Art student creates world’s first shipshape sushi
Battleship sushi rolls beautiful to behold, but a trip too far to get your mouth around
Seasoned travelers to Japan will know that local sushi rolls bear no resemblance to those creative avocado-and-mayonnaise-laden efforts whipped up in the kitchens of California.
Instead, sushi joints from the humblest conveyer-belt kaiten zushi shop to Ginza’s finest pile up delicious ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin) and more on a block of rice and wrap the lot in nori seaweed in a time-honored formation known as gunkan-maki, or “battleship” rolls.
The trend started back in 1941, the naming a patriotic boost by legendary Tokyo sushi purveyor Kyubey. It’s stuck ever since.
Decades later, a Japanese art student named Mayuka Nakamura has reinterpreted the now ubiquitous rolls literally, by creating elaborate battleships and aircraft carriers out of nothing but nori sheets and traditional sushi toppings.
Why? “Because I love battleships,” as she says on her blog. No argument there.
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Her creations bristle with majestic steam funnels, cannons and conning towers. All of them artfully arranged and totally edible.
Unfortunately, you can’t find these real-life battleship rolls in actual restaurants; their sheer size and amount of ingredients would make them expensive propositions and their delicate nature doesn’t exactly lend itself to easy eating, which is the entire point of a sushi roll in the first place.
But you can still enjoy the next best thing on Nakamura’s blog, where she has posted photos from her graduation thesis.
And more good news — Kyubey still can be found in the heart of the Ginza.
If you’re feeling flush with cash (bring lots of it, BTW) you might try printing out a picture of Nakamura’s creations and asking the originators of the battleship roll to make you a fishy frigate or two. Good luck with that.