For the next few hours, the sushi chef is a performer, and one who doesn't necessarily have time to be bothered by stunningly handsome photographers from men's lifestyle publications. So we stopped playing sushi paparazzi and let Masa do his thing until 11pm when the restaurant closed. But even after he's packed up his knives, he usually doesn't leave until at least 1am, making for a full 14hr day.
Multiply that by six or seven days a week, and there really aren't many hours left for anything else aside from maybe bathing and paying a pretty damn low electricity bill because you're never, ever home.
Being a sushi chef is a lifelong commitment that starts with several years of looking and feeling really, really inadequate. Those that stick around are rewarded with diehard regulars, all the uni they can eat, and a sense of inner pride that glows like the scales of the shiniest of Mack Daddies.
So next time you're about to bite into a delicious piece of sushi, be sure to give your compliments to the chef.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food/drink team who recently purchased a very nice toaster oven and is excited about exploring the world of crispy reheated food. He also enjoys hating mustard. Follow him to pots of gold/Twitter at @Dannosphere.