It's funny how some memories stick with us, while others seem to easily slip away. One of my most distinct recollections from childhood is the day when we as a family stood side-by-side and bid farewell to my father as he set off on a business trip to Japan.

That day, it was only my imagination that accompanied him, but it was his rapid return that is the highlight of this emotional landmark, as we were all quickly and forever reminded that we were never far from his thoughts. Like a messenger with a critical note, he quickly got down to business as he dazzled us with exciting stories of his journey.

Thankfully, these stories were accompanied by exquisite pictures that spoke of a land so foreign and exciting, it seemed as if he was recounting a dream. To no one's surprise, the story that most resonated with me, was that of an unusual food culture-unlike any he had ever experienced. This is where my fascination with Japanese food began and this was my first introduction to the world of sushi.

Since that time, I have discovered that sushi actually evolved from very meager beginnings over 1300 years ago. Fast forward to the 1980s when in the wake of an increased health conscious population, this seemingly unusual cuisine rocketed to popularity and has become not only an American favorite, but one of the healthiest dining options available. A truly globally embraced culinary art form, these curiously adventurous and tasty creations are now so eagerly consumed, that they can be found in the most elegant of settings, or even at the local supermarket. The passion for this delicate cuisine has truly hit the mainstream, as there is just something that sushi lovers swear, is most deliciously addictive.

Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo's famed 10-seat sushi temple, is a great example of how sushi inspires individuals around the world. This is the kind of restaurant that global epicurean travelers book months in advance and will thankfully travel thousands of miles to experience. There has even been a widely released documentary film produced about this honored sushi master and his unusually tiny restaurant that boasts the coveted three Michelin stars. Chefs from all over the world have fused local ingredients into this culinary expression, including the ever popular 'California Roll,' featuring avocado and crabmeat. As in art, sushi continues to grow, change and blossom and each culture initiates their own unique spin on this ancient craft.

This passage was excerpted from the first draft of "Flavors Of My World," available in bookstores beginning April 20, 2013 and currently available for purchase online.
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