Sushi is not just a meal; it's a food art that the Japanese have perfected over centuries. It has been said it was a fast food for a particular social class from the Edo period (1600 – 1800’s) onwards. While the focus often lies on the skill of the sushi chef or ‘Itamae’ and the quality of fresh ingredients, understanding the nuances of sushi etiquette is important. Let’s explore the finer points of how to eat sushi properly.
Choosing the Right Restaurant. You can start your sushi journey by selecting a reputable sushi restaurant. An expert Itamae chef will take 5 – 10 years to understand their trade to become a skilled sushi chef using traditional preparation methods. So, take time out to do that bit of scrolling to find the perfect restaurant with it's own Itamae.
Traditional Japanese Sushi vs. Western Sushi. Sushi menus can be diverse, ranging from offering Japanese-style sushi to nigiri using three to four fresh ingredients. Conversely, western style, from sashimi to hand rolls, uses ingredients, various creamy toppings and extra condiments.
Chopsticks or Fingers? Many think that chopsticks are an ultimate tool for enjoying sushi. However that is not the case in Japan. The Japanese prefer to hold sushi with the fingers, avoiding touching the rice or protein and directly holding the seaweed. If you want to use chopsticks hold them towards the ‘top’ or thicker ends and not in the middle. When picking up a piece of sushi, do so gently and avoid stabbing it.
Rice. Rice is the hero of the sushi story, rather than fish. The rice that is used in sushi is Japanese short-grain rice. This rice is also used to make sake and rice vinegar. Sushi rice, known as "shari" or "sumeshi," is made by washing short-grain Japanese rice to remove excess starch. After draining, the rice is cooked with water and rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The cooked rice is then cooled and seasoned, creating a slightly sweet, sticky consistency perfect for making sushi.
Soy Sauce - Shoyu. When dipping sushi into soy sauce, please do it carefully without soaking the rice making it soggy consequently falling apart and it going splat! The Japanese way is to pick up the sushi (rice and salmon only) on it's side then turning the chopsticks, dip the fish side of the sushi into the soy sauce. If you are holding a piece of sushi with nori wrapped around it, then dip only one side only for sushi. Never mix wasabi and soy sauce or ginger with the soy sauce and finally never shake the soy sauce off the item you are about to eat.
Wasabi and Ginger. Wasabi is a Japanese type-horseradish and ginger is known as shouga. These two ingredients are not optional side extras as they are in Western restaurants. Wasabi is served as a light topping or within the sushi roll itself. Pickled ginger is a siding to help cleanse the palate; remember never to place ginger on the sushi, a big no-no. Instead, pick up the ginger between bite of sushi with your fingers.
Nori. Nori is a dried edible seaweed made from species of the red algae. It has a distinctive and memorable flavour, used to wrap rolls of sushi. A good Japanese restaurant will use the highest grade nori which is the most tenderest of all the grading of nori.
Eating at the counter or table? Typically, Japanese diners opt for the counter due to its impact on temperature. Temperature fluctuations can notably influence the flavour and quality of both the protein and rice, making even minor variations a crucial factor in the sushi experience.
Typical Traditional Japanese Sushi. There are many traditional dishes that restaurants can serve and specialise in. Here are a few items on the menu that you could find: chirashizushi - scattered sushi, oshizushi - pressed sushi, nigirizushi - hand-pressed sushi, narezushi - matured (fermented) sushi, makizushi - rolled sushi and inarizushi - fried tofu pouch filled with sushi rice.
Western Japanese Sushi. Hand rolls like California or lobster rolls are designed to be eaten quickly. Here you will find ingredients such as Kewpie mayonnaise, avocado, cucumber and crab, which Japanese sushi chef Ichiro Mashita invented in 1960s Los Angeles due to not finding the type of fatty tuna found in Japan, replacing it with an equally oily yet fresh ingredient of avocado. Another modern invention is the much-loved Kewpie mayonnaise was created by Toichiro Nakashima to improve the health of the Japanese population in 1925.
By understanding the nuances of sushi, you can enhance your dining experience and pay homage to the rich cultural heritage behind this iconic Japanese cuisine. Itadakimasu or bon appetite, as they say in Japan.
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I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. Do you want to know more about etiquette & protocol? Hello, I'm Elizabeth Soos. I'm resolved to help you on your personal development journey. One question? Will you begin your journey?
In the digital age, email remains a cornerstone of professional communication. Writing a well-crafted professional email is not only a demonstration of your communication skills but also a reflection of your professionalism. In this article, we'll delve into the essential elements of writing a professional email that commands attention, conveys your message clearly, and leaves a lasting positive impression.
Type a Concise Subject Line - The subject line is the first thing your recipient sees, so make it count. A concise subject line that accurately reflects the email's content helps the recipient understand its importance at a glance.
