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Sushi Bar Video
May 25, 2007 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Someone puts a video camera on a Japanese sushi bar conveyor belt. You can tell it's in Japan because it doesn't get stolen as it travels around the bar. Via b3ta.
posted by Mwongozi (103 comments total) 108 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was great. Thanks!
posted by dead_ at 12:42 PM on May 25, 2007


I don't know why that made me feel happy inside, but it did.

hungry, too
posted by davejay at 12:43 PM on May 25, 2007


Here in Vancouver, conveyor (almost universally) means crap sushi, same in Japan?
posted by Keith Talent at 12:44 PM on May 25, 2007


This was great. The subtle little smile on the face of the woman around 1:13 was delightful.
posted by ourobouros at 12:45 PM on May 25, 2007


Wow...thank you. Sent it to my brother, who is preparing to go to Japan for the first time this summer.

It looked so comfortable and warm.
posted by voltairemodern at 12:48 PM on May 25, 2007


Awesome! That was strangely fascinating.
posted by ChestnutMonkey at 12:49 PM on May 25, 2007


We take little movies of the conveyor belt at our local sushi place all the time, heh.
posted by pinky at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2007


That was surprisingly wonderful. Reminds me of this recent thread on long takes. The irregular shape of the counter means some interesting variety when the camera turns a corner and you get a long row of people for the first time. My favorite moment is when the camera passes into the kitchen, reminding me strongly of Gosford Park.
posted by RogerB at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


That made me happy inside too. I like the thumbs up guy.
posted by vronsky at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2007


Loved it. That would be a good basis for a short film where you zoom in on various people and some vignette from their life and somehow tie it in to being at the Sushi bar that night.
posted by smcniven at 12:51 PM on May 25, 2007


That was fantastic. Just like davejay, it made me happy, and I don't know why. So simple, but so pleasant. Seeing all the people was heartwarming in a strange way-- the ones who were too busy eating or talking to notice the camera, the ones who smiled and waved, the one guy in the jacket who just seemed obliviously drunk... it was wonderful. It occurs to me that a really creative writer/director could make a marvelous short film using just this technique. Thank you, Mwongozi.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:52 PM on May 25, 2007


Inexplicably fascinating, thank you.
posted by Skorgu at 12:53 PM on May 25, 2007


Jinx, smcniven!
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:53 PM on May 25, 2007


The guy in the kitchen who was all, "Nan da, kore?" (What the heck is this?) made me laugh.
posted by fnerg at 12:54 PM on May 25, 2007


Luv at first bite.
posted by Rumple at 12:56 PM on May 25, 2007


Nice.
posted by chunking express at 12:58 PM on May 25, 2007


why didn't it make it all the way around?

The sushi chef was telling people "hey, look at the camera going round" and "you're going to be on video in America."
posted by dydecker at 1:00 PM on May 25, 2007


That was great.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:00 PM on May 25, 2007


That made me want to quit my job and move to Japan and experience the wealth of experience that life has to offer.

Now if you'll excuse me, someone's e-mail is broken and I have to go fix it.
posted by kbanas at 1:04 PM on May 25, 2007 [12 favorites]


I loved that. Thanks, Mwongozi.
posted by sveskemus at 1:07 PM on May 25, 2007


Inexplicably wonderful. This gave me a warm, cozy feeling for some reason. I really enjoyed this.

Thanks!
posted by Pecinpah at 1:08 PM on May 25, 2007


I loved this too! There is something so *nice* about it, like everyone is participating in a sweet joke, which, of course, they sort of are. Bravo!
posted by dirtdirt at 1:13 PM on May 25, 2007


See also.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:15 PM on May 25, 2007


The internet is once again open for business.
posted by humannaire at 1:17 PM on May 25, 2007


I just wanted to be there, among that diverse group of unpretentious people, sitting, eating and enjoying themselves.

Truly, the best of the web.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:20 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


That was great, thank you.
posted by interrobang at 1:23 PM on May 25, 2007


At first I wanted to politely bow and say "Hi!" to everyone who looked in the camera.

After a while though I couldn't get Ray Liotta's voice out of my head, narrating every detail and providing back story for all the characters: "The sushi bar was the place to be, especially at midnight. You had the woman in the boa who would stare at her plate demurely. The grandma with her thumb brace was always in there. She ran the place, but you'd never know it."
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:24 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


ourobouros : This was great. The subtle little smile on the face of the woman around 1:13 was delightful.

Yep. That was the moment I realized that I was really enjoying what I was watching. Excellent link.
posted by quin at 1:24 PM on May 25, 2007


You can tell it's in Japan because it doesn't get stolen as it travels around the bar.

