Sushi: All sushi contains some kind of sticky rice held together with sweet Japanese rice vinegar. The sushi chef expertly shapes the rice (a process that takes seconds to do and years to learn) and tops it with sliced raw fish, a cooked whole shrimp, fish roe, a slice of Japanese omelet (tamago), or a vegetable. The chef also prepares sushi rolls by rolling the fish or other ingredients in the rice with nori seaweed (the California roll puts the rice on the outside). The restaurant serves the sushi pieces and cut up pieces of roll on a wooden block with a dipping sauce. Toro (fatty tuna) is the most popular fish, but the topping can be anything from unagi (eel) to ikura (salmon eggs). The term sashimi refers to a plate of sliced raw fish or other seafood served on its own with a sauce, with neither rice nor seaweed. Because raw seafood is involved (as well as a great deal of precise knife work), both sushi and sashimi require reliable sources of the highest quality ingredients and highly skilled preparation.
In Japanese cuisine, sushi is vinegared rice, usually topped with other ingredients, including fish, various meats, and vegetables. Outside of Japan, sushi is sometimes misunderstood to mean the raw fish itself, or even any fresh raw-seafood dishes. In Japan, sliced raw fish alone is called sashimi and is distinct from sushi, as sashimi is the raw fish component, not the rice component. The word sushi itself comes from an archaic grammatical form of a word that is no longer used in other contexts; literally, "sushi" means "it's sour".
There are various types of sushi: sushi served rolled inside nori (dried and pressed layer sheets of seaweed or algae) called makizushi or rolls; sushi made with toppings laid with hand-formed clumps of rice called nigirizushi; toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu called inarizushi; and toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called chirashi-zushi.
Shoyu - The common name for soy sauce. In sushi restaurants, it may also be referred to as murasaki (lit. "purple").
Wasabi - A piquant paste made from the grated root of the wasabi plant. Real wasabi (hon-wasabi) is Wasabi japonica