Even after several years apprenticing in professional Japanese kitchens, I feel inadequate when it comes to slicing raw fish for presentation. This possibly comes from an intimate knowledge of the expertise of my mentors — though even my most astute customers may not notice a difference in quality.

While I feel, as any good young chef should, that I have much to learn before I can set off on my own, I have also come to realize — living and cooking in Japan — that with a little bit of confidence, even the greenest amateur can prepare sashimi at home.

In fine restaurants, where the freshest fish is a given, most of the emphasis is on the wielding of the sword-like sashimi knife. At home, however, if attention is given to quality and freshness, knife skills may be set aside and attention focused on presentation and taste.