Use a Formal Salutation - Address the recipient formally, using appropriate titles such as "Dear Mr. Taylor" or "Hello Professor Michaels." The salutation sets the tone for the rest of the email and shows respect for the recipient.
Begin with a Polite Greeting - After the salutation, offer a polite greeting or acknowledgment. A simple "I hope this email finds you well" or "Thank you for your call today" can set a positive tone for the conversation.
Opening Paragraph: State Your Purpose Clearly - In the opening paragraph, succinctly state the purpose of your email. Be clear and to the point, ensuring that the recipient understands the main reason for your communication.
The Body of the Email: Provide Relevant Details - In the body of the email, provide all necessary information in a well-organised manner. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make the content easy to read and understand.
Closing Paragraph: Offer Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
End your email with a clear call-to-action, indicating what you expect from the recipient. Whether it's a response, further action, or simply acknowledging receipt, make it explicit and easy for them to understand.
Professional Language and Tone - Maintain a professional tone throughout the email. Avoid slang, informal language, or overly casual expressions. Your language should be clear, courteous, and respectful.
Express Gratitude - Before closing, express gratitude for the recipient's time and consideration. Use phrases like "Thank you for your attention" or "I appreciate your help in this matter."
Professional Sign-off - End your email with a professional sign-off, such as "Sincerely" or "Best Regards," followed by your full name.
Proofread and Edit - Before hitting "send," proofread your email meticulously for grammar, spelling, and formatting errors. A professional email is a reflection of your attention to detail.
Use a Descriptive Email Signature - Create an email signature that includes your full name, title, company name, contact details, and any other relevant information. This provides a clear reference to who you are and how you can be reached.
Mastering the art of writing professional emails is a crucial skill in today's business landscape as they will never fade out of view. By following these guidelines, remember, effective communication is key to building and maintaining strong professional relationships.
Receiving invitations is a wonderful affirmation of our social connections, but there are moments when we simply can't attend every event that comes our way. Politely declining an invitation is an essential skill that helps maintain relationships while respecting our own boundaries. With a pinch of tact and a dash of courtesy, you can gracefully navigate these situations without burning bridges or causing hurt feelings. In this article, we'll explore the art of saying 'no' with grace and kindness.
Polite declination of invitations is an essential aspect of maintaining positive relationships and personal well-being. By responding promptly, using kind language, and being honest but tactful, you can gracefully navigate the delicate art of declining an invitation. Approach each invitation with appreciation and respect, and your polite declines will be a testament to your thoughtfulness and consideration for others.
Have you ever received a posh invitation that made you break out in a sweat? Your mind starts spinning 'What do I wear? How do I act? Can I check my Instagram account if it get boring? We're about to unravel the mysteries of event etiquette, from formal galas to backyard BBQs, let's explore the wild world of social norms. Get ready to put on your fancy pants as we navigate through the jungle of dos and don'ts.
Dress code. Always follow the specified dress code for the event. Whether it's formal, semi-formal, business casual, or casual attire, dressing appropriately shows respect for the occasion and its hosts.
Punctuality. Arrive on time or slightly early for events. Being punctual demonstrates consideration for the organisers and other guests. RSVP: If an invitation includes an RSVP request, respond promptly to confirm your attendance or regrets.
Greeting and introductions. When entering an event, greet the hosts and other guests warmly. Offer a firm handshake and introduce yourself if necessary. When introducing others, mention their names and provide some context if possible.
Mingling and conversation. Be sociable and engage in conversations with different attendees. Show genuine interest in others and avoid monopolising the conversation.
Phone usage. Practice good phone etiquette by keeping your phone on silent or vibrate mode. Excuse yourself to a private area if you need to make or take an extended call.
Table manners. At formal dinners or banquets, follow proper table manners, such as using utensils correctly, waiting for others to be served before eating, and keeping elbows off the table.
Speeches. If you're delivering a speech, keep it concise and relevant to the occasion. Avoid controversial or inappropriate topics, save that for family and friends.
Gift-giving. If you're attending an event with a gift-giving tradition (weddings, or holidays), bring a thoughtful gift that aligns with the recipient's preferences.
Thank-you notes. After the event, send thank-you notes to the hosts to express your appreciation for the invitation and hospitality. Hosts have afforded time, money and energy to put on a wonderful experience for their guests.
Departure. Avoid leaving an event abruptly without saying goodbye to the hosts and other guests. If you need to leave early, inform the hosts beforehand. Conversely, don't overstay where your hosts are obliged to take care of you when they want to wind down after organising the event.
Respect cultural differences. If the event involves different cultural backgrounds, be aware of and respectful towards their customs and traditions.
Remaining mindful that each event may have specific nuances, so adapt these guidelines as needed. The key is to be considerate, respectful, and attentive to the expectations and customs of the particular occasion.