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Tweet of the Week #60: Why Hokkaido Sushi Is the Best in Japan

Learn different ways to say "don't do that" in Japanese with this week's tasty-looking tweet.

By 3 min read

Japan certainly has a formidable culinary history, but the no.1 edible invention has got to be sushi (寿司すし). It’s undoubtedly the most well-known Japanese food—a trend that started in the late 1960s when the whole world began to fall under the sushi spell.

Sushi Fun Facts

Before it was all posh and fancy, sushi was actually more of a fast-food. The dish appeared around the 8th century and was typically consumed by the lower classes. Adding vinegar and seasoning the rice was a great way to prevent the rice from turning bad, while topping the rice with raw seafood, nori, egg or veggies made a quick snack for hard-working laborers.

Most famous sushi styles include nigirizushi (にぎ寿司)ずし, “hand-pressed sushi”, makizushi (き寿司), “rolled sushi” or norimaki (海苔のり巻き) “seaweed roll”, and chirashizushi (ちらし寿司), “scattered sushi.”

Proud of using your chopsticks like a ninja? Well, we hate to disappoint, but eating sushi the proper way actually involves… your fingers. Even in the most formal settings.

There’s sushi. And then there’s Hokkaido sushi.

A regional sushi competition in Japan wouldn’t be fair. Hokkaido would win every time since Japan’s northernmost prefecture is well known for its high-quality rice and easy access to fresh natural seafood.

On top of that, according to a recent installment on Nippon TV, Hokkaido Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant Set the Bar High! (北海道ほっかいどう回転寿司かいてんずしはなまらハイレベル) Hokkaido’s sushi chefs are also VERY generous with portions compared to those in the rest of the country.

北海道民ほっかいどうみんかたへ。みぎ基準きじゅんかんがえてはいけません。= To the people of Hokkaido. Don’t assume the one on the right is the standard point of reference.

Don’t. Just don’t.

The Japanese language offers quite a variety of phrases to express interdiction, from a super polite “please refrain from doing this, pretty please?” to a casual “just do not.”

Here’s a quick list for you to review the basics:

  • Verb te form + はなりません / はならない (very polite)
  • Verb te form + はいけません / はいけない (polite)
  • Verb te form + はダメだ (casual)
  • Verb ending with ちゃ+だめ (very casual, usually reserved for children)

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
寿司すし sushi sushi
にぎ寿司ずし nigiri zushi thin slices of raw fish served atop sushi rice
き寿司 maki zushi sushi roll consisting of fish, veggies, and rice, rolled up in seaweed
海苔のり巻き nori maki sushi roll consisting of fish, veggies, and rice, rolled up in seaweed
ちらし寿司 chirashi zushi a base of sushi rice topped with various ingredients served in a bowl
北海道ほっかいどう hokkaidou Hokkaido
回転寿司かいてんずし kaiten zushi conveyor belt sushi restaurant
なまら namara very much, extremely
ハイレベル haireberu high level
北海道民ほっかいどうみん hokkaidou min citizen(s) of Hokkaido
かた kata he to the people of
みぎ migi right
基準きじゅん kijyun ni on the basis of, as a standard
かんがえる kangaeru think, consider, assume, take for granted
はいけません (はいけない) ha ikemasen (ha ikenai) don’t… (very polite)
はなりません (はならない) ha narimasen (ha naranai) don’t… (polite)
はダメだ (ちゃだめ) ha dame da (chya dame) don’t… (casual)

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