OK, to be exact, the term is “naked sushi model” but let’s be honest: if there is one profession that objectifies human beings, it’s got to be human dinner platter… I mean, come on! Did they run out of plates at a five-star sushi place or something? I can just imagine the chef frantically saying, “Hitori, lose the uniform and lie down on this catering cart! Hopefully, they won’t notice our lack of serving utensils… Well, because boobs!” And that is how I imagine completely naked humans were substituted for serving vessels in one of the world’s weirdest jobs ever. But what is it really like to lie down at the job, have raw fish draped over your naughty bits, and have drunken strangers prod you with chopsticks? Could you work as a sexy naked dinner platter?
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Fine… I find my interpretation better but if you’re a stickler for stupid things like “accuracy” and “veracity”, then here you go. The tradition, known in Japan as nyotaimori, was offered in geisha houses exclusively to samurais that returned from a victorious battle. From then on out, it has become a strange mix of sexuality, fetishism, and high dining. Depending on the country and eating establishment, sushi will be placed on a model’s naked body or, if the local health regulations are a bit more stringent, on sanitized leaves, bamboo mats and even fans. Now here comes the fun stuff: nudity!
The Japanese term nyotaimori literally translates to female body presentation. Please note that nowhere in that term is the word “naked” featured. Well, that’s because the model isn’t truly naked. Although the model has to be completely shaved (for hygienic reasons, of course), her crotch is generally covered either in garnish or another meal-complementing vestment, and her nipples are covered in garnish, flowers, and in the more extreme form, Maki, which when eaten reveals the model’s bare breasts.
In the west, the nipples are considered much more offensive, I guess, so they are decorated with double-sided tape and ample sized daisies (or other flowers). The sushi is then taken from the model’s body, using only chopsticks, and it is absolutely prohibited to use your fingers (or your mouth… Remember, if there’s a rule against it, there’s at least one jackass responsible for that rule being drafted). The chef stands alongside the model and replenishes the sushi as needed, and the affair is generally set up to make sure no one disrespects the model or is inappropriate around her.
Great! How Much Does Being Naked Pay?
Well, in all honesty, it depends on what you do with your nakedness… If you’re talking about sushi body models, they make about $150 per hour, plus tips. In this Reddit thread, one sushi body model says that she made up to $600 in a single night for just three hours.
You have to have an aesthetically pleasing body (not my words but theirs; don’t shoot the messenger) and be able to stay very still for extended periods of time. Why, you ask? Unless you want to create a sushi avalanche and pretend you’re Mount Buck-Naked, and never get hired again, give them a little wiggle and see. Also, an insightful little article over at Thought Catalog mentioned that, due to the restriction of movement, you can’t actually see what the hell is going on around you. Luckily, the worst thing that can happen is a drunken businessman mistakenly poking you with a chopstick.
How Safe Is It?
Although nudity and alcohol don’t usually spell out safety for the naked person or people involved, the companies and restaurants that offer the service take numerous precautions to make sure that the models are respected and never harassed. The models are also generally not allowed to talk to customers/diners to avoid any further provocation.
Of the few interviews that I based this article on, it seems that none of the models had a strange, threatening or harassing experience. This job comes with a few more benefits than lying on your back naked with food on your chest (which technically is your default position at home, anyway) and getting paid $150-$600 a few hours later. No, in many cases, the models then get to hang out with their employers, eat and drink very expensive, well, food and libations. More often than not, they are also invited to hang out with the inadvertently wealthy customers (don’t get excited, they are fully dressed after dinner), which gives you a great opportunity to hobnob with powerful people and do some networking.
When you’re boasting about your credentials and qualifications, however, just remember that these people saw you completely naked five minutes ago and are still mentally undressing you while you rattle off with your distinctions and awards. You know what? That might not be as disadvantageous as it sounds.
The Application Process
It might surprise you that the availability of people willing to lay down naked for hours on end as people ogle/eat off their bodies is in short supply. That means that if you are relatively attractive (do not attack me body-shaming watchdogs, I’m just conveying the general consensus. I don’t make the rules, I just write about them) and contact a chef who wants to hire a nyotaimori, then you will be asked in for an interview.
The chefs that need naked sushi body models will usually post on an online ad website asking for models. They will sit with you to gauge your personality, ascertain whether you are professional enough, able to lie still for so many hours, and if your body type fits the chef’s vision. In some cases, the chef will ask you to undress but, as testified in the articles/interviews I researched, just to your underwear, and some won’t even do that.
The First Time Always Hurts
So, you got the job. The chef will ask you to show up at a specific venue (where the nyotaimori will take place) where you will be asked to strip completely, take a shower with fragrance-free soap, and then go to the chef for preparation. Meanwhile, you will not be allowed to use any lotion or cosmetic product on your body, other than light makeup. Some models will choose to have a manicure and pedicure, but it’s not mandatory, and some chefs get around it by having models wear small house shoes/socks.
The chef will then proceed to cover your naughty bits with various garnishes or decorations by adhering leaves, flowers or shells to your fun parts with double-sided tape, or he might have you lie down, finish decorating your body, and then invite the guests in. This initial phase of preparation usually takes anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes. You will then have to stay absolutely still while guests eat the selection of sushi off you; in most cases, you will be asked not to engage with them. Finally, when the meal is completed, the diners will socialize and drink while you are escorted out behind a makeshift barrier to shower and then return to the party fully dressed or go home.
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So, do you think you could be a naked sushi model? Let us know in the comments section below!