October 19

Speedboat Sushi

See my four-plate order on the red boat under the touchscreen?

Conveyor belt sushi joints are a fast food fixture in Japan, but I’d never been to one that delivered the special orders on a red speedboat before. This place near my Japanese school in Takanobaba has a system: each setting is outfitted with its own touchscreen, and you can choose up to four plates at a time. The order goes to the sushi chef in the kitchen at the end of the roundabout, and when your order is ready, he loads it onto a long red boat that zooms to a stop in front of your seat. You remove the plates and press a flashing red button to let him know he can recall the boat and deliver his next order. While you’re waiting, you can grab any of the tempting plates sliding by on the conveyor belt too, but the order system gets you in and out in record time – a salaryman’s dream. Even better, my eight-piece, fabulously fresh sushi lunch cost ¥660 (about $8.50).

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo Mystery Series, published by Penguin/Intermix.