If you’re new to sushi, you probably have a lot of questions, like:
didn’t cook this?”
“Is that guacamole in your soy sauce?” and
“Why are these toothpicks so big?”
It’s a lot to take in, I know. But even if you’ve been a sushi fan for years, there’s a good chance you’ve been blissfully unaware of all your subtle to humiliating sushi faux pas. Whereas there isn’t much nuance to eating, say, a hamburger, sushi is an art. And you can bet the Japanese (who turned drinking tea into a ceremony) have more than a few “rules” when it comes to taking that intricate journey into your mouth.
In the spirit of education, I went to one of the best sushi restaurants in San Francisco: Ichi Sushi. They’re in the process of opening a new location and commissioned lettering master Erik Marinovich to paint a huge mural in the new space that beautifully breaks down all the do’s of eating sushi. It’s a fantastic mural, but lacks the hard truths about what exactly we’ve all been doing so wrong. Allow me to show, not tell. Here, I’ve chosen five rules detailed in Erik’s mural, and asked a fellow sushi lover (who knows she holds her chopsticks weird, okay??) to reenact the good, the bad, and the OH GOD STOP IT YOU’RE EMBARRASSING YOURSELF of sushi etiquette.
I hope this has been eye opening. Now, go test your new knowledge over some of the most well-seasoned nigiri you’ll ever have. Ichi’s new location will open in February at 3282 Mission Street, and will have a separate bar featuring Japanese bar food in the back. In the meantime, go visit the awesomely tiny original at 3369 Mission Street before it’s turned into an oyster bar! (Another “one-bite” food, though I would love to see someone attempt an oyster in multiple bites.)
All illustrations by SF's Erik Marinovich, co-founder of Friends of Type and all-around lettering king. Check out the entire mural huge and in-person at Ichi's new location opening next month.