It was Valentines Day in Japan today. While the whole country was absorbed in purchasing and consuming chocolate, I was gorging myself with cheap sushi. Since coming back to Japan last month I haven’t had the chance to pop into one of these places. I suppose that initially I had reservations about eating fish in Japan- raw or otherwise – because of the possibility of it being caught from somewhere over on the other side of the country where radiated sludge has been seeping out of Fukushima nuclear reactor for almost a year. But gradually my (ir/rational?) fears have subsided enough for me eat just about anything offered. Although, I am still quite diligent when it comes to grocery shopping. I check all the labels to see where the food comes from, and if it is from anywhere within a few hundred kilometers of Fukushima, it gets the kaibosh. Coupled with my trepidation about being slowly radiated to death by contaminated fish, milk, veggies, water and rice etc, I also haven’t been able to locate in this city a specific chain of carousel sushi that I enjoyed so thoroughly last time I lived in Japan.
Anyhow, I digress. We (well, in all honesty it was my Japanese companions) finally found a local branch of Sushi Meiji in the area, and with the help of the GPS on my new and really smart phone, we navigated through the seedy, neon-lit streets of the quasi red-light district of Nakasu. The descriptions and observations of that quarter is an engaging and interesting if not salacious narrative in itself, best saved for another time.
Walking through the automatic sliding door, I felt relieved to see that the chain restaurant does not vary too much from one to another.
We scooped up one of two tables in the place (lots of counter space, but only two booths), and distributed the chopsticks, soya sauce dishes and tea cups. One cool thing about the round-about sushi spots is the free green tea they provide, along with a hot water line protruding from the wall at the table.
It had been years since I last had sushi at one of these spots. i could hardly contain my excitement at the range of choices I had, all for a measly 105 yen per plate.
I started out with some salmon, moved onto tuna, followed by some freshwater eel. There are also some non-traditional sushi choices, like slightly sweet omelette, avocado and mayonnaise wrapped in seaweed, and of course the omnipresent california roll. My personal favorite is eel. I love how it is grilled and brushed with a sweet sauce. It has kind of a fatty taste to it, similar to a nice cut of red meat.
Here I am about to enjoy a piece of it at the end of our sushi session. Its kind of like dessert for me.
I usually polish off about 10 plates of zoosh when it is all said and done, and this time was no different.
This tower of plates also includes the 5 or 6 plates my wife ate as well. Although, it is not inconceivable that I could down 18 plates alone.
And what would a trip to any Japanese establishment be without the obligatory strangely worded sign in Engrish?
What’s not to love?
I personally love sushi and I love it when it’s cheap, and on a conveyor belt that zips by your table.
Yes, old habits are hard to break, and my sushi habit won’t be broken anytime soon.