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! 😎
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The guests have plenty of room to move about and easily access any part of the table.
The food, in this case, appetizers, should be placed with a consideration of the shape of the cuisine and the contours of the table.
As long as the table is not ticklish, do not neglect any part of the body; that would be an insult to the table.
This is a good example of food shape complementing the body’s natural contour and flow.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Have a care to touch only the food. Other people are sharing the meal, and we must maintain decorum.
Be sure that your hair and any jewelry is out of the way when eating. A clean table is a happy table.
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.
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.
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.
Be sure to have an assortment of cake-size toys available. Your cake decorators will want to create dioramas of important cultural events.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
You can’t blame a guest if the table is decorated with a few left-overs. Nothing should go to waste.
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.
The table may also be slippery or sticky. Be sure to pay attention to her safety.
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. 😀
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.
For a nantaimori table, the placement of the cake can be altered to suit any obvious differences.
When the wife of the nantaimori table is also a decorator, sometimes the decorations are applied to non-standard areas.
There are too many obvious puns here, so please feel free to create one yourself. 😎
Given the guest’s familiarity with the table, we can forgive her bad manners.
At last, the decorations have been completed and the guests can avail themselves of the fine repast.
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.
As is the custom, the guests massage the table, creating a warm, sticky mess. Yummy!
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.
Although it seems like a birthday party, this nyotaimori table is more of a party favor.
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.
The party guests begin dining, seeming to prefer the food on only one part of the table.
One of the guests thoughtfully holds the hair of another guest, allowing her to share in the birthday celebration.
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. 😳
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.