International Sushi Day


By  Sharon Schweitzer


To find the origins of sushi we must look at a dish called narezushi. Narezushi is salted fish stored in fermented rice for months at a time. Southeast Asia and Japan both had their own version of the dish, the rice was discarded and the fish was eaten. This was the first iteration of sushi and was seen by the Japanese as an important source of protein.

In the Edo Period, between 1600 and 1800 in Japan, sushi as we know it was established. Fish and vegetables were wrapped in rice and mixed with vinegar. Much like with Narezushi, each region had its own variations to it, but this is close to the version most people in today’s world are familiar with. In the early 1800s, the style of nigirizushi began to emerge. This consisted of a mound of rice with a slice of fish draped over it.

The Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 disrupted the Japanese economy and it displaced many people from Edo Japan. Japanese people were forced to restart their lives in new places and this consequently took sushi all over the world.

In the U.S, sushi was emerging from communities in Little Tokyo by the mid-twentieth century. It became popular among Hollywood celebrities which led to it gaining the public’s attention. What was once foreign to Americans became Americanized with the California roll that used crab and avocado instead of raw fish. In 2009, International Sushi Day was proclaimed for June 18th. The idea came from Facebook and it took on a life of its own. It apparently started with a sushi Facebook Fan page, which proved very popular. So the page admin created International Sushi Day. 

The preparation and fillings of sushi vary widely. Popular types of sushi include:

  • Sashimi
  • Nigiri
  • Maki
  • Tekkamaki
  • Norimaki
  • Uramaki

Popular fish used in sushi: tuna, salmon, mackerel and snapper.

Avocado, carrots and cucumber are the most popular veggies used in Sushi – all veggies that are low in calories but high in nutrients.

Don’t forget to partake in the wasabi and ginger that accompany your sushi roll! Spicy wasabi contains antioxidants and pickled ginger is an antimicrobial and antiviral agent that helps boost your immune system. Ginger is also a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese.

So, with all of these sushi options, meshiagare! (That’s Japanese for bon appétit.)


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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