Sushi is known worldwide for being one of the healthier choices when it comes to dining out, but in recent years, diet-conscious diners have begun to eschew the carb-heavy rice content in a way that’s causing anger amongst chefs, waitstaff, business owners, and the general public in Japan.
This wasteful style of dining has become a sore point since we first wrote about it way back in 2016, and according to a tweet that went viral in Japan recently, the trend sadly appears to be continuing. The tweet, by Twitter user @6jsDrYcsuFZf7EB, captures the essence of the problem with two images taken at a revolving sushi train restaurant showing a table full of plates with rice left on them.
Accompanying the tweet was this message:
“Don’t eat sushi like this, you weirdo. If you don’t want to eat shari, then buy sashimi at the supermarket!”
In Japan, hand-moulded sushi consists of a neta topping, usually made from raw seafood, and shari, specially prepared rice commonly seasoned with a combination of salt, sugar and vinegar. The images in this tweet show the shari has been left behind, which is particularly frustrating for Japanese viewers, given that if you don’t like rice, you can buy raw fish without rice in Japan, and it’s called sashimi.
People had a lot to say about the viral tweet, leaving comments like:
“I work part-time at a sushi restaurant and we see this all the time.”
“These types of diners don’t care about global warming.”
“Japan is crying at these images.”
“The shari is also crying.”
“I apologise to the country’s rice farmers who do their best to provide a good crop of rice.”
“This is shameful. Even if I’m full, I make sure to finish everything on my plate.”
The last point there is one that resonates with a lot of people in Japan, as children here are taught to finish all the food they’ve been given, even if they don’t like it, from a very young age. It’s an equally important part of being an adult in Japan as well, where “every grain of rice is believed to contain the seven gods of good fortune” so leaving behind even one grain at the end of a meal is considered disrespectful, particularly after so many people suffered without food here during World War II.
Still, this trend of leaving rice behind at conveyor belt sushi restaurants is one that needs to be addressed not only by diners but the restaurants themselves. Out of all the well-known revolving sushi chains in Japan, only one – Hamazushi – is said to offer sashimi on their permanent menu.
While other popular chains like Kappa Zushi, Genki Sushi, Sushiro, and Kura Zushi might offer sashimi as part of special campaigns from time to time, it’s not always possible to order sushi without rice. So as the trend continues to stir up debate and anger those in the restaurant business, it might be time for them to build upon initiatives like fish-recycling programs and think about adding some sashimi options to their menus as well.
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