A Sushi Restaurant in Tokyo

I get on the Akihabara metro to go to the sushi restaurant that I determined to go before. In that restaurant I ate sardines and baby squids with my dear friend Bahattin five years ago. I am planning both to remember that day and to enjoy the sushi by myself.

Sitting on the bar makes me closer to the sushi master.

When I enter the restaurant, the smell of the moss fills my lungs. At one side, there is a ten-meter long bar. There are tables in single file at the other side. All of them are occupied. My intention is to sit on the bar. I notice that there is a space for two. I sit between the two couples. Sitting on the bar makes me closer to the sushi master. So, I can watch the sushi master preparing the sushi. The chef in this restaurant is an experienced sushi master who is over the middle age. It is apparent that he likes his job because he does not forget his stomach while preparing the sushis. It can be understood from his heavyweight body.

I just want to eat nigiri today. I choose Anago-ebi (eel and shrimp) as starter. When I order my meal, the sushi master shouts as much as he can. His sudden reaction is replied by the other sushi master and by some frequenters at the other end of the restaurant. As far as I understand from his body language, my order pleases him. Now he has started a fiery operation. The fish is cut, smoked, saucerized and is covered with fish eggs. In order to place the material he has prepared before, he takes a handful of rice to his hand he has wetted before. He places the material on the rice. After several flavoring and visuality touch-ups, I say that I guess now it is ready, but the sushi master squeezes a shrimp with his fist and adds one drop of the shrimp’s juice on the sushi. In the meantime, I complete my preparations. I put soy sauce into a sauce bowl and I put some wasabi and pickled ginger to my plate. After a ten-minute hard work, the sushi master whose face indicates he is proud of his work, passes the sushi to me. I say “Arigato gozaimasu” politely. “Dou itashi mashite”, replies the sushi master.

Every flavor arouses different feelings depending on the parts of the tongue and depending on the time of the eating process.

Before eating the sushi, I ate a piece of pickled ginger. My intention was to prepare my palate. The pickled ginger is not a kind of seasoning that can be put on the sushi, so it is eaten before every sushi to remove the taste existing in the mouth and to freshen the mouth. I smear some wasabi on my sushi according to my palate. It is not correct to mix the wasabi with soy sauce and to eat the sushi by dipping this mixture. The reason for that is because you must feel every flavor separately. Every flavor arouses different feelings depending on the parts of the tongue and depending on the time of the eating process. Mixing the two flavors is against the philosophy of the sushi.

Eating the sushi by cutting into two is like buying the half of a painting you see in the art gallery.

I place the chopsticks into my fingers to eat the whole sushi in one move. The fork should not be used to eat the sushi. It is okay if you are not able to use chopsticks, using your hands is more appropriate. Cutting the sushi into two with a knife or biting the half of it is not appropriate. The reason for that is because every sushi is a work of art and it is both visual and gustative composition. Eating the sushi by cutting into two is like buying the half of a painting you see in the art gallery.

Lastly, I dip the half of my sushi into soy sauce before I eat it. And now the sushi is in my mouth. Mmm. I like the temperature of the rice. The ideal temperature of the rice must be around 35 degrees. In order to increase my concentration on the flavor, I close my eyes and I avoid using my teeth for maximum taste. I crush the sushi between my tongue and my palate and I try to feel every flavor that exists in the preparation of the sushi by circulating it in my mouth. After swallowing it, I open my eyes to take a sip from my drink. It was fantastic. There is no need to hurry to order another sushi.

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5 Comments A Sushi Restaurant in Tokyo

  1. Chip October 9, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Good lord the Japanese are awesome! The amount of craftsmanship and thought that goes into something as simple as a fish dinner. Incredible! I just got into sushi and find it really good, but I didn’t know that wasabi and soy were supposed to be separate like that. Interesting.

    Reply
    1. Tunart October 9, 2015 at 6:06 am

      When I was in San Francisco I saw the people were always mixing wasabi and soy. This is may be an American approach to sushi culture. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Kelly October 9, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I’ve just experienced sushi lately so I’m new to all of this. I was unaware of the pickled ginger. I’ve used soy before and loved that. I would have never known that you were not suppose to mix sauces. Maybe it’s an American approach or maybe people just don’t know how toneat it properly like me

    Reply
  3. Caitlin October 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve only gotten to experience great sushi a couple of times in my life. Your post really makes me want to go out in search for some right now! It’s amazing just how much talent and genius a sushi master has. A good one can make an absolute masterpiece for the mouth.

    Reply
  4. Lila Fischer October 20, 2015 at 4:50 am

    Very nicely narrated 🙂 All the time long I just felt as if I am sitting next to you in that Sushi restaurant. I have never tried Sushi before. Some of my friends did recommend it to be a few times but I never felt appealed to it. But now, I would definitely try it out some day.

    Reply

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