The City of San Antonio is investigating the circumstances surrounding Fire Chief Charles Hood being photographed taking part in a Japanese tradition of eating sushi from the body of a partially nude model earlier this year. The tradition, known as Nyotaimori, dates back centuries to the Samurai period.
Photos of the chief at a birthday party prompted city officials to open an investigation. KSAT TV quoted Goro Pitchford, a longtime sushi chef and owner of Godai Sushi, as saying:
- Nothing derogatory about it. It’s more of a celebration.
- It’s very traditional for higher-ups, you know, for higher-ups in Japanese community back in the samurai days.
- I have friends and colleagues. We were pretty upset that the city is going after him.
- There’s a lot of other things that they should concentrate on besides this.
- Do some research on it.
- First, ask some people in the community that really know about this and ask them, ‘Is this good or is it bad?’
The incident occurred last January at a birthday party for a firefighter who turned 50. The San Antonio Express News quoted Chief Hood as saying:
- [It was] more or less a family event.
- You walk in the front door and there’s a sushi lady there that I guess is a business, so I stopped and posed and take a picture. That’s it.
- It would be like me taking a picture with a flamenco dancer in Vegas or a Spurs dancer at Top Golf where the Spurs dancers happen to be there.