Well, it has to be done at least once in Japan, doesn’t it?
There is a new sushi restaurant in town, the sort with a conveyor belt carrying the plates and the family were keen that we should experience it sooner rather than later. The only problem was they don’t take table bookings and are very popular, so everyone reorganised their day and we piled into the minivan to be there mid-afternoon.
Rich Japan is where US influence meets Asian culture, and the suburbs are like American suburbia on a slightly smaller scale: you’re less likely to pass a temple or a geisha, than a strip mall with a supermarket called ‘Heidi’. The sushi bar is on the most distant point of all this and we pile out of the car and make our way in some trepidation, half expecting to be sent back out again. As it happens we’re far earlier than most customers and we get two tables to ourselves. The food trundling past on the conveyor belt isn’t that promising a first, but after a couple of minutes beautiful wife has -as ever- patiently translated enough that we can select the likely-to-be-tasty dishes such as smoked tuna with avocado, battered squid, barbecued beef, and chocolate cake) and the interesting looking, but unappetising Japanese Caviar or the less delightful sounding sea hedgehog.
For some reason Eldest Son takes an empty plate off the conveyor, and looks shocked when we all tell him to put it back on sharpish.
I explain that the bill is calculated by counting the used plates at the end of the meal.
understanding dawns. “You mean we don’t have to pay if we don’t have the plate?”
When we confirm this is so, his eyes light up and he starts putting plates back on to the conveyor again.
Beautiful Wife looks at me. And communicates ‘Just like his dad’ without words.
I don’t know what she means…
[Despite this post publishing today, we’re having adventures elsewhere in Japan at the moment, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until Wednesday. Don’t let this stop you from writing them though…]