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Long time ago, I was just a kid who loved building LEGO and playing soccer with my friends. One of those friends had narrow eyes, black hair and he was rather quiet. I learned his family came from a land far away, on the other side of the planet called: Japan. On his birthday, he invited me to his house to spend the day. To me, a couple of things were a bit odd – taking our shoes off before entering the house, the apparent lack of furniture, and how everything was mainly white and clean. But nothing struck me as much as when we stopped for lunch. First, we sat on the floor. Second, the table was so low it didn’t look like a table at all. But third – you guessed it – the food was raw. Beautifully presented! But raw. As a 7-year-old kid accustomed to eating rice, beans, chicken (you know, warm meals) I did my best to hide my despair. Of course, my best was not even good, so his mother, very politely smiled at me and showed me how to use the silverware – I mean, chopsticks. To my relief, both my wooden sticks (called Hashi) were connected by a ribbon, which made things a lot easier to figure out. So, I gathered my strength, kept my cool, pinched that slice of reddish cold fish, dragged it all the way to my mouth, praying that it would not fall off, and chewed it. And it tasted so, so... good! Something about the freshness, the flavor, the texture? I’m not sure, I was seven. Seven-year-olds don’t know these things. To be honest, it probably felt unpleasant. But it was like being transported to that land all the way on the other side of the world. I was experiencing another country, another culture, another reality. And that was the most amazing thing of all. Later that day, back at home, my mom asked: “So, how did it go?”, and I answered: “You will not believe me... but I’ve just been to Japan!” ________ Now, I have spent years looking for a place that would serve me the same thing I ate at my friends house years ago. But even though there are as many sushi restaurants in my neighborhood as there are bakeries or drugstores, nothing compares to the experience I had as a kid. I found out that their food was adapted to the local taste – meaning we added cream-cheese, mango, jelly and made it our own Brazilian-Japanese Food. I’ll be honest and say I’m not the biggest fan of all that mixture of fruits and sweets and dairy with the sticky rice. But isn’t it fulfilling to think that these two almost contrasting cultures came together to create something that is now part of who we are? Just like our sushi, culture is about mixture, about welcoming the strange and embracing the new. Try new dishes with an open heart, learn from new places with an open mind. And who knows? Something great might come of it. ________ Built for the Brazilian Contest "Bloco by Bloco" held on Discord, in partnership with LUGBrasil, Challenge I - to build something that represents my life and my home, depicting a Brazilian daily life. Hope you all like it! Cheers.