You could have done something similar anywhere else in the world with the same type of clientele (middle-class retirees, businessmen, and families with kids). Even if someone there was inclined to steal it, too many people were aware of the camera for an attempted theft.

Neat video, though.
posted by D.C. at 1:30 PM on May 25, 2007


wonderful. I feel cozy.
posted by desjardins at 1:31 PM on May 25, 2007


Raw fish! You're all eating raw fish! YARGH! Oh the horror! The horror!! Raw fish!! GROSS!

*runs around in circles screaming and holding his head*

Raw fish! ...and soylent green is people!!!
posted by ZachsMind at 1:32 PM on May 25, 2007


I'm glad there are people like ZachsMind in the world. It means more sushi for me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:36 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


It made me at peace.
posted by bleucube at 1:39 PM on May 25, 2007


I am very happy that it's posted at LiveLeak, so I can go right from the horror and carnage of humankind's quiet war on fish to the horror and carnage of car accidents, combat in Iraq, and and airplane crashes.
posted by mkb at 1:41 PM on May 25, 2007


This was great. The subtle little smile on the face of the woman around 1:13 was delightful.

As well as the "yes-I-see-it-but-I'm-too-busy-masticating-my-food-to-death" nod from her companion. Great post. I echo all the cozy, warm-hearted comments above.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:42 PM on May 25, 2007


genius.
posted by kickback at 1:46 PM on May 25, 2007


This is awesome.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:47 PM on May 25, 2007


That was very charming. Last night I had two pieces of chu toro sushi, it was unbelievably good.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:51 PM on May 25, 2007


Would love to use this technique at a family reunion...I'm sure there's a conveyor-belt sushi place somewhere in northwest Montana.
posted by diastematic at 1:59 PM on May 25, 2007


smcniven writes 'Loved it. That would be a good basis for a short film where you zoom in on various people and some vignette from their life and somehow tie it in to being at the Sushi bar that night.'

I was thinking the same thing, with this as the final scene after a film following all the people who react to the camera on their way to the sushi bar.

That said, it's a pretty great short in its own right. Shame it doesn't make it all the way back to the couple who set it in motion, though.
posted by jack_mo at 2:01 PM on May 25, 2007


That was great. Thanks so much, Mwongozi!
posted by brundlefly at 2:01 PM on May 25, 2007


It was so cinematic.
posted by delmoi at 2:04 PM on May 25, 2007


As well as the "yes-I-see-it-but-I'm-too-busy-masticating-my-food-to-death" nod from her companion.

I thought he looked like the dude from Oldboy. I expected to see some live octopus wriggling between his lips.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:10 PM on May 25, 2007


Seconding all the awesomes.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:11 PM on May 25, 2007


It is cool and I also get that warm feeling. It's like a moving version of some street photography that just shows people having a good time, and relaxing.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:22 PM on May 25, 2007


Thirding, fourthing, fifthing. Best of the web.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:22 PM on May 25, 2007


Is paying based on the honor system or do they just count your plates?
posted by longsleeves at 2:29 PM on May 25, 2007


So close... I posted about the Japanese suicide submarines, called kaiten (回天) This is called kaiten sushi - (回転寿司)
posted by acro at 2:29 PM on May 25, 2007


Kaiten sushi @ wikipedia
posted by acro at 2:31 PM on May 25, 2007


longsleeves writes "Is paying based on the honor system or do they just count your plates?"

I've been to a few "sushi boat" places in the US and they counted your plates. I assume a place with a conveyor belt would operate in the same way.
posted by brundlefly at 2:36 PM on May 25, 2007


Yeah, the plates have colored markings, corresponding to the price of that particular piece of sushi.
posted by Quonab at 2:44 PM on May 25, 2007


Did I mention, I really like, commas?
posted by Quonab at 2:45 PM on May 25, 2007


I couldn't get the video to play with....out pausing/freezing up e...very few seconds, so un...fortunately I didn't w....atch it all the way through.

Am I the only one having this problem? And how can I fix it?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:52 PM on May 25, 2007


Oh. it's fixed now. I guess it was just due to heavy traffic from the rest of you folks.

Terrific video!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:54 PM on May 25, 2007


There's a conveyor belt sushi joint called Frying Fish ('cuz Japanese people can't say L! Get it?) tucked in a Little Tokyo alcove in Downtown LA.

I LURVE that place. It's like a little sushi hideaway I go to with my friends. Man I miss the clicking of that conveyor belt. It's like listening to the ocean. While being fed.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:00 PM on May 25, 2007


Is paying based on the honor system or do they just count your plates?


