It was at the age of 12, when I was taught by my teacher to “eat a meal within 5 minutes”. My former teacher, Mr. Toshiya Eto was a stoutly built Maestro, and was the violinist who I looked up to with much admiration. I made my debut as a professional violinist when I was 12 years old and have learnt how to behave and perform on stage, by performing together with him.
Before going on stage, we used to eat steak together. “You need physical strength and muscles to perform. So steak is better than anything else“ he said.
And whenever steak was served, he told me to “eat it up in 5 minutes”.
I decided to study by watching him eating and found out that he only chewed 2 to 3 times for a mouthful and swallowed it down, incredibly fast. So for a 12 years old, this was another factor to look up to.
I made efforts to swallow my steak quickly.
And since, eating so fast gave me so many hints to move around fast in my days of
performing .In addition, at home, my father was very strict who promptly followed his daily time schedule and so our family meals were completed within15 minutes at the most. For example, when I had to ask him for his advice, he would look at his watch and say “OK, start now, 10 minutes only! “. So whenever I finished eating fast and went on doing my next action, (mostly practicing or studying ) he smiled, looking very happy.
So it was natural and obvious that I‘ve become a fast eater, with such a teacher and a father around me.
When I appeared on a TV documentary program in which the camera followed me to my meals, I was surprised to know that people were so surprised about how fast I eat. And recently when I had some spare time, I decided to get a medical checkup after a long time. As I visited my friend’s hospital, we decided to do it thoroughly using this rare opportunity and got endoscopic examination done for both my stomach and intestines. My doctor friend told me that she will remove any polyp if she finds any, and I agreed as it would be so fast and efficient. So I took laxative on the day before the examination. And on the day, I took more laxative until my stomach was completely empty and clear. The endoscopic exam did not hurt at all as I was given some medicine to feel drowsy. But I could hear the doctor saying, “Oh there they are! We can remove them, can’t we? “ As soon as I tried saying
“Go ahead and remove them”, I could feel that they had started taking them out already.
So, there they were. Polyp in my stomach and my intestines!
After that, for 3 days, I was only allowed to eat porridge, 1 week of no exercise and 2 weeks of no alcohol !
The doctor warned me to chew well, for about 30 times per mouthful, as eating fast damages the stomach.
I felt sorry.
But for me, chewing food 30 times is nothing but a hard trial
How would I manage it? After some hard thinking, I came up with an idea of “walking away from the spot” eating method. I would put food in my mouth and chew 30 times, and would leave from that spot so that I would not be able to reach my chopsticks.
I would come back to the eating spot only after chewing up everything in my mouth. When I eat outside my home, in a restaurant, I would simply put down my chopsticks instead of walking away.
So far, I am managing to chew 30 times each.
Just wondering how long it would last….