Inspiration from the Monk

What can I do today that will change my life?  

This question frequently flashes through my mind.  My answer usually involves eating somewhere new.  Today was no different as I made a first visit to organic restaurant Monk`s Foods in Kichijoji. 

Sitting on a low-back stool at the counter downstairs, I felt I was in a library. The furnishings were spartan; conversations and laughter were non-existent. 

Waiting for my food, the only thing to distract me was a small notice board.  Hand-written signs cautioned against smoking and using mobile phones.  Two other signs requested customers pay in small denomination notes, and advertised, for 10 yen, a mochikaeriyo no fukuro (doggy bag). 

The largest sign boldly declared many female customers do not eat all of their rice portion.  As a result, the restaurant has decided to give all women smaller bowls.  Ladies have to ask if they want a MAN portion.

My eyes drifted away from the notice board. Propped up behind the counter, stood a record sleeve.  At the top, written in orange capital letters, was the name of American jazz musician, Thelonious Monk.  A CD of his tunes played in the background.  I stared at his majestic name for a few moments.  

Has there ever been a better one? 

Seeing the word monk reminded me of my favourite Japanese expression: Mikka bozu.  Mikka means 3 days, bozu means monk.  The phrase is applied to people who get bored easily and quickly move on.    

I have a mental picture of the 3 day monk.  He has already achieved enlightenment and is laughing at my short concentration span.  I frequently make resolutions intending to change my life forever, but I can never keep these vows for longer than three days.  In the last month alone, the promises-to-self I have broken include: smiling at strangers, not eating cake pie before bed, writing coherent blog posts and improving my punctuation

The wait for my 1,100 yen set lunch was worth it.  The food captured the true essence of organic: grubby, curiously shaped with a hint of soil.  None of the dishes look appealing – even the rice is brown, but it tasted very good – like real food, like real man food even.  I will go again.

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