Multicultural Sushi – David Lohrey

What Europe needs is more Asians.
England will never be the same and dear
Katie can’t wait. She wants Liverpool
to look like Calcutta. Her dream
is a world of heterogeneity. Her idea
of bliss is Los Angeles everywhere.
Kuala Lumpur in Germany. Italy
without Italians, brimming with
Somalis; that’s the ticket. Germany
without whites.

Syrians will build Mercedes, according to sweet Katie. The
Algerians can bake the Stollen. Refugees from
Afghanistan will make the watches.
The Iraqis want to design Cuckoo Clocks;
get rid of the Swiss, the Germans, Swedes,
and the Danes. What do they know? They’ll be fine
in downtown Nairobi.

But Katie also likes Tokyo. She loves
the buzz and the sushi. What she likes above all else
is how safe it is for women. She can walk the streets
after midnight. But, here too, she celebrates
diversity. Bring in more Asians, Katie declares.
Welcome Filipinos and Chinese by the millions.
Why wouldn’t you? But she doesn’t wait for an answer.
She rushes to fling open the gates. Let’s erase the borders.

Yes, nothing less than 30 million will do.
If the US can take 1, 000, 000 Mexicans – and we know it can –
Japan can easily handle half of China. Throw in Manila.
Why ever not? If you dare to argue, you’re a racist.
If you express a doubt, you’re a Nazi. The more the merrier.
What is there to lose?

I ask…

If Merkel can’t get the Greeks to work 60-hour weeks,
how is she going to convince refugees from Sierra Leone to do overtime?
Is it true that economics is color blind?
Do Moroccans read Max Weber?
Do Ugandans have a work ethic?
Do Filipinos commit suicide when they’re wrong?
Do Americans have a sense of shame?

What of honor?

Japan without Japanese is China.
America is an airport with an annex.
It’s less a culture than a location, a living space.
Do we really want more and more of Houston?
A Dallas that stretches from sea to sea is bad enough.
Must it now be exported to the rest of the world?
The Japanese give up Kyoto but get Colorado?
A sea of homeless people. Mexicans without Spanish?

And the streets will remain safe?
Why ever not? Katie laughs. I wouldn’t try it in New Delhi.
Only a fool would in most of Chicago, not to mention Tijuana.
She doesn’t believe it. She knows better.
“If you’re nice to them,” she sings, “they’ll be nice to you.”
Diversity is marvelous, I’ll agree to that,
but I can’t see how a diverse Japan remains Japan.
Japan without Japanese isn’t Japan; that’s all I’m saying.
What it becomes might be great, perhaps even better, I won’t deny it.

You’ll get a better world perhaps, but you’ll sacrifice the sushi.
Have you tried the tacos in Los Angeles made with kimchi?
Many find them delicious – it’s a fair point – but remember this:
The Japanese don’t drink their tea with sugar.
When you add peach flavoring to green tea,
it ceases being Japanese and becomes garbage.
So, open the gates and cry welcome but don’t tell me
you love Kyoto. Tell me you want to live at Kennedy Airport,
in Terminal 9; the sushi there is marvelous. Try it with salsa.

[ David Lohrey was born on the Hudson River but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and he is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. His latest book, The Other Is Oneself: Postcolonial Identity in a Century of War: 20th Century African and American Writers Respond to Survival and Genocide, is available on He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing.]

14 thoughts on “Multicultural Sushi – David Lohrey

  1. Aye David, that’s going to be the trick isn’t it? How to become a global community without surrendering our cultural identity. You once again ask hard questions with keen insight. Bravo my friend

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fuck David. You’ve heard this a million times, but you’re a genius. You’re right that everything is watered down, and well… it’ll all be eventually, and I agree that it’s appalling. I don’t want it all to become one. I like separation.

    Also, for some reason, when I was in japan, I didn’t see one sushi place. Then again, I was more interested in ramen 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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