You hear "naked sushi" and you think of that one "Sex and the City" movie scene, but it's actually a real thing. In Japanese the ritual of using a naked female body as a sushi serving platter is called nyotaimori. (Sidenote: you'll get some weird things if you Google image search that.)
There's an expression for serving sushi off of a male body as well: nantaimori.)
According to the Los Angeles Times, there's a catering company in Vancouver that does in fact offer up a naked woman covered in sushi, and yes, it is called Naked Sushi. You can order one for your company dinner! Talk about an awkward company Christmas party.
"Experience a Japanese tradition" it says on the Vancoucer-based Naked Sushi catering website. So how much of a tradition is it? "Nyotaimori may take place in Japan, but it is stigmatised there and usually only found in seedy sex clubs. But wherever and whenever it is launched overseas, it is marketed as a form of Japanese food culture," writes Julie Bindel in the Guardian, who took part in a nyotaimori dinner.
It also used to be the preferred pastime of the yakuza, the Japanese organized crime families. "It still takes place and it was definitely something that the yakuza liked to do at parties,” he explains, “but as for now, it’s less popular [with gangsters] than before," Jake Adelstein, author of “Tokyo Vice,” a memoir documenting his 12 years of reporting on crime for the Yomiuri Shimbun told the Tokyo Reporter.
If your feminist tendencies are making you cringe reading this, that's a good thing, as it would appear that marketing it as a foreign food culture is allowing companies to do what's often looked down upon in common culture: using naked women to make money. But then again, in this modern culture, sex sells, even in the food world.
There's certainly an objectification of women going on here, and beyond that, the custom isn't easy on the woman: in traditional custom they train for lying down for hours without moving. However, in the Western World you can be sure that it's less about some cultural practice and more about providing the opportunity to oggle good looking women in a new and creative way. In other words, pay some models to lie on a table for a few hours.
Naked Sushi Entertainment out of Las Vegas for example is all about "Tasteful Fun for Sexy Private Parties, Corporate Events & Delicious Culinary Bachelor Parties. I am quite certain that this is the only time the words "tasteful fun" and "bachelor parties" have been used in the same sentence.
Naked sushi anyone? No, thank you.
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