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JP 05: Fish in Vinegared Rice – Sushi-寿司, 鮨, 鮓

Conveyor belt sushi
Well, we couldn’t let the food shows go by without addressing sushi, could we? So, here you’ll find our take on the world of raw fish (and other things) on top of vinegared rice.

  • In all of our shared languages it’s sushi…no?
  • it’s actually sashimi
  • nori is not seaweed
  • nori is seaweed
  • nori is not seaweed
  • nori is seaweed
  • have you ever seen something in the sea that looks like that…
  • it’s algae, scraped off of rocks and dried, it’s the green slime on rocks
  • it’s more related to mosses and lichens
  • nori is grown artificially on metal sheets in an immersion tank or something like that
  • kombu is bits of seaweed; flat bits that expand in water
  • so it’s not actually kelp
  • some nori looks crispy green paper
  • the Korean one – very salty and lacey
  • sashimi is sliced raw fish
  • then there’s horse sashimi, or basashi, although horses are not fish, so there’s that
  • there’s makizushi, or rolled sushi
  • rice ball wrapped in nori
  • tuna mayonnaise onigiri (especially from Seven-Eleven)
  • Karamoon loves to try the new onigiri: chicken or pork cutlet, or spam
  • one conbini apparently had a fingertip in their onigiri: (Ed. but of course that’s an isolated incident from years ago – they’re generally very safe packaged foods)
  • vinegared rice topped with fish, standard sushi, is called (Ed. negirizushi)
  • there’s sushi with sprinkled topping on the rice, which is chirashizushi
  • there’s fish, eggs, and bits of nori on a bowl of rice – it’s still called sushi
  • sushi was originally a way of preserving fish, even though now it’s raw fish
  • you’d originally put together your rice, vinegar and fish, and the vinegar in the rice pickled the fish: still available in Kansai
  • that was pre-refrigeration: it’s now turned into the complete opposite
  • sometimes it’s served live: pregnant fish, flaked
  • many Westerners have a very squeamish attitude towards food
  • Karamoon doesn’t like offal (kidney, liver)
  • Terri doesn’t either, although she likes liverwurst – but it’s rare here
  • sashimi will often be served with the head still on
  • folks are used to it – they’re not squeamish at all
  • in African American culture, there have also been offal foods like chitlins: didn’t like them at home, don’t like them here
  • Terri is allergic to shellfish and it’s a good thing, because she doesn’t like the taste anyway
  • making sushi by hand is fun
  • anything from the sea provides fantastic food for Japan
  • where do you go to eat sushi – regular restaurant or a real sushi bar?
  • at a sushi bar, you generally sit at the bar and watch things prepared
  • the non-rich more often go to kaitenzushi, or sushi on conveyor belts – very inexpensive and you can choose your own food, dish by dish – one problem is that they can get a bit dry
  • of course the conveyor belt is a gimmick – if you ask the waitstaff they will bring your dish fresh from the kitchen
  • plates are color coded, cheapest plate might be ¥80 – 120, and so forth
  • you keep the plates and take them to the register when you finish, they total them up by color and that’s how you pay your bill
  • lots of different kinds of people go there: families, etc
  • Japanese people don’t eat sushi every day – most families might go to a sushi restaurant once a month, but it’s not a really big thing
  • they’re more likely to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken (especially if it’s Christmas)

  • Terri records the show on her iPhone3G
    Tom Toeda of fti studio mixes the show.
    image credit: by Suviko Suvi Korhonen
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    Next show we continue with our food theme, exploring chopsticks.

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    2 Responses to “JP 05: Fish in Vinegared Rice – Sushi-寿司, 鮨, 鮓”

    1. Hey guys! I’m a first time listener who found you through Loco’s blog. Specifically the post about the recent Japan Writers Conference.

      I enjoyed your conversation about sushi, sashimi and onigiri but felt compelled to leave a “well actually” regarding nori. I found this relatively succinct wikipedia article about what nori is. Take a look!

      Keep up the good work you two!

      • Terri says:

        Yikes! Thank you Matsuuchi-san! You’re absolutely right about the nori, sorry about that.
        Well, I guess we can say we’re also a compendium of common misconceptions…;-)

        thanks for listening and commenting. any friend of Loco is a friend of ours…