UC Berkeley students make world-record California sushi roll

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Students Amy Yee, left, and Andrew Wilson at the University of California, Berkeley, wet down seaweed as they work to construct a 330-foot-long California sushi roll on Sunday, November 8, 2009, in Berkeley, California.
D. Ross Cameron/Contra Costa Times/MCT

BERKELEY, Calif. — It began with ninjas and it ended with
tofu, and somewhere in the middle hundreds of amateur sushi rollers set a new
world record.

The world’s longest California roll was made on the
University of California, Berkeley campus Sunday, according to Consul-General
of Japan Yasumasa Nagamine. Organizers lined up dozens of six-foot tables that
were manned by volunteer students and campus employees and created 330 feet of
California roll, complete with avocado, cucumber and faux-crab meat.

At the end of the roll, an additional 15 feet of vegetarian
California roll substituted tofu for the meat.

The previous record of 300 feet was set in Hawaii in 2001,
Berkeley spokeswoman Kathleen Maclay said.

The first table to begin rolling all the ingredients together
was staffed by members of the Japanese Graduate & Researchers Society, who
dressed in ninja costumes largely assembled from thrift stores.

“Ninja mask, a dollar-fifty. Plastic ninja sword, a
dollar-fifty. Making the world’s longest California roll? Priceless,” said
Ph.D. graduate Eri Takahashi.

The roll was made from 200 pounds of dry rice, 80 pounds
each of cucumber and avocado, and 180 pounds of fish, the latter donated by the
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

“We’re trying to raise some awareness for people who
eat seafood, that Alaskan fishing is all sustainable,” spokeswoman Jann
Dickerson said. “Scientists track things like salmon runs to determine how
many will be spawned each year, and fisheries are limited in how much they can
catch based on that. It’s written into the state constitution.”

The event was the latest in a series of celebrations for the
50th anniversary of UC Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies, professor Duncan
Williams said.

“A lot of what we’re talking about is Japanese hybrids,
where Japan meets the world. The California roll is a good example of
that,” Williams said.

“Food is always dynamic. There is no such thing as a
pure cuisine — it’s always changing for the people who make it and eat
it.”

The yearlong celebration ends in December and will include a
summit meeting of the heads of Japanese studies departments from across the
United States to discuss the future of their field, Williams said.

More information about all the events is available at http://ieas.berkeley.edu/cjs.

Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.