The morning after

A few weeks ago, I heard a story about an old French bakery. The COO at my company was telling this to somebody, and I was eavesdropping. Right now, I'm waiting for photos from last night's party to upload to Flickr. So I'll take a moment to pass the story along, because it relates to the move.

There was a very old bakery in France that was famous for its wonderful bread. Their bread was so good that the business grew and grew until they had to move to a bigger facility. They built a brand new bakery up on a hill. Everything was big and shiny and new.

But their bread wasn't the same. They tried and tried, but they couldn't get it quite right. The thing is, although they brought all their recipes and techniques to the new location, they couldn't reproduce the exact combination of temperature and humidity, and minerals in the water, and bacteria and mold spores in the air, that had developed over the years at the old place. And so they lost their reputation and the business suffered.

I thought about this story in the weeks leading up to the dojo move. Sensei told us we were going to have a beautiful new facility, designed by an interior designer, everything brand new — but that a dojo is not the place; it's nothing without the people in it. We — you and I — are the bacteria and mold. It sounds unflattering, but you know what I mean.

Sensei used a couple of metaphors of his own, in his special Sensei way. The one I remember also involves bread. He said a dojo without people is like opening a sandwich and there's no meat inside.

Judging by the outpouring of affection at last night's dojo-warming party, I think we will have no problem with sandwich meat.

Okay, the photos finished uploading a little while ago. Below is a link to the Flickr page. You know what to do.

click for Flickr page

Update: I've pruned the photo collection down to a dozen.

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