The Finesse that Sushi Chefs put into making Sushi: "Sushi nara, Dekiru!"

Sushi: A Food for the Soul
What makes Sushi so Special?
Taking a look at the Japanese word “なら (Nara)”

Sushi: A Food for the Soul

Sushi is known to be a soul food for any average Japanese out there. At the same time, you could also say that it is the most famous Japanese food worldwide. Maybe it was due to the fact that that sushi itself had been widely adored and favored by people from around the world. This can go from anything such as the simply putting a raw fish on top of rice, having an easy-to-remember name or even due to the rise in leading a healthier lifestyle amongst people around the globe.

In addition, sushi has built up an image as an easy-to-prepare food. This is because if you ask friends from other countries if they can make any Japanese food, they will often respond:


Romaji: Sushi nara dekiru

English Translation: Making Sushi? I sure can!

How simple would it be to make sushi, you may ask? I’d liken this to how almost anyone can make a sandwich. Pair that along with the image of sushi’s simplicity, perhaps it was because of this, sushi started to gain the popularity of which it’d manage to uphold up till today.


What makes Sushi so Special?

But it seems to me that, among Japanese people, there is still a deeply-rooted attitude toward sushi as something to be made by professional artisans (chefs), and as a special food to be eaten out. Of course sushi is also sold at supermarkets and convenience stores, and we even have conveyor belt sushi. Enjoying hand-rolled sushi at home is popular as well, but still, for ordinary Japanese people, sushi remains a luxury food to be eaten away from home, the king of dining out.

This special feeling toward sushi in Japan may be due to the fact that we all know that becoming a sushi chef requires a high degree of skill. The way that the important sushi ingredient “shari” (cooked rice) is molded makes the difference between sushi that tastes good and sushi that does not, and they say it takes 10 years to be able to do that part perfectly. Of course, one also needs to have a good eye for “neta” (the ingredient that goes on top). Putting one’s soul into that very simplicity, that is where the characteristic skill of the Japanese artisan lies, and that is what makes sushi a special food.

It is fascinating that although sushi itself has spread worldwide, the original image and skills associated with preparing sushi have hardly crossed the border!


Taking a look at the Japanese word “なら (Nara)”

Now let’s understand the grammar of the little word “nara”. Japanese language has several ways to express the meaning of “if” and one of them is the conjunction “nara”, 「なら」. Always refering to the preceding statement, it can be explained as “if the preceding phrase is true, then…”. Although “nara” can be used in many ways, in this context, it is used to mean that, under limited conditions, something is possible. To have a better grasp of the notion, let’s read the two following examples:

Example 1:

受付: 明日午後はいかがですか。
あなた: 午後はちょっと。午前中なら空いているんですが。

Uketsuke: Ashita gogo wa ikaga desuka?
Anata: Gogo wa chotto. Gozen chuu nara aiteirundesuga.

Receptionist: How is tomorrow afternoon?
You: I can’t do the afternoon. If it’s in the morning, I am free.

Example 2:

A: 日本語が話せますか。
B: はい、日常会話なら、できます。

A: Nihongo ga hanase masuka?
B: Hai, nichijyou kaiwa nara dekimasu.

A: Can you speak Japanese?
B: Yes, in everyday conversation, I can speak it.

Credit CC BY-SA 2.0: Norio NAKAYAMA
Title: 回転寿司 魚磯
source: Flickr

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