Shopping Practice and Conveyor Belt Sushi

Fake storeA few days ago, we got to “practice” shopping at the Yamahana School outside of Kushiro. It was actually a little exercise for the English class.  The students were playing the clerks at a shop, and the American visitors were the customers, and we got to buy things with fake money. We got to learn about new Japanese sweets, and they got to practice their English skills. The students were very shy and nervous, but they did a great job.

We were sad to leave this school — there were so many nice people and we loved the small tight-knit environment. But we had to head back to the airport to go to Tokyo. Here’s a photo of us waving goodbye from the bus window:Waving goodbye

Now that we are back in the big city, we’ve got a chance to put our shopping skills to the test in the real world. On the evening we arrived back, a few of us headed out into Shinjuku, this main central shopping district of Tokyo, to try to find a place to eat dinner. First I had to get money at the very different ATM machine. We had a map and the name of the restaurant in romanji (English letters sounding it out) and in the regular Japanese script. Still, we ended up a little confused, and needed to ask for help.

Eventually, we found it! Very exciting!

Here’s a little video I filmed to give you a sense of what it was like.

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 8.04.31 AMIt was a very fun way to spend an evening, and really yummy food. Some of the items looked a little scary, but they tasted good.  At the end, we paid by plate.  Different colored plates cost different amounts. So the waiter just tallied up our total based on our empty plates, and that’s how the pricing works. The whole thing was 1100 yen, about $11 in US money, so not too badly priced, right? A meal like this in the United States would be way more!

Categories: Japan

20 replies »

  1. Sounds quite fun! I have completed a similar activity to the one you did in the school in Japan, and I have seen a place that was similar to the sushi place you went to

  2. I think the idea of the shopping activity was creative! I’m curious about the dumpling that your colleague had “bought” though. Why does it have no outer layer/crust?
    The conveyor belt with sushi was also really neat!
    Is it kind of like a buffet? Where the cooks just keep putting out food, and people can just take what they want?
    Was that the only conveyor belt in the restaurant? Or were there more?
    Was it hard to get used to the conveyor belt?
    ~ Anna

    • The whole conveyor belt sushi thing is common in Japan. They are considered a little like fast food and you can find them all over. It’s not like a buffet in that you have to pay for each plate you take. It’s more like dim sum in that regard. But yes, it’s like a buffet in that they just keep putting food out and people take it.

  3. I have heard about that kind of restaurant, but never experienced it. Which foods did you take? What did they taste like?

  4. 1100 yen for the Conveyor Belt Sushi would actually be $10.84 in US money, because the yen is right now probably at 101 or 102 to the dollar.

    Also, what is the song playing in the “Conveyor Belt Sushi” video, and who sings it?

  5. How is the price of something in Japan different from something in America? For example the your dinner was 1100 yen, but it was really only $11. How is one yen different from one dollar?

    • The exchange rate is about 100 yen = 1 US dollar. In general, prices are similar to back home. So, for example, a coke costs 130 yen or so, which is about $1.30.

  6. I thought that doing a pretend store was a great way for the students to practice their english and you guys to practice buying Japanese food and using their fake currency at the same time! One question I had about the pretend shopping was do all the candies have edible packaging like the dumplings or was, that special for dumplings? It was also cool that at the sushi shop they had a conveyer belt. That must make their business go faster. Did you just take the food you wanted or did you order it and then they put it on the conveyer belt? That sounded like a great trip!

    • Hi Hope! Mostly, we just took what we wanted off the conveyor belt, but if there was something we wanted, we could order it too. For instance, we didn’t see any miso soup or enagi (eel) sushi, so we asked for those. It was a really fun experience!

  7. I would love to experience this because I LOVE sushi. I like the fact that the prices are based on the color of the plates. Do you remember what colored plates costed more?

  8. I like sushi a lot. I just went out for sushi last night. For 4 of us the bill came to $67 so your bill of $11 is great. I would like to learn about the different colored plates and how much each cost. Did you find the system of the different colored plates in Tokyo easier than the system in the US?

  9. Are the Japanese foods o the conveyor belt healthier than American fast food? Because sometimes American fast food restaurants such as burger king, use fillers in their beef, and add lots of saturated fats and cholesterol 😦 . But my observation about Japanese “fast food conveyor belt thingy” is that chefs cook with real food. I’m not sure about healthy though. I have a question. do customers take the food and later pay for it like a buffet or do they order their food and the chefs put a number on their food and the customers pick it up?

  10. When I went to California ate lunch at sushi bar with the conveyor but when I went to Japan I didn’t even find a sushi bar.

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