Yesterday I spent almost two hours learning about and making sushi. Despite my years in Japan, I learned to make little besides soba, which I ate frequently. When JASI offered the course at Ocean World in Indianapolis, I signed up immediately.
There were 6 or 7 people in attendance, in addition to the JASI representative and a young Japanese woman who had recently graduated from Ball State University in Muncie. The chef, Mr. Odagaki, walked us through rice selection and cooking, vinegar and sugar mixing, and doping the rice with the sushi vinegar. Then we watched him go through various sushi forms, but my focus was hosomaki, seaweed on the outside.
Demonstration over, we all donned gloves and began making the different forms. I have a tendency not to run my rice to the opposite ends of the nori sheet, but I do keep enough clear along the long edges so I can seal each roll. I made a bunch then asked about umeshiso, which is a personal favorite. Mr. Odagaki laughed because it is on the menu but nobody ever orders it; he gave me some sliced cucumber to roll with it. Slicing the sushi was more difficult than rolling it, because I was overly careful with cutlery and thus didn't slice through properly. We all received sushi certificates, which was a nice touch.
A key thing about the whole process is keeping your hands moist so the rice doesn't cling to them and moistening the knife, which would otherwise tear the nori. It is also a good idea to wrap the makisu bamboo sheet in plastic film. If you don't, it will clog with rice that will dry to it and become a nuisance.
Since makisu are not very costly, I will buy one this coming week. That will require stocking up on sushi nori, which is fine by me!