Posted by Erik W on May 21, 2012 10:15 PM
Slept in, woke up, and was hungry for some sushi. I also demanded it came from a conveyor belt. My friend knew just the place. We headed outside to the trains. It was a beautiful day, around 80 degrees. This was the first time I noticed there were a lot of little parks, and they were heavily used. Most people didn't have a yard, which is why I imagine many people used the parks. I was also surprised how plentiful parks were. For a country with not a lot of space, they definitely didn't neglect to leave behind some trees.
Anyway, we headed a couple train stops south to the Minamiyono station (南与野駅), and headed to a conveyor belt sushi (回転寿司) place named Kurazushi (くら寿司) [Map]. We sit down, and are given little hand towels called oshibori (おしぼり) to wash our hands. This will become a common occurrence at every future restaurant I go to. The food was pretty amazing, and absolutely delicious. There were almost sixty variety of sushi rolling around the belt, from normal shrimp, salmon, and cucumber sushi to corn and hamburger sushi. Each plate had two pieces, for $1.20USD each. When you were done with a plate, you slid it in a slot which counted the plates for your bill. Every five plates you had a chance to win a cell phone charm. I didn't win :(
Side note about cell phone charms (携帯ストラップ): A lot of people had them. Most smart phone cases had a little loop that these one-inch figurines could hang from. At first I thought it was a girl thing, until I saw some guys with them. Then I thought it was a young person thing, until I saw an older man with a business suit pull out his blackberry with, like, 5 of these things hanging from it. Then I just wasn't sure.
We finished eating, and went to pay. I take out the appropriate amount from my pocket and hand it to the cashier. She makes a "no" motion with her arms. What the fuck? Why won't she take my money? My friend explains I have to put the money in a tray next to the register. It's about "giving" them your money as opposed to them "taking" it. If you visit Japan, you're going to need to know this, as it's done everywhere.
Next, we headed down to Yoyogi Park (代々木公園), where we spend most of the afternoon. There are people playing jump-rope, playing badminton (very common), catch, and many others were just sitting around on plastic tarps. We had some drinks with some of my friend's friends, sat around, chatted, and enjoyed the weather.
Despite taking two semesters of Japanese in college, I knew practically nothing. So I took the opportunity to discuss some phrases or kanji I should recognize or know how to say with the native Japanese speakers:
Afterwards, I was pretty hungry so my friend brought me to this amazing dumpling place called 餃子の福包 [Map] (English translation unknown) in Shinjuku (新宿). We got a plate of 30 dumplings, and despite my fear of us not finishing them all, we did.