these but when I try to move them in my hand..." She demonstrates a certain lack of control with the chopsticks that came with practice and manages to drop one of the chopsticks in the process. "Maybe I should have just asked for the kids' chopsticks with the rubber band on one end or better yet, silverware."
Mike flashes a small grin at Bieta and nods. Reaching over, as long as she doesn't pull away, he takes up the chopsticks and then sets her hand to hold them the right way. Once he's done, he motions. "Go ahead. Try that. Sometimes it's worth a little work to get a good reward and new skill. Right?"
Bieta tries again and at least she could get the sticks to move in her hand the way they should, one time. "Wow! I think if I were living in Japan or China, I might starve to death without silverware." Bieta laughs. Around that time, the waitress returns with Mike's drink and meal. Bieta looks at the waitress and says, "Excuse me, Miss. Can I have some of those chopsticks for kids, just in case..." The waitress smiles at her and takes a pair out of her apron pocket, saying, "Of course. I could bring you silverware."
Bieta says, "Maybe later, I am not quite ready to give up just yet. Thank you." The waitress hands the childrens' chopsticks to Bieta.
Mike gives a small grin to Bieta and shakes his head. "You'd have it if you did." He bows his head in thanks to the waitress at his meal being delivered. Chop sticks taken up and he'd set them right himself. There's a moment that he studies his food, before he nods and starts to eat.
After a little effort, Bieta gets a tempura cucumber in her chopsticks and she looks over to Mike, just as she is about to make it to her mouth with the cucumber. It surprises Bieta a little when she sees a green glow flicker against Mike's eyes, and the chopsticks slip in her hands. The fried cucumber lands on top of the california roll in her bento box. "Ummp!", Bieta laughs a little. Bieta glances back at Mike, while trying to retrieve the errant piece of tempura like she never dropped it. Bieta says, "Are those a pair of those tech glasses which are being made now?"
Mike is quite capable it seems with his chopsticks, able to eat some, while Bieta tries to get her own. He looks up at her curiously, then chuckles a little. "Yeah. Although this particular brand is out dated now." He set his chop sticks down to take his glasses off and turns them around to show Bieta the small display there. "It's one way, so most people don't notice... and no.. I don't snapchat my food either."
Bieta laughs, "snapchat food? Like take pictures of what you are eating and post it to...facebook...saying where you are eating for bragging rights to friends." Bieta is a little more successful picking up a slice of tempura carrot with her chopsticks. "Do you play...angry birds at the table?"
Mike grins at Bieta, or maybe slightly to the side, it's kind of hard for him to tell, either way. He puts his glasses back on and chuckles. "Yes. That's always the first question asked of me.. and no. I don't do that either. Actually, I run a business and it helps me keep up on emails."
Bieta says, "really? What kind of business?" She decides to stick the carrot slice in her mouth before she drops that too.
Mike smiles and takes another bite of his own food, then a sip of his tea, before responding. "I'm a cyber security consultant, that does freelance work. Kind of feast or famine for if I get an actual job going or not though."
"For how long have you been running your business, Mike?" Bieta took a sip of her tea before chasing after another tempura vegatable in her bento box. Finally, she elected to skewer the vegetable on the end of one of her chopsticks in order to cheat so she could get the vegetable to her mouth.
Mike eyes Bieta and shakes his head slowly. "That's actually a little disrespectful, Doctor.. They won't say anything.. but.. it can be frowned on." He smiles a little and shrugs, taking another bite of his own food. "Hmm.. I'd have to say.. uh.. 10 years? Ish? Yeah. Something like that."
"I'm sorry, you started your own business when you were twelve?" Bieta takes another drink and says, "There has to be a story there." Bieta tries to pick up a piece of california roll, glancing now and then at Mike and waiting for him to speak.
Mike chuckles quietly. "Everyone has a story, Bieta. Mine started on computers. That's all. I got into a lot of.. things.. and didn't take me long to turn my ability into a job. Just like most anyone else, right?"
"Alright, if you do not want to talk about it..." says Bieta. Once she gets a piece of roll in her chopsticks, Bieta looks at it before sticking the whole of it in her mouth.
Mike studies Bieta a moment, raising a brow. "Hmmm..." He chuckles a little as she got the roll on her chopsticks and ate it. He takes some more of his own food to eat. "Well, Doctor.. what if I said it's not exactly always on the side of the law that I work.. in theory, of course?"
This time Bieta drops her sushi in her bento box for a different reason. "Uh...I'm sorry?" Bieta says, "You mean like the mafia or something?"
