The astonishing reason why women are excluded from making sushi, and how that's changing.

Did you hear the one about how women can't be sushi chefs because of their periods?

GIF via "Parks and Recreation."


Yep, you heard me. There is a bizarre yet widespread belief that menstruation makes women inferior at detecting the tastes and smells of raw fish needed in a sushi chef — one that even the most famous chefs believe in.

When Jiro Ono, son of famed sushi chef Jiro (of the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi") was asked by the Wall Street Journal why there are no women featured in the documentary about his father, Ono said verbatim: "The reason is because women menstruate."

"To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle, women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs."

Other myths about women being bad sushi chefs persist, based on their supposed "higher core body temperature," and their cosmetics getting in the way of their sense of smell. Because every woman in the world wears makeup. Obviously.

Yoshikazu Ono (on the right) infamously said that he doesn't hire women to work at his father Jiro Ono's sushi restaurant because their menstrual cycles mean that they have "an imbalance in their taste." Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images.

As a result, it's rare to see a woman as a sushi chef.

This is according to the All Japan Sushi Association, an organization of 5,000 sushi restaurant owners in Japan.

The myth itself stems not only from misconceptions about menstruation and body temperature, but from centuries old tradition. The sushi craft borrows the virtues of "physical, mental, and spiritual precision and perfection" from samurai culture.

"Unfortunately, by-products of that preservation are some outdated beliefs about the ‘second sex.’" Oona Tempest, a female chef at New York's Tanoshi Sushi, told Zagat about how such cultural origins result in discrimination against potential female sushi chefs. "Master chefs willing to take on a female apprentice are just as, if not more so, scarce than females willing to learn.

Nadeshiko Sushi in Japan is breaking down barriers as the country's only sushi restaurant run entirely by women.

In 2010, Nadeshiko Sushi opened in order to give women jobs during the recession. At first, though, men still did all the prep work in the kitchen, and the female chefs were indistinguishable from their male counterparts, down to the white jacket uniforms they wore.

"No one came to the restaurant when we wore simple white coats because we looked the same as everyone else," said Yuki Chizui, Nadeshiko's manager, to the Japan Times. "We needed to create a feminine restaurant in order to establish a new style.”

What's this new style? Whereas male sushi chefs traditionally serve their customers in silence, the chefs at Nadeshiko bond with their customers, with one chef telling a patron that they work too hard.

Judging by the pictures, the chefs can wear any color chef coat they want as well.

Photo by Koji Sasahara/Associated Press.

Most importantly, at Nadeshiko Sushi, women are now in charge of every step of the process.

Any woman who wants to learn can apprentice at the restaurant as well.

"Women traditionally have stayed in the home, but if they want to become sushi chefs here they have to come six times a week in order to learn on the job," Chizui told Broadly.

Nadeshiko Sushi is a restaurant that solves those twin problems that Oona Tempest talks about — that of women not being interested in sushi-making and that of them not having access to mentors.

Hopefully, other sushi restaurants will soon follow suit.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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