(Friday) Thoughts from Places: Inside a Kaiten Sushi Restaurant

Written (mentally) as I was sitting in my local kaiten sushi restaurant on Friday; written (actually) a few days later.

In my previous post, I wrote about my weekly challenge of eating in a restaurant alone in my city. After much internal psyching up, I completed the challenge at Hamazushi, one of many conveyor belt sushi restaurant chains that Japan is famous for. As I was, of course, alone, I had plenty of time to ponder life, Japan, and sushi. Here are those thoughts:

Okay, awesome. I’m not sitting too near anyone else at the counter.

Quick glance around – I know nobody here. Safe.

Okay, don’t get distracted by all the colors and bells. Let’s start ordering sushi on the magical tablet. Classics first – one order of tuna, one order of yellowtail with yuzu.

What’s this? Special tuna for an extra 100 yen? Yep, treat yourself.

No one is staring at you. No one is staring at you…

Okay, now let’s make myself some hot green tea~ four shakes of powdered matcha~ God, I love green tea. And to think two years ago, I would have never touched unsweetened green tea… I can’t imagine adding honey to it now…

Yay, my tuna is here!

But look at all those other plates of sushi, unclaimed, going around and around in front of me… what if no one ever takes them? I’m sure they throw the leftover sushi away. They have to, Japan is so careful about quality freshness… All that perfectly good fish, wasted. It’s actually really sad if you think about it a lot.

People around the world are overfishing the oceans, catching all the tuna, just so sushi can take a few rides on a restaurant’s conveyor belt and get thrown away… Humans suck. Poor sushi.

I’ll save this tuna. I’ll eat you.

This is more depressing than I originally thought. Although the sushi is delicious.

Well, there is a lot of waste in first-world countries. It’s not just Japan. I’m sure quite a lot of the food in those hotel breakfast buffets goes to waste everyday… Food in general: we let it go bad and throw it out because it’s too easy to buy more…

There are so many problems in the world. It’s overwhelming.

Wait. I just heard my name. Do I know those boys?

He’s waving at me. Shit. Which school is he from?! I don’t know!!

Just smile and wave, Karen. Smile and wave.

Okay, he sat down far away from me. Safe. But seriously, which school? Not my Flex school, I recognize most of those students… Not my Tech school, they all live in Chikusei…

So my Tuesday school or my Wednesday school… Hmm… He’s probably a Tuesday school student. Definitely. Well, maybe.

This is what happens when you have 4 schools… roughly 1,100 students that you see on a pretty infrequent basis. I mean, honestly, at Tuesday school you see a class of 40 students, for just 50 minutes, once every 5 or 6 weeks. How can you possibly know all their faces, let alone their names? Impossible.

But I do feel bad when I don’t recognize them…

It’s not the end of the world, though. I mean, students know that you work at multiple schools.

Well, actually, do they know? I went to Tuesday School’s school festival, and when a bunch of my Tech School boys saw me there, they were shocked. Maybe they think I only work one day a week? Or perhaps they just never thought about where I am for the rest of the week.

Forget it. Come on, Karen, back to eating.

Now let’s order the creative “sushi”. Scrolling… scrolling… duck with garlic sauce “sushi,” oh yes… and some parma-ham “sushi” with black olive ! These are great. Who comes up with these “sushi” combinations?

Ughh, mayo and corn on top of rice.  Such a strangely beloved Japanese combination. Skip.

To add veggies, I’ll get my favorite soup with lots of seaweed!

That’s about enough food.

Damn, which button on this tablet do you press to get the check? They’re only written in kanji…

The green button or the yellow button. I have a 50-50 shot at getting the check… Green or yellow, green or yellow? Hmm….

No, I shouldn’t risk it. What if I choose the wrong button and it ends up being a fire alarm or something even worse? I’ll look up the kanji on my phone.

Okay, got it. Green button = check. Success!

Time to head home. Good job, Karen.


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