On Thursday 4th of August, the Dumfries and Galloway Multicultural Association (DGMA) held a successful workshop which focused around Sushi and Japanese.


‘Taster of Japan’ took place from 12noon to 3pm at the DGMA Centre. Fifteen members from all parts of the region joined in with DGMA volunteers in how to make Sushi using various ingredients and utensils. They were also engulfed with Japanese dining phrases, such as ‘Itadakimasu’ (said before eating), ‘Oishi’ (Delicious) and lots more! Our members also got the chance to learn various types of Sushi, and what their names meant relating to the type of shape, size and taste.


Our members also learned about the extraordinary history of how Sushi began in the cuisine world:


“Sushi first appeared during the second century AD, in South-East Asia. The original meaning of Sushi was to refrigerate meat and fish, by wrapping the meat and fish in rice. This aided the fermentation process and helped preserve their freshness over time. The idea of eating meat and fish with rice became increasingly popular around the 8th century, when travellers and traders from South-East Asia introduced this concept to South China and Central Japan. Around ten centuries later, consumers started to add vinegar and various sauces to their Sushi, to experiment with taste and aid the fermentation process. It wasn’t until the early 1820s that chefs in Osaka decided to insert raw fish into their Sushi. This type of Sushi is still found today in traditional Sushi restaurants around Japan, known as Edō-Style Sushi. 100 years later, during the Shōwa Period of Japan, Tokyo was booming with food service stalls at their fish market in the centre of the city – and Sushi was the main attraction. For the next 20 years, Sushi was the most popular food bought out of the fish market stalls in Tokyo, and around Japan. After the Second World War, the popularity of Sushi declined, due to rationing. But in 1955, there were reported to be around 12000 restaurants in Japan which sold nothing but Sushi. That’s around 3 Sushi shops opening every day for ten years!


In the late 20th century and earlier 21st century, Sushi began to be seen as an extremely healthy option for promoting healthier meals in Western countries. This can be seen in the USA and Germany, where each have just over 6000 Sushi restaurants. But this is nothing compared to the 45,000 Sushi restaurants in Japan! Sushi is now a huge industry across the world, with over $2 billion being made from Sushi alone in the US.”


The event was created and organised by DGMA and led by our volunteer, Nathan Beck-Samuels, a student at The Glasgow Academy, who has a passionate interest in Japanese Language and Culture. This is what he had to say about the event:

It was marvellous to have members of the community taking an interest in Japanese culture and language. We had a fantastic time making Sushi, and had tremendous fun shouting out Japanese phrases. I would like to convey my thanks to DGMA Chairman – Yen Hongmei Jin, for allowing me to have the opportunity and experience, and to all the DGMA volunteers who helped out to make this event truly delicious!


Overall, the event was a huge success for everyone who was involved and took part. Not only did everyone discover how to make Sushi, but they learnt useful Japanese phrases for the dining table and discovered the meaning behind Sushi words.


‘Taster of Japan’ was a truly delicious afternoon!

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