I went to this very nice sushi place in Atago hills in Tokyo and they had RFID chips in the plates, your waitress comes over and waves a wand over your huge stacks of plates and prints out a receipt for you right there.
posted by kanemano at 3:28 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


...and I've been cured of my misanthropy just like that.

I see everyone else has been as well.
posted by frobozz at 3:29 PM on May 25, 2007


Okay, I have never been to a sushi bar. I have never, in fact, eaten sushi (I understand it's raw fish, after all). Why is there a conveyor involved?

Maybe it's just the I-don't-understand-the-setting-thing, but without some perspective or experience, I don't see what's so neat about this. I mean, so what? And why is there a conveyor belt?
posted by yhbc at 3:47 PM on May 25, 2007


Hee hee hee. :)

(The other way you can tell it's in Japan: almost everyone is Japanese, they're all speaking Japanese, and all the signs are in Japanese. Seems like pretty good circumstantial evidence.)
posted by Foosnark at 3:50 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


yhbc writes "Why is there a conveyor involved?"

Wikipedia explains it all.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:56 PM on May 25, 2007


This is really one of the best things I've seen lately. Thanks. Wish it was on YouTube and not LiveLeak, though.
posted by xmutex at 4:04 PM on May 25, 2007


Beautiful! There's something about the background noise of a full restaurant that is so comforting to me. The scratching of plates and glasses against tables, quiet murmuring punctuated by shouts and laughter, the joking and interaction between the staff...very comforting. Thank you.
posted by LeeJay at 4:05 PM on May 25, 2007


Youtube of the FPP here
posted by acro at 4:09 PM on May 25, 2007


So great. Thanks for sharing. And I don't even like sushi.
posted by kimdog at 4:10 PM on May 25, 2007


I can't believe how charming this was. I kept waiting for the movie plot to start unfolding, all those characters (Mouth Too Full Chewing Guy, Serious Chewing Guy, Slightly Sad Mum With Kid, Thumbs-up Guy, Lady With Something Spilled On Her Sleeve), so many little stories, wonderful.
posted by biscotti at 4:47 PM on May 25, 2007


Warm and fuzzy cinematic !
posted by Jikido at 4:55 PM on May 25, 2007


Oooh, had to come back in and overthink a plate of sushi -- I figured out why it makes me (at least) feel so good to watch this.

When you see a stranger's face, it generally falls into one of three categories:

1. Face to face, and since they're a stranger to you, they look at you like strangers look at strangers; wary, indifferent, guarded, etc.

2. Through the lens of a camera held by a person, and since they generally know the person holding the camera, they mug for the camera, or say "get that away from me" with annoyance, or smile with self-consciousness.

3. Face to face or through a lens, but they're actors, and so they may be looking at you like a friend or loved one, but it's acting, and so it doesn't quite ring true.

Here, though, you have a seemingly endless line of people noticing the camera in a novel place that is *not* held by a person, and so all of the typical responses aren't present -- instead, we're witnessing, over and over, individual strangers looking at the camera with a complete lack of emotion except for the simple pleasure of seeing a novel object in an unexpected place, and it's amusing them.

You'll see that face a lot in close friends and loved ones, but never looking *right at you* -- because you're not a novel object, you're a person.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: each of these people is looking straight at you in the same way they look straight into the eyes of an adorable puppy that is jogging by.

Who wouldn't feel good?
posted by davejay at 5:18 PM on May 25, 2007 [9 favorites]


Hello, Dollyshot!
posted by rob511 at 5:20 PM on May 25, 2007


That video made me smile, and this thread taught me one thing: I have been to a sushi place miss lynnster likes.

Sushi Gen across the street in honda plaza is so much ungodly better than frying fish it's not even funny. I maintain that it's the best sushi place in LA.
posted by flaterik at 5:26 PM on May 25, 2007


It's like an extended basement scene from That 70s Show, except with sushi instead of pot and in Japan instead of Wisconsin.
posted by brain_drain at 5:28 PM on May 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


Keith, I'd always had the same association (gimmick restaurant = bad food) but there seems to be plenty of good conveyor sushi in the world.

There used to be a place downstairs from my girlfriend's apartment that sent the sushi around on a O-scale model train, with the plates on flatcars. I always wanted the system to have switches and little sidings so if you ordered something specific it could be shunted to your place, but really it was just a variation on conveyor sushi.
posted by hattifattener at 5:32 PM on May 25, 2007


Why didn't it go all the way around?
This is simply the promotional trailer. The full length feature will be in a theater near you during the summer '07 blockbuster season.
posted by Rawhide at 5:52 PM on May 25, 2007


I was uncomfortable watching this. I found the camera intrusive and it seemed to me not everyone enjoyed its passing by. I also found it rude and presumptuous for someone to think that this would be ok to do. As a filmmaking device, fine, but as something done with strangers, not fine. But then I like to dine in privacy and maybe I'm just a grump today.
posted by snez at 5:52 PM on May 25, 2007


Wikipedia explains it all.

