Maki and Nigiri at Tsukiji
This photo was taken near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, where sushi is eaten as it was intended: fresh, quick, no frills (or plates!), and seriously delicious—even at 6 a.m.
Thick rolls with multiple ingredients are called futomaki (fat rolls). The California roll is a classic American example of this style that uses crab or surimi (seafood stick) while in Japan, the fillings are typically a mix of vegetables and pickles, chosen for their complementary colors and flavors.
Thin rolls with a single ingredient are called hosomaki (skinny rolls). The two most classic are tekkamaki (tuna rolls) and kappamaki (cucumber rolls, often eaten as a palate-cleansing intermediary between different varieties of fish).
Oftentimes, they are seasoned by the chef before serving, but if eating an unseasoned roll, only the corner of the nori to be bitten should be dipped lightly into soy sauce, so as not to saturate the rice.As with futomaki, contrasting colors, textures, and flavors are essential.
Despite lacking a nori wrapper, nigirizushi is designed as a finger food and it is perfectly acceptable to pick up with your hands. When consuming, the edge of the fish should be lightly dipped in soy sauce (never the rice, which can fall apart if moistened), and the entire piece should be consumed in one or two bites, without returning it to the plate between bites.
When the fried tofu pouch is replaced by a thinly-cooked omelette, it becomes chakin-zushi.
Tofu pouches can be bought fried, marinated, and ready to stuff at most Japanese supermarkets.
After un-molding, the packed rice and toppings are sliced into bite-sized pieces. Often, an extra middle layer of ingredients or nori can be added for flavor or decorative effect.
At restaurants, chirashizushi topped solely with raw fish is not uncommon though in homes, it is usually made with thinly sliced omelet, shreds of nori, various raw, cooked, and pickled vegetables (cucumber, carrots, lotus root, etc), occasionally cooked or raw fish (particularly shrimp or fish cake), and a sprinkling of tobiko (seasoned flying fish roe).