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Bean Bar

Dreamed 1985/12/28 by Chris Wayan

The restaurant is Chinese to the core, yet it has a Japanese name: Kokoro. And its bar-annex is called Kokora. Now, Kokoro means heart/mind, with connotations of consciousness: Zen's "Big Mind" is written with that character. But it's been twinned, given feminine and masculine endings as if it's a concept in a Romance language. The owner must be tricultural and trilingual at least...

Not your typical bean-bar sign. Makes me curious.

So I walk in the bar and order a plate of fennel beans, a bowl of miso, and an intriguing snow pea dish with lemon and a touch of hot pepper. Hints of Burma, but I'm sure it's his own invention. It's a slow day and I'm the only customer, so the chef-owner leans on the counter and talks with me. Partly in English, partly in Chinese, he explains his theory of communication--of mastery of an art.

"Fluent language is like the three stages of learning to cook. First you got some beans--a fact. Next you master a bean recipe: you can tell thoughts and feelings about the facts, now. At last, you make the Bean Banquet! You master a cuisine, not just recipes. You're fluent. You got style. Now you innovate, now you play. This is art, self-expression. Beans that know they're beans--and tell you so!"

So I tell YOU. From a master to me, from me to you. "Facts first. Feelings next. Then creation."

The three-stage gospel: gospel of the bean.

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