Mike stares at Bieta in surprise, then laughs, shaking his head. "No.. no, not at all. I avoid them actually. Too much overhead, honestly." He grins and shrugs then. "No, much simpler than that. Already told you really." He picks up his tea and takes another drink of it.
"So, businesses hire you to hack into their systems to find weaknesses in their security systems...?" Bieta picks the piece of sushi dropped in her box back up and puts it into her mouth.
Mike grins wryly. "Some of them." He chuckles a little and eats some more on his own. "I do a lot of types of jobs, actually. I try to help people. So some are pro bono, you know? It's.. complicated and if you're not into computers? Boring."
Once Bieta swallows her food, she says, "Well, my mother was a programmer and I had a few courses in college. I don't really use them though. I don't play computer games either."
Mike chuckles quietly. "Pity." He muses, then nods a little. "I've generated my own quadrary based OS and derived a GUI overlay on it.." There's a smile then with a shrug. "That took me.. a few years too. But it's pretty fast now."
Bieta says, "alright, I...quadrary?" Her brow knits and she shakes her head, chuckling, "sorry, I think you are going to have to explain what that is or refresh my memory because college was several years ago and I don't remember that being covered."
Mike laughs, shaking his head. "Well.. pretty easy. Binary is base 2, right? Trinary base 3? Quadrary is base 4. It's partly based on quantum physics. Which.. is it's own headache." He smiles a little with a small shrug.
Bieta looks down at her bento box at a piece of sushi, which consists of a strip of tuna on a small rectangle of rice. She tries picking it up and it slips out of her chopsticks. Bieta has to put the piece of tuna back on top of the rice and says, "Can I get away with picking this up in my fingers and taking a bite or would that be offensive?"
Mike smiles warmly to Bieta and shakes his head a little. "Actually, sushi is ok to eat with just fingers too." He'd chuckle and eats some more of his food, finishing that meal he had ordered.
Fenix was out for an afternoon hike in the forest, when he stumbled upon, of all things, a sushi shop. Out in the middle of nowhere. In the woods. The deep woods. Thus, his curiosity was piqued, and so in he went!
At one of the small tables, Bieta is sitting with Mike enjoying some conversation and sushi. Bieta picks up the piece of sushi in her fingers and takes a bite. The piece of sushi starts to fall apart in her hand and in trying to avoid making a mess, Bieta pushes the remainder into her mouth and tries to chew. She breathes in through her nose while carefully working her jaw to chew, realizing she has too much food in her mouth too late. Bieta tries to swallow but her eyes grow wide and she slaps the surface of the table. Opening her mouth, something does not sound right and the vein in the side of her throat starts to throb as Bieta begins to struggle to cough.
Mike smiles at Bieta as she'd start to be ok, then frowns as she'd suddenly have some issues. At that sound, he immediately stands, moving over to her side of the table. "Doctor..? Are you ok?" He watchs her for any signs of being able to breath or something, before he gets her to stand up so he can try to help her with that heimlich manuver. This of course, has him completely miss Fenix coming in.
Fenix came ... well, he came because he didn't expect to find suhsi in the middle of nowhere. But if he had? He would have come for this fish, not to people gawk. The coughing hasn't quite caught the easily distractable man's attention just yet.
A waitress rushes over to Bieta's table and says, "Miss...miss, are you okay?" Bieta looks up at the woman and nods, "Yes, I..." Bieta smiles, "had someone help me." Bieta looks a little lost for a moment looking around the room. "Did he leave?" the waitress asks. Bieta sounds a little far away when she says, "Yes, he...had to go...somewhere."
The waitress asks her, "can I get you something else to drink?"
Bieta nods and says, "Yes please." She sits down and looks confused as though she did not remember how she came to be standing.
The commotion draws Fenix's attention. An eyebrow arches as he saunters over in that direction. "Someone stand you up?" The man's English carries, interestingly enough, a Spanish accent, not an Asian one.
Bieta knits her brow and says, "I suppose they did." She looks down at the piece of sushi she coughed up lying on the floor. "I'm sorry. Be careful you don't slip on that." Bieta looks down at her bento box and slides down in seat until she can slide no further down. "That floor isn't going to open up and swallow me anytime soon, is it?," she mutters to herself. Then Bieta covers her face with her palms.
