This is the much-hyped brown sugar boba from Tiger Sugar. Now that they opened in Manhattan’s Chinatown, I was able to get one without waiting in a long line. I’ve had brown sugar boba from many different places, and I was wondering why so many people were lined up to get one from Tiger Sugar. How much better could it be? The verdict? I’m not sure. The difference isn’t so pronounced. I would have to do a blind side-by-side test to see which one I would choose as the best.
But, I’ve never been interested in seeking incremental improvements in quality. When I was in art school, I was also taking some evening classes at Juilliard. My teacher was Samuel Zyman, the composer, who still teaches there. One of the things he said in class that surprised me was that he couldn’t relate to those who were always looking for better performances. Good enough was good enough for him. At the time, I thought I was the only person who felt that way. It makes sense for composers to feel this way because they are not concerned with qualitative improvements; they need to achieve something much more radical and fundamental.
During the first year of art school, in terms of technical competence, I was the best in the class. In kindergarten, I was already drawing in perspective. Whenever we put up our assignments on the wall to critique, some would even laugh at how absurdly anal my work was. One teacher even said to me, “What are you gonna do with this? Become a portrait artist on Times Square?” The truth of the matter was that I was using my technical competence as a psychological crutch because it can be used to feel superior to others objectively. True artists do not concern themselves with being superior, but with being singular. I decided to throw away my crutch from the second year.
It’s easy for a Japanese person to get caught up in incremental improvement because it’s a significant part of their culture. This is partly why I’m not all that interested in their high cuisine. Asians, in general, tend to obsess over qualitative improvements, measurable ways to be superior. This is where I relate to American culture more.
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