On a recent trip to New York City I was cruising down a side street off Times Square and stumbled on a sign in front of a Japanese restaurant advertising “Body Sushi.” The deal is that you get to eat sushi and sashimi off the body of a naked woman lying on a table.
Maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds like something cooked up by a restaurant marketing guy after martini number six.” That's an excellent guess. But it's wrong; “Nyotaimori” (serving food on the naked body) is a Japanese tradition dating back to Samurai times, where after victory in battle warriors would dine off the body of a naked geisha.
The practice continues in modern Japan, where strict rules of etiquette apply. The woman has to lie perfectly still for hours. She takes a bath with fragrance-free soap and gets splashed with cold water afterwards to keep her skin temperature down. She’s not allowed to speak, and it’s considered poor form for guests to speak to her.
I don’t know if the restaurant I passed followed the same rules. It would be interesting to see how much decorum a bunch of young American insurance salesmen show after an hour or two of pounding saki. One can imagine some interesting scenes: One night, Richie decides to show some buddies a good time. He rents a stretch limo, makes a reservation for Naked Sushi, and the boys cruise in from Jersey City for a little fun. When they check in, the hostess calls for the manager.
“Guys,” a little change of plans,” he says with a greasy smile. “You booked Darlene for tonight, but she had to take her cat to the vet. But I set you up with Rosanne, and she’s great. And I’ll give you ten percent off, just to make it up to you.” Richie looks at the guys, and they all seem okay, so he shrugs.
So they follow the manager into a back room, where stretched out on a long table, on her back, covered with sushi from stem to stern…
…lies Rosanne Barr.