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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Smiling Sushi Roll - A Book Review

Smiling Sushi Roll by Tuttle Publishing… you had me at the cover depicting a sushi made to look like Edvard Munch’s The Scream (of Nature… aka Der Schrei der Natur) painting.

Written by Tama-chan (aka Kiyota Takayo - surname first), Smiling Sushi Roll is, first and foremost an art book.

The soft-cover book lacks page numbers (96 pages less the outside and Inside front and back covers - I counted), and contains large photos - essentially one topic per page, along with pithy commentary in both English and Japanese…

And while I was looking through the fascinating photos of sushi art come to life, I was practically ticked off that that Tama-chan wasn’t providing me with instruction on how to create it myself.

Then again… this isn’t a cook book. It’s an art book.

But… I was relieved when I came to the back end of Smiling Sushi Roll and found detailed instructions on how to create my own “The Scream” masterpiece. I realized almost immediately, that it was far too complex for a schlub like myself, but I’m betting someone with fare better concentrating powers could probably not only read all the instructions, but could create their own sushi art themselves.

Despite me not having the ability to create sushi art (someone would have to cook the rice for me, for crying out loud), I certainly do appreciate the skill and fun that Tama-chan has put into her art.

Okay… there is ONE very funny page (actually a 2-page splash) depicting things that you shouldn’t eat called: Don’t Eat!!).

I don’t know how one decides on two exclamation marks, but whatever.

Anyhow… as near as I can tell, the image shows off a plethora of poisonous mushrooms… or does it? One of those mushrooms looks a lot like… see for yourself.

But come on! There’s even a split in the head!

For fun viewing, there’s a nice bit of bondage sushi art, a bit of penis-boob art, and even some gay content.

No, wait… here’s the funniest page or two. Entitled “What do you suck?” I half expected to see that mushroom make a second appearance….

Now the sushi artwork is actually quite spectacular… but dammit… “what do you suck?”

No one talks like that (in English)… and despite sleeping with dozens of Japanese women while in Japan, I’m sure I never heard one of them ask me that question… even though parts of that sentence did occur in a give-and-take fashion.

It’s sushi eating sushi. It’s 3D sushi art… and while it made me smile, it was the poor choice of English that did it, as I have far too much respect for Tama-chan’s artistic skills.
What is cool about these sushi art pieces, is that they are ALL part of the same original sushi roll... and you only see the results after the roll has been cut into proper sushi pieces!
You can see from the images above, that the sushi art contains whimsical dialogue that makes Tama-chan's work even more fun!

Smiling Sushi Roll from Tuttle Publishing, is available on the book company’s website HERE or wherever fine books are sold.

Andrew Joseph 

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