Mia Bennett, University of California, Los Angeles
My map, “The World of Sushi,” is bizarre because it shows that all the ingredients which go into a piece of sushi come from all over the world, from Chile to South Korea. Sasha Issenberg’s book, “The Sushi Economy,” sparked my interest in the global networks behind the delicacy, which is now enjoyed worldwide from high-end restaurants in Tokyo to strip malls in Topeka. Sushi is a fascinating gastronomical phenomenon because it is so adaptable: what was once the purview of only trained, male Japanese chefs is now made by short cooks, teenagers, and even machines, incorporating local ingredients and flavors. After all, perhaps the most famous sushi roll is the California Roll, invented in Los Angeles and made with avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab (surimi). Yet with the rise of global trade networks, as my map reveals, seaweed can come from the Philippines or Japan, rice from Egypt or Thailand, and fish from all over the world – especially China, whose fish haul dramatically outnumbers those of other countries. Thus, we can see that sushi ingredients do not just come from Japan – and more often than not, like many other things in the world, they generally come from China. I used ArcGIS 9.3 to create the map itself, which uses a World Miller Cylindrical Projection with a WGS 1984 coordinate system. Then, I exported the map into GIMP, a free software raster graphics editor program, where I added photographs of sushi and facts about various fish. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations provided the majority of my source material, while the photographs of sushi come from Getty Images. Fun facts about fish species themselves were gleaned from encyclopedic research. For design inspiration, I turned to the Princeton International Networks Archive. In the end, I hope that this map can inform sushi enthusiasts about the provenance of the seaweed, rice, and fish which goes into every delicious bite.