Fenix offers a supportive smile and a gentle pat on the arm, "Hey, it'll be ok. His loss, right?" As much a he might want to pick up the piece of sushi and eat it (for reasons!), he'll refrain and make room for the waitstaff when they come to clean it up. Sliding down into the seat opposite Bieta, he offers another smile. "I can keep you company while you finish? I'm Fenix. This place is pretty interesting. Who woulda thought, a sushi place in the woods!" He's good natured, and somewhat irrepressible.
Bieta sits back up in her seat and says, "My name is Dr. Elżbieta Dymna. The owner of a patient of mine recommended this restaurant, so I thought would try having lunch here. Today was a slow day..." Bieta drinks matcha that had grown cold.
Fenix nods. "Well, then, I guess maybe you were overdue for a little bit of excitement." He takes a sip of water, then asks the waitstaff for more tea. "Please," he appends by way of politeness.
"Do you enjoy sake? Should we try some? I'm on the hunt for the best sake this side of the border," Fenix offers, leaning over conspiratorially as he lowers his voice a little.
Bieta says, "I have never had sake. I have had wine and I like wine." Bieta finds her chopsticks and picks up a rather long tempura shrimp out of her bento.
Fenix nods and orders some sake for the table. "You can try mine, then. Maybe you might like it." He leans back in his chair. "What sort of doctor are you?" He's very curious, this one.
"I am a veterinary surgeon. I am sorry, what was your name?" Bieta says, looking at the inquisitive man. Bieta looks at the waitress when she puts a fresh cup of hot tea on the table for Bieta and takes her guest's drink order.
"Oh. Veterinary." A hand comes up to rub at his lantern jaw. "I'm Fenix." A pause. "Do you like cats? Some people like cats, some don't."
Bieta seems to give the answer to that question some thought. "Well, I do not dislike cats. I like many kinds of animals though and that was one of the reasons I became a vet. I wanted to help animals when they were sick or hurting." Bieta tries to drink some of her tea, pauses to blow a little on the drink before taking a sip.
And then warm sake is brought and set on the table. "Yes, but. People are either cat people, or not-cat people. You haven't figured out which one you are yet?" He pours sake out for himself. And seems vexed at the conundrum that is Bieta.
"Well, I do not think I would adopt a cat right now. Cats have a tendency to change owners at some point in their lives and my daughter is too young to understand yet why the cat she loved would just disappear and not come back one day."
Fenix blinks, and for a moment? It looks like as if he might burst out into tears! Eyes well up with big ass tears that threaten to fall. But he manages to recover. Barely. "What if - what if, we could maybe provide her a cat that would always come back, even if it left?"
Bieta shifts in her seat, when Fenix fights back tears. Bieta says, "Fenix, cats leave and find new owners, that is just part of being a cat. As...this is rather personal...it was not that long ago that Katarzyna's father left the both of us and never came back. She still does not understand..." Now it was Bieta's turn to fight back tears and she glanced away for a moment, "she still asks me if her father is ever coming back home. That being said, I think she can wait until she is a little older and can better understand. I want my daughter to know that she can care about someone or something else without them just leaving her."
The youth nods. "But that's what I'm saying. What if there was a cat that would come back? Even when it left?" Fenix leans forward on the table now, a sober-serious look on his face even as he sips on the sake.
"Fenix, I cannot think of any cat that would do that...it would be acting against its nature," Beita says and she looks confused.
Fenix shrugs, "I know of one. It might help. With your daughter. To know that at least one cat in the world was unique and hers and would come back, no matter what." Then he knocks back the last of the sake in his cup.
"This is a cruel joke...if that is what this is, Fenix...and very unkind." Bieta realized that she had tears running down her cheeks and wiped them away. She slid out of her seat and grabbed her purse.
Fenix blinks and shakes his head. "Not a joke at all. An answer to a small prayer," he offers thoughtfully. "The problem is that no one believes in prayers being answered any more. But that doesn't mean that sometimes, once in a while, when the timing is right, or the stars align, they /do/ get answered." A sigh. "Think about it. Maybe you'll end up a cat person after all."
Bieta heads for the counter at the front of the restaurant and the waitress looks at her and says, "Are you alright?" Bieta nods and says, "I would like to pay for my meal and go now please." Money changes hands and Bieta heads to the ladies restroom. Once she is inside, the waitress looks back at Fenix for a moment before heading back into the kitchen.
Fenix sighs, then kills the last of the sake. The last thing he expected to find in a strange sushi shop in the deepest darkest part of the forest? Was a downer. He was constitutionally incapable of dealing with downers for any extended period of time, But he was also hardwired to provide a reply to certain types of prayers. Contradictions, contradictions!