I went out for sushi last night with my husband to celebrate Valentine's Day (a day late I know). We had some wonderful yellow tail sashimi... we also had sea bass, tuna, mackerel, snapper and eel sushi, and spicy salmon and tuna rolls. I didn't bring my camera... it was a date night after all... but I did find a lovely picture of sushi on Wikipedia. I love going to the sushi bar... I especially love the sashimi. We sometimes get take out sushi at the grocery store (that is what we did for dinner on Valentine's Day-bonus 2 nights of sushi in a row) or eat sushi at a buffet... but it is never the same thing as actually going to the sushi bar.
Here is a list of Sushi Etiquette that I found on a site many years ago called sticky rice...I even won a t-shirt from them for a story I wrote about catching eel and making my own unagi... I don't know what happened to it (the web site that is... I still have the eel story and will share it some day when I get the word processor on this computer working)... Stickyrice.com no longer exists (at least not in the same form) as far as I can tell unless it is under another name. The credit for this list, however, goes to them...
1. Do not pass food directly from your Chopsticks to somebody else's chopsticks. The reason is a bit morbid, but this mimics a Japanese funeral ceremony.
2. Do not spear food with you chopsticks.
3. The proper way to dip your nigirizushi is fish side down. Dipping your sushi rice side down is not only bad manners, but it also makes the nigirizushi fall apart.
4. Tipping at the bar… In most sushi restaurants the wait staff and the chef tip share. If you wish to insure that the chef gets his share then while lying the tip on the bar let the chef know that the tip is for him. When tipping the wait staff let them know that you have already taken care of the chef. 15% for the chef and 10% for the wait staff is customary. (I think most restaurants use tip share, however... so I wouldn't worry too much about it... I ususally just leave 20% and let them work it out)
5. Do not rub chopsticks together if implies to the chef that the chopsticks are cheap.
6. Do not pull a dish towards yourself using your chopsticks. Use your hands for you dish-pulling needs.
7. If you take food from a shared plate use the reverse end of your chopsticks rather than the end that goes in your mouth.
8. Never bite into a piece of sushi and replace the uneaten portion on your plate. Once you pick a piece of sushi up eat all of it.
9. It is impolite to leave food on your plate… especially rice.
10. Sushi is meant to be eaten with your hands (except for sashimi)… it is not impolite to use your chopsticks, but it is unnecessary (If you are inexperienced with chopsticks it is impolite to drop you sushi and splash soy sauce on your companion.).