Nyotaimori (女体盛り, “serve (foods) on the female body”), often referred to as “body sushi”, is the Japanese practice of serving sashimi or sushi from the naked body of a woman.  You can read much about it on the Internet and, of course, most of that is wrong. 😐 So, we are going to do our best to set it right! 😎

Sushi à la mode.

Sushi à la mode.

First, there is no sex involved. 

Second, being a table is an honor.  It is not erotic to be the table.  It’s more of a zen experience, and it’s not uncommon for the table to fall asleep.

Third, and mostly, it’s about having fun with your friends.

Types of Tables

Traditionally, a nyotaimori table is female. 

A well-appointed table reclines comfortably.

A well-appointed table reclines comfortably.

Here you see a sushi table on a dinner table, the height being convenient for the guests.  For American tastes, this is the traditional way to have nyotaimori.  However, we don’t stand on tradition very often.

A male sushi table is just as much fun as a female table.

A male sushi table is just as much fun as a female table.

When selecting your table, do not bias your choices.  There are many males who will gladly render service; do not neglect these gallant heroes so eager to serve.

My, what a pretty maid!

My, what a pretty maid!

If you want to give your guests a choice of tables, what better way than to find both a female and a male to serve as fine dining tables?  In addition, you can serve twice as much food!

Setting the Table

As with all things Japanese, there is an art to setting the nyotaimori table.

Let us first address necessary table information.  (1) The table must be aware of diet and any other issues that might impact both the table’s and the guests’ appreciation of the event.  (2) The table must shower with scent-free soap.  (3)  The table must be wiped with anti-biotic wipes after getting into place.  (4) If the table is particularly ticklish, the host should be informed.  (5)  During the event, the table does not speak, and moves at little as possible.

Pretty simple and sensible, right?

A comfortable table is a happy table.

A comfortable table is a happy table.

When the guests arrive, the table is already prepared.  This table is resting on a massage table, so her face rests on a soft pillow with a hole in the middle.

Don't be afraid to garnish with grape vines.

Don’t be afraid to garnish with grape vines.

The guests have plenty of room to move about and easily access any part of the table.

Sushi tables are healthy!

Sushi tables are healthy!

The food, in this case, appetizers, should be placed with a consideration of the shape of the cuisine and the contours of the table.

Do not neglect the little piggies.

Do not neglect the little piggies.

As long as the table is not ticklish, do not neglect any part of the body; that would be an insult to the table.

Finger food.

Finger food.

This is a good example of food shape complementing the body’s natural contour and flow.

The main course begins.

The main course begins.

Between the appetizers and the sushi dinner, the table may don a robe and shower, if desired.  In all cases, she is again cleaned with anti-biotic wipes.  Be sure to have a wide variety of sushi, in consideration of the appetites of the guests and the design of the table.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

Although more difficult than with fruit, the sushi is placed with a thought towards the perfection of the moment.  The table and the food should be in harmony.

Care must be taken with hair.

Care must be taken with hair.

Many times, it is best to cover the table’s eyes with a light cloth.  The allows the table to be unaffected by bright light, and protects the eyes from errant food.

Okay, the table is set.  Now what?

Nyotaimori Etiquette

As will all things, there are rules.

Let us address necessary guest information.  (1)  No touching anything above the neck.  (2)  Steer clear of any and all orifices.  (3)  No hands.  You eat with your mouth or with chop sticks.  (4)  If you eat with your mouth, do not linger.  (5)  The guests do not speak to the table.

These berries won't de-feet me!

These berries won’t de-feet me!

Have a care to touch only the food.  Other people are sharing the meal, and we must maintain decorum.

Armed and ready to eat.

Armed and ready to eat.

Be sure that your hair and any jewelry is out of the way when eating.  A clean table is a happy table.

Stick to your manners.

Stick to your manners.

Be sure to have chopsticks available for those who prefer that style or who have difficulties reaching the table orally.  When using chopsticks, have a care: those little sticks are pokey!

How to Host a Birthday Celebration

As you have already noticed, there are no specific rules regarding the type of food served on your nyotaimori table.  In this section, we will demonstrate how to host a nyotaimori birthday celebration.

Marie Antoinette would approve.

Marie Antoinette would approve.

Ensure your table is comfortable and the area around the table is clean and covered.  Most important is that the cake is warm when you put it on the table.

Many hands make the job easier.

Many hands make the job easier.

As with any cake, plenty of frosting and other decorations add individuality to the cake.  Keep plenty of paper towels available, since the cake decorators will need to keep clean their hands.

