YouTube // Great Big Story
YouTube // Great Big Story

Step Inside Japan’s Only Sushi Restaurant Run by Women

YouTube // Great Big Story
YouTube // Great Big Story

Sexism is hardly a foreign concept in the United States. Plenty of Americans believe there are certain jobs a woman could never do: computer programmer, president, Ghostbuster. But “sushi chef” is not one that frequently comes to mind. Hop over to Japan, and it’s a very different story. Read on and check out the video below for a look inside the country’s only sushi restaurant run by women.

Tradition is a big deal in Japan. Unfortunately, not all of these traditions are rational. Women can’t be sushi chefs, according to traditional logic, because their hands are too warm. Also, their makeup and perfume will block their sense of smell. Also, it’s hard work, and women aren’t cut out for hard work. Also, the area behind the counter is sacred, and, to quote one chef, “women are silly.”

Then there’s the idea that having a period renders a person insensible. “To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food,” chef Yoshikazu Ono told The Wall Street Journal, “but because of the menstrual cycle women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs.” (Fun fact: everybody’s hormones are fluctuating all the time. Even men’s.)

Even with these irrational barriers, lots of women want to become sushi chefs. Unfortunately, that almost always means training under male chefs, who tend to treat them as ornaments rather than apprentices. Getting a real education can be next to impossible, but without experience and qualifications, a woman chef will have an even harder time finding a job.

Enter Nadeshico Sushi, Japan’s first women-run sushi restaurant. The Tokyo business opened up in 2010, when manager Yuki Chizui took on a small staff of young women and trained them herself. The restaurant was facing an uphill battle from the start; the fish market, like the sushi business, is also run by men, none of whom wanted to sell fish to a woman. Through a friend of a friend, Chizui managed to hook up with an all-women fishing outfit, which agreed to supply the restaurant.

Unsurprisingly, the all-women restaurant was not exactly welcomed by other sushi chefs. But the Nadeshico team persisted, and are running a thriving business to this day.

The restaurant has taken a big step forward in bucking sexist tradition, but that doesn’t exactly make it a beacon of equality. The name Nadeshico is taken from the term yamato nadeshiko, or “idealized woman,” an old-fashioned concept that prioritizes beauty, obedience, and domestic skills.

Nadeshico Sushi was the brainchild of a middle-aged man, Kazuya Nishikiori, who says the restaurant’s motto is “fresh and kawaii”—cute. The women he hires are enthusiastic chefs, but they’re also pretty and young. "If someone wanted to work here and was 30,” he told The Wall Street Journal, “I'd put her in the back."

It’s a start, we guess.

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at

Recall Alert: Swiss Rolls And Bread Sold at Walmart and Food Lion Linked to Salmonella
Evan-Amos, Wikimedia Commons // CC 1.0

New items have been added to the list of foods being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. According to Fox Carolina, snack cakes and bread products produced by Flowers Foods, Inc. have been pulled from stores in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The baked goods company, based in Georgia, has reason to believe the whey powder it buys from a third-party supplier is tainted with salmonella. The ingredient is added to its Swiss rolls, which are sold under various brands, as well as its Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread. Popular chains that normally sell Flowers Foods products include Walmart and Food Lion.

The U.S. is in the middle of a salmonella outbreak. In June, Kellogg's recalled Honey Smacks due to contamination and the CDC is still urging consumers to avoid the brand. The cereal has sickened dozens of people since early March. So far, there have been no reported illnesses connected to the potential Flower Foods contamination.

You can find the full list of recalled items below. If you have one of these products in your kitchen, throw it out immediately or return it to the store where you bought it to be reimbursed.

  • Mrs. Freshley's Swiss Rolls
  • Mrs. Freshley's Swiss Rolls
  • Food Lion Swiss Rolls
  • Baker's Treat Swiss Rolls
  • Market Square Swiss Rolls
  • Great Value Swiss Rolls
  • Captain John Derst's Old Fashioned Bread

[h/t Fox Carolina]

The Annual Festivals That Draw the Most People in Every State

Every state has that one big event each year that draws residents from across the region or even across the nation. Louisiana has Mardi Gras. Kentucky has the Kentucky Derby. South Dakota has Sturgis. Genfare, a company that provides fare collection technology for transit companies, recently tracked down the biggest event in each state, creating a rundown of the can't-miss events across the country.

As the graphic below explores, some states' biggest public events are national music and entertainment festivals, like Bonnaroo in Tennessee, SXSW in Texas, and Summerfest in Wisconsin—which holds the world record for largest music festival.

Others are standard public festival fare. Minnesota hosts 2 million people a year at the Minnesota State Fair (pictured above), the largest of its kind in the U.S. by attendance. Mardi Gras celebrations dominate the events calendar in Missouri, Alabama, and, of course, Louisiana. Oktoberfest and other beer festivals serve as the biggest gatherings in Ohio (home to the nation's largest Oktoberfest event), Oregon, Colorado, and Utah.

In some states, though, the largest annual gatherings are a bit more unique. Some 50,000 people each year head to Brattleboro, Vermont for the Strolling of the Heifers, a more docile spin on the Spanish Running of the Bulls. Montana's biggest event is Evel Knievel Days, an extreme sports festival in honor of the famous daredevil. And Washington's biggest event is Hoopfest, Spokane's annual three-on-three basketball tournament.

Mark your calendar. Next year could be the year you attend them all.

A graphic list with the 50 states pictured next to information about their biggest events


More from mental floss studios