Friday, April 26, 2013

Japan Blog Carnival: Samurai Sushi

Blog Carnival!

What is it? It's where different bloggers get together and write about a similar topic. Thanks to Sophelia at who organized all of this , a few of us gaijin here in Japan got together and wrote about food in Japan. Check the links below for some interesting stories  from some very cool blogs.

Then at the bottom you can find mine ... SAMURAI SUSHI!

by">Sophelia's Adventures in Japan. Sophelia regularly blogs about teaching, adoption, dogs, vegetarianism and general geekiness.

< br />">Eating My Way Around an Island by">Big Red Dots and Squggly Inkblots. Furiida blogs about her experiences as a JET Programme participant in the rural prefecture of Oita.

< br />">The History of Yakiniku by">Angry Gaijin. Cameron Ohara is a Gaikokujin (foriegner) living in Japan. But get this - he was actually Japanese in a previous life! Now it's all he can do to get his Japanese comrades to look beyond his red hair and tall nose and see the Japanese human that exists within!

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Samurai Sushi

Eat, drink, cook” she said … what a great topic! I’m not sure if the genius was intended, but there is no way gaijin living in Japan could not write on such a topic. That is unless you have your moms send you more than just coffee and oatmeal in the mail. I for one, rate cooking way down on the list of “things about me”, and yet I have one Japanese-master-secret -technique to tell you about.


But before I talk about the process directly involved in filling yourself with Japanese food, I’ll instruct you on the proper scenario required for such a feast. As is with many things in Japan, you can’t just get started putting things together and call it … well, something to be talked about.


First of all, this meal is best to on your day-off. This meal is a gold nugget amid a day of doing only exactly what you want. Any hindrance on this purity will only degrade the experience. Ask yourself what your favorite thing to do on your day off is, and do just that.


Secondly, this meal comes best after some kind of expended effort. This kind of meal is  something to be earned, not expected. Though the effort expended should be the best you can give, that doesn’t mean the hardest necessarily, but that kind best aligned with your interest. Surely you are interested in something you can expend effort for! I recommend something physical. Personally, I take this meal after a long bike ride into the mountains. This is very important.


Thirdly, this is a meal to be enjoyed alone. I hesitate a bit with this very crucial step, but it has less to do with any anti-social behaviors of mine, and more to the fact of enjoying this meal without unnecessary chatter or judgments. … OK, well maybe you can eat it with someone else, but only if they’re really cool.


So on with the ingredients; what are we going to eat!? And drink!?




Or more specifically, sashimi, that which is bought from your local supermarket. You’ll often find different packs of various pre-sliced sashimi, but I don’t mess with that. I go for the long solid slabs of salmon. They usually have tuna available as well, but I happen to like salmon better, so that’s what I do. In my experience, there are two price ranges which aren’t so far apart, but make a huge difference. If I find a one-person-size piece of my favorite sushi and it’s less than 200 yen, it’ll be the bad kind and ruin the whole meal. But, if I go for the 300-400 yen range, it’ll be the best sushi I’ve ever bought at the supermarket. I’m sure there are more ways of figuring out what makes such a huge difference, but translating the label in my head while I’m being swarmed by obaachans in the fish aisle seems like a lot of work.


So, you get the fish, and all the rest is super-easy. Make white rice in your rice cooker. Boil hot water to add to the miso soup packets you got at the supermarket with your fish. Then buy lots of Asahi in the large glass bottles, 2 works good for me, and one small-medium sized bottle of sake, I go for Tateyama, largely because it’s from my prefecture and really good. In fact, that’s important too. You should get local sake, or Tateyama because it’s just really good.


Now there is one last step and it’s not dessert. The last step is watching a period-film by the famous director, Akira Kurosawa along with the meal. I’d give some recommendations, but the list is far too long. Just rent/buy/download a Kurosawa film involving samurai and you’ll be good to go. This step really adds the right mood to the meal. It doesn’t have to be like preparing for seppuku or anything, but the black and white of it all makes it feel important. Somehow, the stereotypes of samurai and sushi really do go well together.


That’s it! So go now to your calendar, mark one of your next days off as “your own sacred day”, go have an adventure during the day, and then treat yourself to this meal of at-home-samurai-sashimi.


  1. I have to admit that after living here for three years I have never tried slicing my own sashimi at home. I am pretty tempted to try this relaxed little scenario but I am going to skip the bike ride :)

  2. Two bottles of beer AND sake? I think my movie would end up in technicolour XD

  3. Oh man! You have no idea how much this post resonated with me! You've got it all bang-on, my friend. Making it a day off, having the glass-bottled beer, making sure you get good quality fish, and finally having the old Kurosawa flick playing while you eat. Perfect!!

    Great post for the Blog Carnival!

  4. Hello! I suspect that this may be your sort of thing, but I would like to nominate you for a Liebster Award:

    Now, you may not like being called "darling", but keep in mind that it is German, and I believe we share an interest in music from that part of the world ;) So to make it sound more metal, I shall say that I am nominating you for a \m/ Liebster \m/