They do things differently in Japan, and they have a proper way to do everything with numerous unwritten rules. Although I wouldn’t be surprise if there was this huge library somewhere in Tokyo filled with rulebooks telling the Japanese how to do everything, because if there is something the people in this country love its rules and they all abide by them without asking questions. Of course, rules also apply to consuming food and I like teaching you about the food rules I encounter. Like how to cook nabe-for-one, how to prepare your food at a kushiage restaurant, how to correctly eat Yamachan’s tebasaki and how to get the onigiri out of its package without the whole thing falling apart. Today: kaitenzushi a.k.a. conveyor belt sushi a.k.a. the sushi-go-round.
Step 1: Go to a kaitenzushi place (I recommend Kurazushi), get seated, and take a plate off the conveyor belt, preferably with something on it that looks attractive to your taste buds.
Step 2: When you don’t find what you want on the conveyor belt, feel free to order the missing thing with the little computer hanging over your table. Some Japanese skills are required though, but not too much, because I can kind of do it too.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you’ve gathered a sizable collection of delectable-looking sushi on your table.
Step 4: There is box, with a see-through lid, on the table which contains a lot of wooden sticks. Which are, yes you guessed it right, chopsticks. Take some out of the box, because it’s not ok to just stuff the sushi in into your mouth with your hands, no matter how much fun it may seem.
Step 5: The chopsticks are like Siamese twins and conjoined at the ass, so you have to hold one in each hand and start pulling. Be careful as you don’t want any wood splinters flying about that might endanger your eyes or more importantly your sushi.
Step 6: Use all your strength and yell out an intelligent warrior cry (I recommend ‘Oowey’) at the final effort of actually separating the chopsticks. If you are too weak to do this, you could also just use two pairs of still conjoined chopsticks to eat your sushi.
Step 7: They have two kinds of soy sauce, regular (which is a little bit salty) and sweet, make your choice and add that to your sushi (I recommend a mixture of the two).
Step 8: If you are like me and you like your food spicy, then locate the little pot filled with green wasabi and use the miniature spoon to scoop some up and add it to your soy sauce.
Step 9: Now hold your chopsticks together and quickly move it around circularly in the soy sauce and wasabi, a.k.a. mixing the two. Don’t forget to enjoy the highly entertaining action.
Step 10: Open your chopsticks again and hold them in the pick-up-food position. Put the end of each of your chopsticks on the opposite sides of your sushi, squeeze and lift up your hand and with it your sushi moves from the plate.
Step 11: Move your hand in such a way that the sushi is transported from your plate to your open mouth and insert the sushi. Close your mouth, chew (without making any sounds please) and swallow, this whole process may be recognized by some as eating.
Step 12: Keep repeating step 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 until you’ve emptied all the plates and then the real fun can start: clearing the table of plates! There’s a hole under the conveyor belt where you dump all your plates either gently or try to throw them in from a distance. There is a small Japanese clerk waiting in the basement to count the number of plates you throw at him and he communicates that back to the little ordering computer above your table. This information then enables the waitress to write you a check for the right amount. Pay when you leave at the cash register strategically placed next to the exit and that’s how you do kaitenzushi in Japan!