There is more to cake than just frosting.

There is more to cake than just frosting.

Be sure to have an assortment of cake-size toys available.  Your cake decorators will want to create dioramas of important cultural events. 

The cake slowly turns into a masterpiece.

The cake slowly turns into a masterpiece.

Each guest brings creativity to the table, and an art project is born.

Please take a moment to enjoy our slide show of the decoration of the nyotaimori cake.

Et voilà!

Et voilà!

When the guests have finished with the decorations, be sure to take a moment to enjoy the creation.  Ask each cake decorator to describe what they created and how it fit into the overall design.  If you like, you can have an informal contest for Most Original, Most Clever Use of a Decoration, or anything you like.

You know the rules: no hands!

You know the rules: no hands!

Of course, a cake is meant to be eaten, and the more adventurous guests will certainly partake.  Have a care: some of those toys can put your eye out!

Dirty, dirty boy!

Dirty, dirty boy!

When eating a nyotaimori cake, you will end up with cake on your face.  And frosting, little bits of candy and chocolate, and perhaps a toy.

The table's tired muscles are tended to.

The table’s tired muscles are tended to.

There is no easy way to clean the nyotaimori cake.  We use the moment as an opportunity to gently massage the hands and feet of the table to demonstrate our appreciation.

Wait!  I thought we were finished.

Wait! I thought we were finished.

You can’t blame a guest if the table is decorated with a few left-overs.  Nothing should go to waste.

Time to clean up.

Time to clean up.

When the party is over, the nyotaimori table is gently spoken to, in the event that she has fallen asleep or is deeply meditating.  Assistance is provided to help her to stand.

Hold on!

Hold on!

The table may also be slippery or sticky.  Be sure to pay attention to her safety.

Time for a shower.

Time for a shower.

Towels are laid from the dining area directly to the shower.  Ample soap and towels are awaiting, along with plenty of hot water.

And, there you have it!  You now can host your own nyotaimori birthday celebration.  😀 

Nantaimori

As you have seen, not all sushi tables are female.  Nantaimori, the practice of serving sashimi or sushi on the (usually naked) body of a man, is also a cultural delight.

Is that a garter belt?

Is that a garter belt?

For a nantaimori table, the placement of the cake can be altered to suit any obvious differences.

Careful where you squirt that frosting!

Careful where you squirt that frosting!

When the wife of the nantaimori table is also a decorator, sometimes the decorations are applied to non-standard areas.

Hey!  Is that supposed to happen?

Hey! Is that supposed to happen?

There are too many obvious puns here, so please feel free to create one yourself.  😎 

Okay, now swallow it.

Okay, now swallow it.

Given the guest’s familiarity with the table, we can forgive her bad manners.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

At last, the decorations have been completed and the guests can avail themselves of the fine repast.

What a lovely cake!

What a lovely cake!

A photograph is taken to preserve the memory of the artwork.  Notice the fine line on the arms, the white beard, and the depiction of the thyroid, for some reason.

Why do all cakes end like this?

Why do all cakes end like this?

As is the custom, the guests massage the table, creating a warm, sticky mess.  Yummy!

This is the only part that's not sticky.

This is the only part that’s not sticky.

Here you see an actual example of why eye-protection is necessary, especially when the table’s wife is in charge of the decorations.

Nyotaimori with Friends

If you host or attend a nyotaimori event, there is good reason to expect that everyone involved will be close friends, including the table.

Yet another birthday celebration.

Yet another birthday celebration.

Although it seems like a birthday party, this nyotaimori table is more of a party favor.

Do you really want something burning down there?

Do you really want something burning down there?

The birthday candle is placed in the only place it will stand upright.  At this point, the table is glad he is lying on his back.

Smile!  Oh, wait.  You already are smiling.

Smile! Oh, wait. You already are smiling.

The party guests begin dining, seeming to prefer the food on only one part of the table.  

Oh, my.

Oh, my.

One of the guests thoughtfully holds the hair of another guest, allowing her to share in the birthday celebration.

We are going to need more frosting.

We are going to need more frosting.

In the spirit of the celebration, the guests join together to partake of the birthday feast, with the admonition, “No more photographs now!”

Please enjoy these photographs of a birthday celebration with a less-happy ending.  😳 

Having fun is right at your fingertips.

Having fun is right at your fingertips.

We hope you have enjoyed traveling with us to a new adventure, and we hope you will consider how much fun such a simple idea can be.

awa Travels Tip: “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”   ― Ruth Reichl