=> HomeComputer Legend > The Wise Man's Restaurant  [Japanese]

Many years ago there lived a wise couple.The two of them planned to run a restaurant, but their plans were foiledbefore they completed their task. When the building of the restaurantwas almost built there was a vast forest fire that caused the price of woodto suddenly spike, and the poor couple could not procure enough planksto complete their floor. You can't receive customers when you don't havea floor. If there are no customers then there is no income.This meant that there would be no income to buy the expensive needed floorboarding. The only thing that increased was their debt.

1. The mysterious set up

One day God observed the wise couple and said to them.
"It seems that you are in real trouble, so I will grant you one wish."
The couple rejoiced for this that they had not even dreamed of,but they asked that they could hold off their request until the nextmorning so they could consider. After god had said yes he left themfor the night.

The next day when God appeared to the couple again they asked him to grantthem a curious set up for the restaurant. This request seemed so strangethat he thought it would not really be very useful for them.Because he knew they were in need of floorboards, he was surprised andchecked with them again if this was really their wish or notsaying that this was their only request he would grant.However, from that day forward their restaurant became very prosperous.Since then no one was ever seen taking floor boards into the restaurant.How in the world could they possibly take in customers without floor boards?

One of the customers said that the floor of the restaurant was painted jetblack and could not tell if there were really floor boards or not.To summarize the witnesses at the restaurant this is how the story was going.

When a customer arrived at the door he first saw the jet black floor andhesitated for a moment as if wondering whether or not to go in.But the couple told him that there was nothing wrong, then he moved ahead.Even after walking into the restaurant he was still wondering if there werereally floor boards or not.He asked the couple if there was a hole in the floor. The couple in reply laughed and said, "Of course not, we wouldn't haveour customers in such a place".As the customer was then assured of this fact he took step forward andfound his foot to be firmly on the floor. With the worry dismissed thecustomer soon walked around the store freely.

2. How to use the set up (trick)

This couple's request made to God for the set up was like this."When a customer comes into the restaurant and he is about to stumble timeis held still in the place and the couple is signaled about this time lapse".In fact the floor had many holes and sooner or later someone would step offthe floor boards.When a customer was about to step off he was frozen in time as if he were amotionless mannequin.The husband raised his foot and the wife ran off toremove a floor board from another place placing it under the foot of thecustomer.The couple then gave a light push to the customer's back by which the timelapse was broken and the customer took his step safely. This trick was donein a time lapse and the customer then believed that the floor was complete.By the way you might think that if the couple had to do this every timethe customer walked there would be no time for cooking.However, after the first few times the customer stumbled he seldom didagain because the customer, indeed, walked only on a certain coursein the restaurant. After the couple did this for a while they purchasedmore wood and the restaurant was completed.

3. The wise man's wisdom living in the present

This wisdom is used in computer systems in modern times.Most computers have the same kind of set up as the restaurant,but instead of the couple switching the floorboards the work in the computeris done by software called a "kernel".Instead of floor boards the gaps are filled with memory and that is the onlydifference.

For the computer program to act the computer needs a lot of memory.But because it is so expensive the amount of memory equiped on a usual computeris very small.However, a "kernel" can make the computer operate as if it hadmuch greater memory capacity than it really has.What is more, it can also make the programming itself much easier becauseif you use a "kernel" you don't have to make the trouble offormulating the program with a limited, small portion of memory.You can use your knowledge to reach a higher level of operation.It is just like this wise man in the restaurant, the customer can enjoythe scenery and the food because he/she doesn't have to worry aboutthe floor boards. It helps us to accomplish a higher purpose.

Why didn't the couple ask for the floor boards themselves?That is because someone else would have to give up their floorboardsfor their sake. It was not the desire of the couple to take from others.

The wise couple knew that the resources that they needed would be veryexpensive at any time. The most valuable thing to learn from them isthe wisdom of how to use resources. If we use these very wisely we canuse limited resources effectively and efficiently.

Because they were truly a wise couple their wisdom goes useful beyondtheir own time.[1996]

2002 Translated by Takayoshi SASAKI.
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Copyright 1996 Shigio YAMAGUCHI. All rights reserved.