Sushi Bar Lingo

    * Itamae-san - head chef
    * Irrashai mase - "Come in, welcome!"
    * Gari - pickled ginger
    * Ohashi - chopsticks
    * Shoyu - soy sauce
    * Sushi-Suki? - Do you like sushi?
    * Wasabi - horseradish-like condiment

    * Ohayou - Good morning
    * Konnichiwa - Good afternoon
    * Konbanwa - Good evening
    * Sayonara - Good bye
    * Dewa mata - See you later
    * Mata ashita - See you tomorrow
    * Genki desu ka - How are you?
    * Banzai - Cheers!
    * Delicious - Umai

The Japanese word SUSHI literally means "seasoned rice", not raw fish as many believe. At least half of the menu items at a sushi bar are fully cooked.

If this is your first time looking into a sushi bar, these terms may help you!

First is NIGIRI ("gently hand pressed")
The Chef forms a small mound of sushi (seasoned rice) in his hands and tops it with selected ingredients.

Next is MAKI(roll)
Rice and toasted seaweed (NORI) are rolled around other ingredients and cut into pieces.

Third is TEMAKI (hand roll)
Tamaki is Nori formed into a cone shape and filled with rice and other ingredients.

Fourth is SASHIMI (fish, usually raw)
Sliced and served without rice.

With your order, you will find WASABI (Japanese horse radish)
and GARI (pickled ginger) intimately placed on your dish next to your sushi. Blend your Wasabi into your small dish of soy sauce. Use Wasabi sparingly until you develop a taste for this spicy paste. Gari is eaten with or between bites of "sushi". It is usually used as a palette cleanser.

SAKEis Japanese Rice Wine served hot. A nice compliment to your dinner for those of you over 21.

HISTORY OF SUSHI  <Sushi Cook Book-by Yukiko Moriyama>

Japan is an island nation, its surrounding seas warmed by Kuroshio, the plankton-rich Japan Current, and abundant with an astonishing variety of fish and shellfish. The island themselves are mountainous, and what little arable land exists is terraced and carefully cultivated to coax rice and a few other crops form the earth. Japan has always fed its dense population from the sea and the rice fields, its cuisine emphasizing what nature provides. Sushi, the combination of raw fish and seasoned rice that seems so exotic to foreigners, is a supremely logical food in Japan.

Sushi began centuries ago in Japan as a method of preserving fish. It is told that the origins of sushi came form countries of Southeastern Asia. Cleaned, raw fish were pressed between layers of salt and weighted with a stone. After a few weeks, the stone was removed and replaced with a light cover, and a few months after that, the fermented fish and rice were considered ready to eat. Some restaurants in Tokyo still serve this original style of sushi, called nare-sushi made with freshwater carp. Its flavor is so strong that it obscures the fish's identity altogether, and nare-sushi is something of an acquired taste.
It wasn't until the eighteenth century that a clever chef named Yohei decided to forego the fermentation and serve sushi in something resembling its present form. It became very popular and two distinct styles emerged Kansai style, from the city of Osaka in the Kansai region, and Edo style, from Tokyo, which was then called Edo. Osaka has always been the commercial capital of Japan, and the rice merchants there developed sushi that consisted primarily of seasoned rice mixed with other ingredients and formed into decorative, edible packages. Tokyo, located on a bay then rich with fish and shellfish, produced nigiri sushi, featuring a select bit of seafood on a small pad of seasoned rice. Although the ornamental sushi of the Kansai region is still very popular, it is nigiri sushi that foreigners are familiar with. Today, even Japanese consider nigiri sushi is the origin of sushi!