Friday, December 09, 2005

Fillet of Soul, Anyone?

Kizoku is a sushi restaurant and lounge in Chicago, not very far from where I live. (I could probably walk there in a half hour.) Judging from the photos on the restaurant's website (, they have a very upscale decor.

But it isn't the decor, the prices or the food which have been getting a lot of press. It's the fact that they have a rather unusual way of presenting their food. One web site I visited referred to the practice as "“nyotaimori”, which apparently is a fancy way of saying that they serve sushi on the body of a naked (or nearly naked) woman. As if sushi wasn't already raw enough!

Kizoku charges a steep price ($500 for a dinner for four) for the privilege of eating dinner in a manner which would have pleased Caligula.

Of course, you won't find any pictures of "naked sushi" on the restaurant's website. After all, it's a "classy" establishment. You'll have to search the web via Google or Yahoo in order to find photos of one of their human serving trays with raw fish perched precariously on her breasts and other body parts.

At, in a blog entry by Kathy of the Eric and Kathy Show, we read the following:

Kudos to Tabitha. She's done more than 50 dinners and has gotten to be quite the pro. She prepares by not eating or drinking much beforehand and other than the occasional itch she's unable to scratch, has no problems for the 60-90 minutes she is laying there nearly still.
Yeah, she's quite a "pro". She's not only good at suppressing the urge to scratch when she itches, she's good at suppressing the urgings of her conscience as well. Kind of like a whore who learns to deal with the dehumanizing aspects of prostitution by living in denial about the depravity of her (or his) lifestyle.

Earlier, I wrote a blog in which I criticized the city of New Orleans on account of its well-earned reputation for carnality and the public celebration of the same. I even implied that the tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood might have been an act of divine judgment. Well, all I can say is that it's a good thing for Chicago that our city isn't in the hurricane zone, because we seem to be headed in the same direction morally. We haven't reached rock bottom, yet, but we're headed in that direction.

No doubt, there are those who would call me "prudish" and "intolerant" for suggesting such a thing. There are those who would say that I'm "hung up" about sex. Well, folks, I've seen pictures of naked women, and I think they're pretty pleasant to behold. Sex is a wonderful thing. After all, God invented it, and when he did so, he called it good. There's not a person on the planet who doesn't owe his or her existence to an act of sexual intercourse.

Nevertheless, I've never experienced sexual intercourse for myself, since I believe in keeping God's commandments, which prohibit fornication and adultery.

Judging by the movie trailers I've seen, the "40 Year Old Virgin" of movie fame couldn't "get laid" even though he kept trying. Hence, he was rightfully regarded as a failure. But virginity isn't a failure if it's the result of a deliberate commitment to obey God.

In any event, regardless of whether or not you agree with the idea that people should wait until marriage before having sex, the "naked sushi" controversy is not about being ashamed of sex. It's about whether or not there are legitimate societal taboos pertaining to public acts, whether those taboos pertain to things of a sexual nature or to nonsexual things like farting or spitting on the carpet.

Inhibitions have gotten a bad rap. A society without inhibitions is a society in which people are indifferent to the effects of their actions on their fellow human beings, and that's just plain rude.

It seems to me that it's just a short step from serving raw fish on topless women to having sexual orgies in public. In fact, I read not long ago that there are actually bars, in Chicago, for people who go there specifically to have sexual orgies with one another. It's called "the lifestyle", thanks to the 1999 movie which celebrated what used to be called "swinging". So far, I've managed to avoid going into such an establishment, and I hope to keep it that way.

Now, some would argue that no one has to eat naked sushi, or visit a "swinger's bar", unless he or she chooses to do so. Therefore, they would argue, it's a "private" matter, and I should mind my own business.

That argument, it seems to me, is as ridiculous as saying that since most acts of prostitution only occur behind closed doors, society should exhibit an interest in such acts only if and when they spill out onto the streets. The trouble with both arguments is that they ignore the intrinsic social dimension of sex.

Acts of sex which take place in the context of the institution of marriage strengthen society (all other things being equal), because marriage affirms that sex is just one dimension of a rich, multifaceted relationship.

But there is an opposing dynamic, one which would weaken the family (thereby hurting children) by creating a mindset in which sex is just one more form of recreation, comparable to going to the movies or riding the rollercoaster at Six Flags. When sex becomes "just another business", it negatively affects the stability of families, which results in the need for a host of costly social programs which wouldn't have been necessary if people had just taken God's commands seriously. And that, my friend, is everyone's business.

Now, whether or not it is everyone's business to the extent that it should become a matter of law is debatable. I do recognize that we don't live in a theocracy, and I recognize that there are legitimate limits, in a pluralistic society, to the imposition of moral values on those who don't agree with those values. But even if this is a case where the law ought to "butt out", it seems to me, at the very least, that my civil liberties as a citizen include the right to speak out against what I consider to be harmful practices and trends.

Sex is wonderful precisely because it involves bonding with another human being to whom you are committed, and with whom you are willing to work hard in order to create a loving family. A committed relationship will endure long after the shortlived ecstasy of orgasm is a distant memory.

But we Americans tend to see things solely through the rose-colored glasses of consumerism, and we are increasingly oblivious to the necessity and wisdom of self-restraint. Hence, anything which stands to make a buck is tolerated, even encouraged. Who cares if those ignorant yahoos from the Bible belt are offended? For that matter, who cares if God is offended? Live for today, live for yourself, ignore little matters like morality and Judgment Day, and maybe, if you're lucky, they'll go away.

But they won't go away. God's laws are eternal. What's transient (and ultimately unsatisfying) is the pleasure which comes from disobedience to him.

How do I know? Because I have done my own thing more than once, and I've lived to regret it. Fortunately, I've discovered that the God who judges is also the God who forgives, provided that we are willing to humble ourselves and acknowledge that we need his forgiveness.

Many decades ago, in a culture in which some form of Christianity was generally taken for granted, it didn't take much courage to take a stand for Christ and for righteousness. But that is no longer the culture in which we live.

If you lack moral courage, and if you want to blend in with the crowd, then capitulate to the latest immoral fad, even if it means eating raw fish off the body of a naked woman. But there will come a time when you will pay a price for your self-indulgence and shortsightedness. Don't say I didn't tell you so.

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