Monday, August 31, 2009
Farewell Japanee, Bon Chance Bloomington!
After 4 years, I am officially no longer living or working in Bloomington. Four long, eventful years that have seen me grow so much, making the transition from high schooler to college grad, from teenager to young adult. While at Bloomington I obtained a degree, an education, employment (sometimes working 40+ hours/wk), a greater sense of myself and who I really am, and many wonderful, beautiful friends. I was able to transform myself from a somewhat timid, anxious, insecure young man, not necessarily shy, but afraid to always embrace and love who I really I am, who I have grown into. And while I certainly don't have all the answers, I do feel confident in myself, that I have gained an ounce or two of wisdom in my time. And while a large part of that has come through both my theatre education and the many wonderful people and friendships I have had, a huge chunk of my Bloomington experience has been at the Japanee, sushi restaurant infamous for sake bombs and spicy mayo. When I started there, not only did I not know very much about Asian culture and cuisine, but also lacked the confidence and pizazzz I now have. Somehow making all those trips to and from the kitchen, deciphering broken English and meeting the demands of many, many customers, I was able to settle into myself and feel comfortable in my own skin. That this restaurant, along with many other things, served as a catalyst in creating the person know today as Bradley (always capitalized), or Bra-de-ly, someone with presence, grace, power (or so I'd like to think), and just enough sass. At the time when I started working there, it was the end of my sophomore year and I had gotten myself into quite a financial pickle, very little cash to spend, most of my funds exhausted. Now, I have been able to save enough to help me get to New York and have a much better grasp on my finances, things which I am so thankful for everyday. I feel so blessed to have graduated college without student loans or credit card debt, and while I'm not rolling in the money, I'm sinking under a mountain of debt either. And just as importantly as the financial aspect of my job, I have made some wonderful friends and met some very interesting people that I will never forget - Shinny, Shinae, Joe 'Woong,' Hannah, Colby, Jessica, Amy, Alex, Chi, Patrick, Israel, Edgar, and Omar, and even Mihee, Michelle, and Mago. I think I can say that I was always good to the Japanee, but it was very good to me, but more so it was good for me. I won't miss the obnoxious customers or the lack of a computer or the vats of salad dressing or the long hours, but I will miss the people very, very much. The place, I have been ready to let go of for a long while, but the people no way. Thank you to all of my friends, and thank you to all wonderful customers I have had who have taken the time to know my name and treat me like a person and without which I would not be moving to the city in two days. As one chapter closes and another ends, perhaps New York has another sushi bar waiting for me.