Tokyo sushi chef aspires to spread the art of Japan’s standard ‘fast food’ to the entire world



a tray of food: A sushi platter is seen at the sushi restaurant Matsunozushi in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward on Sept. 7, 2020. (Mainichi/Emi Naito)


© The Mainichi
A sushi platter is seen at the sushi restaurant Matsunozushi in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward on Sept. 7, 2020. (Mainichi/Emi Naito)

TOKYO — “When autumn strategies, mackerel results in being prosperous in fats. Salmon start to lay eggs, so ikura (salmon roe) during this time is tasty. Bluefin tuna also normally takes on a unique winter season style.” So states sushi chef Yoshinori Tezuka, 41, as he carefully designs rice in his hand to make sushi using fatty tuna.

“Distinctive types of fish all have their have time. I would like for people to style the variation in seasons by the fish,” states the chef of Matsunozushi, a sushi cafe close to Tokyo Bay in the capital’s Shinagawa Ward. The moist pale pink topping of uncooked fish glistening in the eatery appears too very good to be devoured in a single bite.

Matsunozushi, which has been providing common Japanese delicacies for 110 many years, began off as a sushi street stall in the Shibashinmei spot — currently the place all around the capital’s Hamamatsucho district — in 1910. The eatery held the atmosphere of Edo-type sushi stalls that apparently started to appear during the latter 50 % of the Edo time period (1603-1868). They ended up transportable booths alternatively than institutions with counters — permit by yourself the rotating conveyor belts that are observed at some eateries today. Sushi two to three occasions larger sized than the existing servings were geared up at the stalls, and crammed the stomachs of the men and women dwelling in Edo.

Tezuka remarks, “It was the rapid food stuff of the time. Staying able to grab a brief chunk of sushi, which men and women could pick up simply with one particular hand, seemed to have been properly-obtained amongst Edo locals, who tended to be hasty and brusque.”

Sushi — raw fish on vinegar-flavored rice — can be broadly labeled into two varieties: “oshizushi,” or pressed sushi, an previous tradition originating in the western Japan location of Kansai and “nigirizushi,” or hand-formed sushi, also regarded as “Edomae-zushi.” “Edomae,” which can be literally translated as “in entrance of Edo,” refers to fish caught in the sea in entrance of Edo (at this time the Tokyo Bay). To phrase it in modern-day phrases, it was “regional output for local usage.”

“Kohada (gizzard shad), anago (saltwater eel), octopus, ark clam, Asian tricky clam, Japanese tiger prawn, smelt-whiting, cuttlefish … A selection of fresh seafood these types of as these experienced been caught in the sea of Edo through just about every time. Edomae-zushi sites a great deal of time and effort into getting ready each and every different style of topping, from soaking it in vinegar to marinating it in soy sauce, steaming it or boiling it, in addition to preparations to make the uncooked fish edible,” Tezuka factors out. “Sushi is packed with Japanese foodstuff tradition that locations worth on seasonal flavor.”

Tezuka, the fourth-era head chef of Matsunozushi, has also worked to spread the charms of sushi to numerous by getting ready the delicacy for persons exterior his cafe. He has actively engaged in promoting the artwork of sushi overseas, when drawing from his 4-calendar year working experience as a ski tour manual in Europe and North The usa at a young age. Throughout the Osaka G-20 summit previous year, Tezuka shown his expertise in entrance of the spouses of entire world leaders, and conveyed the coronary heart and essence of the craft in English. The chef has also held classes where by visitors from overseas can experience making their personal sushi, as nicely as excursions of the Tsukiji outer market place. He has engaged in teaching lessons on food stuff at elementary educational facilities as perfectly.

Inventive efforts have also been designed for the uncooked fish topping by itself. As there are foreigners who can’t consume fish, shellfish, or other meals deriving from animals, the chef made “vegetable sushi” so that these people can also enjoy the common dish. Servings of sushi topped with tomato, spinach, shiitake mushrooms and the like are well-liked for their shiny colours that simply cannot be seen in fish.

The tuna Tezuka offered to Mainichi Shimbun reporters was from a Pacific bluefin tuna caught in the Atlantic Ocean weighing around 150 kilograms. The range has obtained certification less than the Marine Stewardship Council’s world normal for sustainable fishing of tuna, as a precious resource of the ocean.

“How we can savor these restricted methods when valuing them is a theme to be explored. Japan, an island country surrounded by the sea, has an amazing ecosystem the place unique sorts of new fish can be eaten raw in each time. I would like for us to appreciate the flavor of Edomae whilst learning from the wisdom of men and women in the aged times who treasured their cherished substances.”

Tezuka’s remark overflowed with a devotion to taste as a sushi chef, and enthusiasm geared toward passing on the culture of Japanese foods to the upcoming era.

For more information and facts, you should get in touch with Matsunozushi at 03-3761-5622, or check out the restaurant’s internet site at https://matsunozushi.com/

(Japanese original by Tadahiko Mori, The Mainichi Workers Author)