Okay, I read the explanation, and I watched the video again.

Still, color me nonplussed. I guess I just don't grok sushi culture, such as it is.
posted by yhbc at 5:57 PM on May 25, 2007


kanemano recounts - I went to this very nice sushi place in Atago hills in Tokyo and they had RFID chips in the plates, your waitress comes over and waves a wand over your huge stacks of plates and prints out a receipt for you right there.

Dude, that is awesome.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:04 PM on May 25, 2007


I'm voting snez off the island.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:14 PM on May 25, 2007


Youtube of the FPP here

This is actually a different video, and the differences are kind of interesting. It's a much noisier place. Some kid picks up the camera and plays with it until his parents make him put it back. Several people mess with the camera over the course of its journey, unlike the other one. The video ends when some employee (maybe security) takes the camera into the back room.
posted by advil at 6:30 PM on May 25, 2007




That was fantastic.
posted by lampshade at 7:22 PM on May 25, 2007


Altman in Tokyo.
posted by ao4047 at 7:30 PM on May 25, 2007


Was anyone else expecting to see something unsavory happening in the kitchen? Perhaps the camera owner was a health inspector.
posted by itchylick at 7:37 PM on May 25, 2007


Awesome. Subtle and interesting to boot! Great FPP.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:52 PM on May 25, 2007


That made my day. Thanks, Mwongozi.
posted by dreamsign at 9:26 PM on May 25, 2007


As far as quality is concerned, I find it hard to ask for anything more than this.
posted by furtive at 10:13 PM on May 25, 2007


What may be more 'grokable' is the fact that in the case of the original link a camera managed to make it all the way around the conveyor belt without being picked up by complete strangers.

Compare that to Acro's YouTube link where some less festive types cover the camera with their hands or shy away, then a snooty kid picks the camera up to his mom's browbeating him into putting it back, then we get spun around to the wall at one point, then an employee comes along and confiscates us, and we haven't even made it halfway around the room.

Snez is the kinda person that makes this sorta thing a precious rarity in our society. On the surface, I snub my nose at someone like Snez who feels uncomfortable, like privacy is being invaded. I would like to see this kinda thing allowed all the time, and think the world would be a better place if we just lightened up a bit. However, at the same time I'm forced to begrudgingly understand where Snez and people like him are coming from.

Laws in multiple nations make this kinda guerilla photography illegal. Without signed statements from every individual in that restaurant, distributing this footage is technically unlawful, unethical, and an infringement on the inalienable rights of said individuals.

It IS an invasion of their perception of privacy. There is no sugar coating that. It appears innocent and harmless on the surface, but what if one of the couples in a restaurant like that were not supposed to be there together? Say for example, a couple committing adultery. Or two people planning questionable activities? Suddenly that footage could become useful in a future court situation. Or maybe it's more innocuous: people planning a surprise party for someone else who might see/hear footage before the event. Or maybe just a group of people who were having a private conversation and didn't want complete strangers to have it on tape.

Suddenly anyone who saw that camera on the belt who didn't like the intrusion will think twice before re-entering that establishment again. The owner of the camera may have inadvertently affected the future clientele and therefore pocketbook of the guy running the establishment - and not even know it.

They were in a public place, which brings to question just how private our lives are when we leave our front door every morning. Not being a lawyer I don't know the particulars, but it's very plausible that any individual on one of these videos could sue the establishment in which the footage was recorded, because they didn't have sufficient security to prevent this from happening on their property. This is why sometimes "rentacop" security believes they can confiscate cameras that are on their property, and even destroy the camera or the film inside them. They don't do it to be mean. They're protecting the interests of the company - the alternative is to risk litigation for something done on their premises by complete strangers who probably won't even get a slap on the wrist.

Sorry to rain on everybody's parade. Besides, raw fish! You're all eating raw fish! YARGH! Oh the horror! The horror!! Raw fish!! GROSS! Raw fish! ...and soylent green is people!!!
posted by ZachsMind at 11:15 PM on May 25, 2007


It was a sushi restaraunt Zach, not a plate of beans restaraunt. Just sayin.
posted by vronsky at 11:35 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


ZachsMind, advil, ya, my mistake. I just watched the first 20 seconds... Hey look, dancing sushi people!
posted by acro at 12:02 AM on May 26, 2007


Sooo, in Japan, families with lil' kids eat dinner sometime after midnight?

