Chapter 4: Nara Sushi, Richmond VA

Nate Dorr

Back in 2008, we teamed up with Viva Radio to follow the indie elite to and from Austin, TX. It might be a full two years later, but we're thrilled to finally let everyone in on this.

The secret to his fried rolls, Nara Sushi proprietor Ken told us repeatedly, is a layer of seaweed below the rice to hold in the juices. The secret to Nara Sushi is that besides quality seafood, they also occasionally serve up good touring punk bands, in this case the same Rad Racket and Team Robespierre who had played the Danger Danger show in Philly. They were joined by a couple locals, the more notable (and popular; drawing the night's only real crowd) of which were melodic hardcore stormers Brainworms. Weirdly, bands played in the window-front of the narrow entry, so that anyone entering had to first push through the crowd (okay, so only during Brainworms), but it was a weird spot in general. Besides Ken, the staff defied setting by being pretty much totally metal (as well as totally generous — door guy Drew (ed: pictured above!) hooked us up with a wayward Black Flag CD for the drive the next day).

Both the music and sushi were a welcome respite from a day that also included, working back, a snapped RV key and expensive locksmith visit, a dinner of tepid spaghetti straight from the pot, and, upon arrival in a trailer park outside the city, spilling the tangle of tubes and wires that made up the guts of our traveling home. RVs can be complicated creatures, turns out. Hoses and cords tentacle out, seeking purchase in cryptic RV park uplink fittings, while the waste pipe waits for just the perfect unguarded moment to suddenly accordion back, trailing liquids that do not invite closer inspection or description. A small crowd of residents gathered to observe our clumsy efforts, smoke, and occasionally dispatch actual advice or a helping hand, thanks to which we soon had sewer access, running water, and electricity (with which to cook tepid spaghetti, then eat it straight from the pot). Compared to the curtain-peering routine we'd been subjected to in the last park attempt, this was fantastic hospitality. Or a community to which inclusion was instantaneous.Weeks later, winterizing the RV at the same park, I was returning empty handed from an antifreeze run when a toothless middle-aged women flanked by a pair of rat-tailed children appeared and declared herself my neighbor… and since we were neighbors could she borrow $200 right away?

Neil Molitoris:
CON: Absence of Tedward.

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