I've had some amazing Japanese food in my day. I discovered sushi late in college and was fortunate to get an expense-paid visit to Tokyo when JG was working over there for a bit... though I think I was still too new to the cuisine at the time to make the most of my trip. After moving to Austin, I fell in love with a modern Japanese place and even developed an unfortunate habit of of putting any raw thing in my mouth based on the things they [carefully and safely] served. It was exquisite.
Earl of Sandwich story, but maybe it's a case of culinary convergence.
It takes a lot of practice to make true sushi rice look and taste right and involves lots of fanning and folding. I've seen it done many times and I'm not even close to mastering it... but with a little tweaking I've created a brown rice version with the right flavor and a close enough texture for the at-home hand roll.
Recipe: Simple Temaki, Japanese Tacos
for 12-16 hand rolls
12 oz brown rice (1 1/2 cups) [I prefer Nishiki brand]
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
4 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs brown rice syrup or 2 tsp sugar
Combine rice, water and salt and cook until tender, ~50 minutes in a rice cooker or on the stove, ~18 minutes in a pressure cooker. Whisk together vinegar and mirin. Transfer cooked rice to a large bowl and drizzle the vinaigrette over the the top. Use a wide spatula [or bamboo paddle] to fold and stir the the rice until liquid is absorbed and rice is uniformly sticky. Cover and set aside until you're ready to build your rolls.
Nori can be found online, at any Asian grocery store, most well-stocked grocery stores, or most large Latin grocery stores with an international section [another reason why I love Fiesta].
Cut 8 sheets in half and -- using tongs -- hold each piece above a stove burner set to medium [gas or electric]. You just want them to crinkle a bit; if it catches fire you have it too close to the heat. Stack the toasted sheets on a serving plate.
1 cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, then each half into ~1/4" batons
1 avocado, sliced
3/4 lb mushrooms [preferably shitake] sauteed until just tender and sliced
2 sticks imitation crab meat [kani]
4 egg rolled omlette [tamago] made with 1 tbs mirin and 1 tsp soy
whatever else strikes your fancy: tofu, squash, radishes, cabbage, chicken... it's just like a taco.
[There's prosciutto in the picture, it got a little lost, more texture is better.]