The big news here is that BRIAN LIKES SUSHI! Additionally, BRIAN LIKES EEL AND RAW SCALLOPS! I have photo evidence. (I know it's really annoying to type in all caps, but this is really really big.)
Ain't he handsome?
The sushi place by our house, Nonta Sushi, is a three minute walk. You can sit either at tables or around the sushi bar, which has a conveyor belt with freshly prepared sushi. It's called kaiten-zushi. This is great for us because we don't have to mumble broken Japanese to anyone, just grab stuff off the belt as it comes by. There's also a really long menu (that has some pictures! yeah!) from which you can order other items and they will promptly be prepared by any of the three sushi chefs in front of you.
Note the revolving tea cups on the lower level for macha, green tea.
The prices are determined by the color of the plate, and your total is calculated simply by counting up your plates! We gorged ourselves (maguro, hamachi, lots of ebi and scallops, crab, cooked tuna, shiitake, tekka maki, and more) and even got a dessert, and still only spent about $33 total. There's no tipping here, and tax is pre-factored into the cost.
Our Japanese is starting to exist (barely) so we were at least able to convey what we wanted to our chefs. The discovery of the night was definitely the scallops. They sear them for a few seconds on one side, butterfly them open and set them on small beds of rice with a lemon wedge. Honestly the most delicious thing I've ever had in my life. We got three orders of that... *sigh* and would have had more if we had discovered them earlier in the dinner. Glad we got over our fears on that one.
Two of these beauties (one was already eaten) cost only ¥250, or $2.50.
I grabbed a large futomaki roll off the belt, and tucked inside was a small piece of uni, sea urchin. I've been trying to find uni for years and finally got to taste it. It was soft like peanut butter and had a salty taste that went fruity sweet at the end. Yum.
We also discovered the difference between unagi and anago (eel and sea eel). The former is darker, more expensive and fattier. The latter is a light tan, still covered in the same good sauce, and in our opinion, much tastier.
Something that looked like canned tuna with cucumbers was "quite unimpressive," according to Brian. There was also some crab meat covered with a thin squirt of what looked like cat food that was strange. The crab was ok, but the green stuff was gross.
Icky. And it cost ¥400. :(
The biggest difference between American sushi and Japanese sushi is that there's a much much bigger variety of sushi here. For example, a regular bento box at the convenience store here is likely to have uni, squid, octopus, shrimp, tuna, mackerel, egg, flying fish roe and more. I think we mostly have california rolls back home. Avocados are small and expensive here so cali rolls are out of the question. Another difference is that the wasabi is placed under the piece of fish, directly on top of the rice, so you don't have to add any. The sizes seem to be the same in both countries, though I always thought Japanese sushi was smaller. Guess it isn't anymore.
I hate to be cheesy, but this just keeps getting better and better.