You are so worth an Asahi synthetic rubber cutting board

YouTube's algorithm served me a video in December that delved into Japanese synthetic rubber cutting boards used by sushi chefs, and one video led to another and then another, and finally I had to see if the Asahi was really worth it. Once I made the choice to get one, the question of Parker Asahi or Hasagawa came down to features & availability; a few clicks later and my order was placed, followed by nearly a month long wait for the vendor to ship my Asahi SC-103 in blue all the way from the land of the rising sun.

Image: Andrew Yi

First impression is the 600mmx300mmx15mm size might be a bit too large, but after using it I absolutely love the 2:1 width to depth ratio. Typically I need to cut, then move the material to a bowl or plate before cutting the next ingredients, but the 23.622 inch width by 11.811 inch depth allows the user to do a tremendous amount of cutting with ample room to compartmentalize into neat piles while still spreading things out without them rolling off the board. The size of the SC-103 is too large to fit into the dishwasher which I use as a dish rack (I hate that this is such a stereotypical thing, but I prefer handwashing and kitchen counter space is almost as precious a commodity as time itself), so I put it on the top rack to dry with the glasses and chopsticks with the door open before storing it with the other cutting boards. At 6.61 pounds, this cutting board is heavy, but as Boris the Blade said in Snatch "Heavy is good, heavy is reliable. If it does not work, you can always hit him with it."

Second impression is that this board requires a bit of care to keep it going for years (some restaurants in Japan have Asahi cutting boards that are still in use after 40+ years). The synthetic rubber contains wood powder so this board mimics the feel of cutting on a wood cutting board with none of the drawbacks. Because it has wood in it, the Asahi can be sanded by hand or using power tools to bring the surface back to it's original state. Care also means that it must be cleaned promptly after use each use regardless of what has been cut on it, else staining can happen which can be fixed by sanding. Boiling water and harsh chemicals are safe to use on the Asahi, but putting it into a dishwasher is not suggested as it can warp from the heat, which can be corrected with more heat and weight to flatten it should one not heed Asahi's warning.

Third impression is that this board is not for chopping, and should be reserved for slicing. Much like the Kyocera ceramic kitchen knives, the Japanese have a penchant for specific tools made for specific tasks, so use lesser cutting boards for chopping duties. The Asahi SC-103 requires a traction surface between the underside and the counter surface it'll rest on; I prefer to use a kitchen towel, paper towel or napkin with a healthy splash of water on it before setting my cutting boards on the counter.

At $95 the Asahi is not an inexpensive cutting board, but the features are all there and at this point it's more about whether you are worth what an Asahi costs rather than if the Asahi is worth it.