Chirashi sushi is unlike all other kinds of sushi. Even though it consists of rice with fish and vegetables, the preparation and presentation is different. All other types of sushi are somehow pressed together, either by hand, with a rolling mat, or in a mold. All other types are also served in individual pieces, usually meant to be eaten in a single bite. Chirashi on the other hand is never squeezed or pressed; the sushi meshi is scooped into a bowl. The fish and vegetables are spread out on top of the rice. Chirashi means to scatter, and the first time someone outside of Japan sees chirashizushi he or she will likely think it is a rice salad. Chirashi can be served in individual bowls (most common at a restaurant), or in one large bowl to be shared by everyone at the table (more common at home). To eat chirashi, you may either dip the pieces of fish in shoyu and eat as sashimi or put the fish back in the bowl, scooping up some rice to eat it together with the fish. This is an easier way to serve sushi to a group of people, as the cook doesn't have to take the time to make individual pieces for everyone.
A post-card and stamp machine in Hokkaido.
A sign in a post office reminds its occupants not to smoke.
A beautiful door at a traditional Japanese bar
A closer look at the post-card/stamp machine.
A closer look at a post-card/stamp machine.
The Japanese symbol for Post Office
Three types of nigiri sushi: salmon (saamon), tuna (maguro), and mackerel (saba)
Vegetables prepared the traditional way.
Fat pigeons sit near a lake in Kyoto, while a heron sits in the background.
Some overly complex refrigerators on display.
Two kinds of Pocky: Men's (with dark chocolate) and original.
An exit ramp carries a warning.
Actor Okochi Denjiro playing Tange Sazen, the one-eyed and one-armed killer, made a tremendous hit on movie-going audiences.
Traditional instrument of the Ainu people of Hokkaido. Sound is made by pulling on strings attached to a thin bamboo board. The mouth is used to add resonance.
A building at a shrine in Nagasaki. Note the traditional rice-rope decoration hanging above the doorway.
Kojima Akiko was crowned Miss Universe 1960. The first Japanese woman to hold that title.
This obi costs about $180.
An example of an embarkation card, which everyone entering Japan must fill out.
Andrea Ritland and Emily Wiedenhoeft take time out from shopping in Asakusa to pose for a picture with a modern-day geisha.
Andy Bernard, St Olaf student, takes some time out from shopping to get his picture taken with a geisha.
Keeping with tradition, this shrine building has a roof made of hay or thatch.
Fingernail polish and lipstick for sale.
A man stands by his shop, selling fresh crab.
A couple enjoys their morning coffee and donuts.