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- Main lore areas
Higashi-Kishu food culture area
- Main ingredients used
Rice, carrots, dried shiitake mushrooms, pea pods, shime saba (mackerel), eggs, and any other 5 colorful ingredients
- History/origin/related events
In the Higashi-Kishu area, "oshi-zushi" is often made by pressing sushi into a mold and hardening it on occasions such as a gathering of people or on special occasions. It is said that the name "kokerazushi" comes from the fact that it was served on the occasion of "kokerashi-no-koshi" (a ceremony to welcome the new year), and that the ingredients were placed one on top of the other like the roof of a kokerabuki (a traditional Japanese roof). The ingredients are made up of an odd number of five different kinds of ingredients to create a colorful finish, and one of the five kinds of ingredients is always fish, mainly in the form of vinegared dishes. The fish used are the fish in season, such as yellowtail mackerel, Pacific saury, and horse mackerel. The development of oshizushi is thought to be due to the development of sushi molds using the rich wood (mainly hinoki) of Higashi-Kishu. Oshi-zushi molds come in a variety of sizes, such as one, five, and three cups of rice. Recently, in addition to the traditional kata, many other kata have been made, including small, easy-to-handle kata for a small number of people, kata for one person, kata for one layer, and so on. In the Sugari district of Owase City, a large oshi-gata for two and a half cups is also used. Leaves of wild strawberry and myoga leaves are used as dividers between the two molds, allowing the leaves' smell and ingredients to permeate the sushi, enhancing its flavor and aroma. They are also said to have antiseptic properties. If these leaves are not available in urban areas, substitute mustard greens or lettuce. A bento box can be used as a substitute for the sushi mold. The lid is turned upside down and the food is placed in the box, and the body of the box is pressed down from the top in place of the lid.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It is so familiar that someone is making this dish all year round.
- How to eat
Sushi is made by placing several ingredients on top of sushi rice, spreading leaves on top, and then pressing three or five layers of sushi rice, ingredients, and leaves on top of each other. When eating, the outer frame is removed and cut into bite-size pieces while still stacked on top of each other. The beautiful appearance of three to five layers of sushi when viewed from the side is achieved by taking a block of sushi and eating it one layer at a time while removing the leaves from the top.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In Mie Prefecture, sushi using a wooden frame is often seen. The custom of making sushi for celebrations and other gatherings and entertaining people still remains.