What it’s Like to Be a Sushi Hater in a Sushi Paradise

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You know those people who are obsessed with sushi? Those who wear clothes with sushi images, who pride themselves in naming all the different kinds of sushi? Well, I’m not one of them. I tried it once years ago, and hated it. Living as a sushi hater definitely makes me feel different in a school where people worship and devour sushi. Somehow, though, I’ve managed to survive.

Maybe I don’t like sushi because I don’t like eating raw food. I know, not all sushi consists of is raw fish. People can order sushi with only vegetables or with cooked fish. But it still grosses me out. I’ve tried to get with the trend and eat it at buffets and parties. Once, I tried a California Roll at a party. I almost threw it up. When I went to a sushi buffet with family, I tried a shrimp tempura roll and didn’t like it. So, I’m not completely ignorant and snobby when it comes to sushi. I just don’t enjoy it.

Living in a major city like Washington, D.C. definitely means passing sushi fanatics on the streets. I see them all the time around my campus. You wouldn’t be able to tell that society considers sushi as a fancier meal. Whenever I find myself in Whole Foods, which sells both fresh and to-go sushi, I literally see nothing but sushi. People buy it for lunch, for dinner, for late-night snacks and even for breakfast. It seems like most of the people who exit the Whole Foods cafeteria carry sushi in their hands.

Whenever I go to Whole Foods, I always glance or pass by the sushi before grabbing some pasta, soup or pizza. Even though I don’t know anyone in there, I always feel like people are glaring at me with their beady little eyes, silently judging me for skipping the sushi section. TBH they’re probably not, but I always feel like it. And if you’re a nervous freshman who’s already self-conscious about starting college, then it starts to feel a little demoralizing.

You start to wonder if your food preferences make you the college weirdo. Then you wonder if there’s more to their judgments? Do you dress like someone who might hate sushi? Do you seem too snobby or too timid to like sushi? You start to grow self-conscious of how you dress and of how you behave in public. No freshman should feel that way about themselves.

I also constantly hear people plan to go to restaurants and eat sushi all the time. Sometimes it makes you feel really left out, because hating sushi puts you outside their exclusive club. No, you can’t sit with us. You don’t like sushi as much as we do.

I guess eating sandwiches or burgers or Indian food isn’t good enough for those people. They have to be basic and eat at a fancy sushi restaurant with half of the D.C. population. D.C. even has Buredo (a mixture of sushi and burritos), which has become everyone’s new obsession. GWU students, along with the general D.C. population, love it.

People look at me strangely when I suggest something other than Buredo. I say that I don’t like eating sushi, and want to try something else. Buredo may be famous, but I won’t eat anything from there. With their looks, I can feel their judgment. And sometimes I feel embarrassed about it, like I’m the weird one for not liking sushi. What’s wrong with not liking sushi? It’s not like hating sushi is a crime. From those reactions, you’d think it would be.

Despite all that, I’ve managed to somehow survive my distaste for sushi. Whenever we go to restaurants or places that sell lots of sushi, I just look for other things on the menu. You still might feel like the oddball for eating teriyaki chicken with rice instead of an avocado roll, but don’t worry about it. I just shrug it off and continue eating what I enjoy.

I’ve come to learn that the silently judgmental looks from people around you don’t matter. Because if you can’t enjoy your food, then what’s the point of eating it? You might as well spend money on what you like eating instead of hating yourself. That attitude translates to other parts of my life as well. I care less about what other people think when it comes to food, or even clothes and overall appearance. If I’m proud of my food choices, why shouldn’t I be proud of my individuality?

Over the years I’ve learned to embrace my hatred for sushi. We’re all unique in the world, right? My unique trait is that I don’t like sushi. And believe me, in a place like GWU and D.C., that becomes a really special trait. So, sushi-haters, embrace your individuality and proudly declare that no, you don’t want to eat sushi for dinner. Believe me, you’re not the only one.

Mariya is a junior at the George Washington University studying English/ Creative Writing and Journalism. When she's not watching crime shows, dancing to 80's music or cooking, you'll find her talking about her #OnlyatGW moments. Like any college student, she loves taking advantage of every (free) thing D.C. has to offer.

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