Little did I imagine that my “naked sushi” post would raise eyebrows among the promoters of Sake Fest PDX (www.sakefestpdx.com) –- the very people who brought the event to my attention.
In case you missed it, chef Ty Yamamoto, a master of an imperial Japanese art known as nyotaimori, or “female body presentation,” will adorn the body of Playboy model Spring Jackson with sushi and sashimi as a centerpiece to next month’s event at The Governor Hotel in Portland.
In a press release, event promoters emphasized: “It is hygienically safe to eat from Spring’s body via a specially placed membrane (promoters’ italics) preventing contamination.” I made tongue-in-cheek reference to this “membrane” as a “yum-yum condom.”
It seems to me there would be no need to describe the safety of eating from the model’s body were we not being invited to do so.
But Suzanne Hankins wrote me, thanking me for my blog and reminding me that body art is only one small element of Sake Fest PDX: “Guests will enjoy discovering the world of sake and how versatile it is when pairing with foods, similar to wine.”
Then she added: “Chef Ty wanted to clarify that guests will not be eating directly from the model’s body. The membrane protects the food from any contact with her skin but is not a ‘yum-yum condom.’ Just want to make sure readers don’t think they will be eating from a person’s skin.”
David Wagner followed soon thereafter with this note: “For clarification purposes, Sake Fest PDX guests will NOT be eating from a semi-nude woman’s body! Nyotaimori is for DISPLAY purposes only!”
Finally, Yamamoto himself wrote, and he was not pleased: “I believe that you owe Spring Jackson an apology for that posted comment,” he said.
Chef, the fact is this: I’m sure that Ms. Jackson is a very nice girl, but she is a Playboy model. She is an object of sexual intrigue and is being promoted as such. I’m sure she is being paid well for her exhibitionism, to titillate interest in Sake Fest, to sell more event tickets and to raise money for the Japan-America Society.
If Spring Jackson was offended, I’d like to hear it from her … and I will remove the blog from my scroll. But I can imagine that she giggled if and when she read the “yum-yum” comment. I’m sure she’s heard comments much more distasteful than mine.
And we’re all in the business of endorsing safe sushi.