We walked into the Sushi restaurant on the corner opposite the Asakusa subway entrance in Tokyo. It was a small establishment, advertising the cheap prices of 160 yen on the two exposed sides of the brick building.
The restaurant consisted of an open area, with two sushi chefs, surrounded on all four sides by a narrow table. Between the table and chefs was a small conveyor belt going around in a circle filled with plates of two pieces of sushi. About half of the twenty stools around the table were filled with other Japanese people. There were a couple of business men across from us engaged in a quiet conversation. Two stools down from me sat a petit Japanese man dressed in a suit with a stack of 7 plates, and he was still grabbing more from the conveyor.
The menu was not a big leather bound book with fancy writing, but rather a laminated sheet of paper the size of a place mat with pictures of different pieces of sushi. Under the picture was the name in Japanese characters and in English. The types of sushi varied, but only in the type of raw fish that was draped over a ball of rice. I tried the octopus, eel, flat fish, and my favorite was the cuttle fish. All were made right in front of, were completely raw, and absolutely delicious.
Comparing this restaurant to sushi restaurants I have eaten at back in America, I much prefer this one. The focus at this restaurant was the sushi being made right in front of your eyes. Everything was simple, from the menu to the box of chopsticks and the bottle of soy sauce on the table. When it was time to leave, a waitress came over and counted up my four plates, and handed me a bill for 520 yen to be paid at the door on the way out. We didn’t even have to calculate a 15% tip, since tipping isn’t part of the culture in Japan.