Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Flash..Maki-zushi

Maki-zushi translates as rolled sushi or cut rolls of sushi. A cylindrical piece rolled with the use of a bamboo mat is called a makisu.Maki-sushi are generally wrapped in a sheet of dried dark green seaweed or nori.
It is customary to eat uncut maki-sushi on Setsubun which is the day before the beginning of each new season.Spring Setsubun or Risshun is celebrated annually on February 3 according to the old Lunar calendar.
Apparently you eat maki-zushi facing each years lucky direction which is determined by the zodiac sign of the year,in this case the boar.Some maki-zushi packs come with direction charts and often compasses are also on sale.
The practice of eating maki-zushi began in the Kansai region and has spread through Japan largely due to promotions by supermarkets and convenience stores.
The fact that the maki-zushi is uncut and long (the piece in the photo is some 18 centimeters in length) is meant to bestow on those eating it a long life similiar to the belief eating buckwheat toshikoshi soba on New Years Eve will ensure longevity.
As for the pack of soy beans in the front of the photo thats another tradition of Setsubun that I'll explain next week.


K.W.Wan said...

I love maki sushi! What was in it? I liked the one with cucumber and the brown and pink stuff. Never actually found out what it was...

tim said...

Hey Kwok, I got a better photo of another maki sushi I bought yesterday.I'll put it on Monday 4th February pages.Its a cross-section so you can see the contents which include ikura(salmon roe), cucumber,maguro (tuna),pieces of omelette and ama-ebi (sweet shrimp).Some twenty centimeters long and 1,580 yen not cheap but very filling.
As for what was in your one not sure as there are according to the students I was talking to many variations and possible ingredients used.One student suggested that traditionally dried gourd shavings were used which doesnt exactly sound appetizing!