Hey, let's all learn more about 'Kaiten Sushi' with our pal Shin Chan.
posted by dgaicun at 12:08 AM on May 26, 2007


I've only spent a few days in Japan, but that brought back so many memories. Wonderful stuff.

I have never, in fact, eaten sushi (I understand it's raw fish, after all).

No, that's sashimi you're thinking of. Sushi might or might not include raw fish, but can be made with all kinds of things - vegetables, smoked eel, tofu, chicken, beef etc. It's basically a whole range of little bite-sized morsels of rice-plus-something. You typically also get small salads & other non-sushi items at these kinds of places, too.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:22 AM on May 26, 2007


"so many memories"? silly me. a strong memory for the feel of cozy little eateries.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:24 AM on May 26, 2007


ZachsMind - you've obviously never put anyone Japanese in front of a camera. It seems to be a national trait that they're happy to be there.

dgaicun - This is a country where quite often kids will be at school until eight in the evening - also there's less of an attitude that kids shouldn't be in restaurants, but should stick to Burger King. Mostly because they generally don't cause a ruckus.

UbuRoivas - I hear you. I'm now homesick for a country that's not my home.
posted by liquidindian at 1:58 AM on May 26, 2007


Sooo, in Japan, families with lil' kids eat dinner sometime after midnight?

It's not that late. I didn't think this looked like a late-night crowd, and it isn't. Look up on the wall behind one of the customers at about 1:47 in ... there's a clock.

It's 9:35.
posted by woodblock100 at 4:15 AM on May 26, 2007


Zachsmind It appears innocent and harmless on the surface, but what if one of the couples in a restaurant like that were not supposed to be there together?

OK, you're onto something here, but...

Say for example, a couple committing adultery.

Committing adultery in the middle of a sushi restaurant?! Eeeww...
posted by Skeptic at 8:05 AM on May 26, 2007


I have always wondered what a piece of sushi sees and thinks about it as it travels around the conveyor belt.

Thanks Mwongozi!
posted by extrabox at 9:07 AM on May 26, 2007


That was awesome. I could almost hear Ray Liotta narrating in Japanese.
posted by DakotaPaul at 11:33 AM on May 26, 2007


I loved that. Everyone a character with their own story big and small. Human beings at peace with one another and their surroundings. Eating, drinking, relaxed, enjoying life simply. I was happy to be there.

Something odd happened when I watched that, when the small boy came into view and spotted the camera I instintively said "Hi!". And then felt embarrased at myself.

I guess that explains more about how I felt about that few minutes of film than anything.

Thanks, that was a pleasure.
posted by brautigan at 3:50 PM on May 26, 2007


Zach: this is an example of what you say. Busted by the Sports Network!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on May 26, 2007


Here it is on YouTube

I'm another person who felt kind of warm and fuzzy after watching that.
ZachsMind - I rather feel that anyone having an illicit affair or planning illegal activities in a public place has to face the possibility that someone might get wind of said activities that they'd rather didn't. I know a restaurant isn't really public in the sense that the owner has the right to refuse entry or kick people out, but it's not really private either as anyone could walk in, in theory. I do think there's a case for saying that you need to be sure that everyone's happy with the video being made public, but we've got no real way of knowing whether consent's been obtained or not.
posted by kumonoi at 6:21 AM on May 27, 2007


And yet there you go, posting the video anyway.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on May 27, 2007


I am glad to see that this made so many other people happy, too. I feel it speaks to a shared humanity that is always there, but so often we are trained to ignore. We think it is rude to look at strangers, lest our intentions be misconstrued. The device of the conveyor belt takes away the "looker", so the simple innocence of enjoying looking at people could take place without a perceived threat.
It always seems like everybody wants something from you in this world, so if someone is paying attention to you, it can feel uncomfortable. As a result, people can be so closed off. Alone in a crowd, afraid that that stranger is just working an angle.

My favorite movie is Koyaanisqatsi, which has similar happy footage of people just being. You see the loneliness and the isolation, but you see the humanity. Great stuff.
posted by bitslayer at 4:28 PM on May 27, 2007


Japanese have a different view of privacy than some Western countries.
Some people would get would get concerned about being shot on video. And Japanese humour can be humiliating judging by some videos I have seen. Even I would be ringing my lawyer if I got thrown naked onto the snow on national TV.
Nevertheless this is a feelgood video. A little raw slice of peoples lives - like sushi....
posted by Tesladownunder at 7:06 AM on June 1, 2007


Does anyone know if and how one may contact a LiveLeak user? I'd like to e-mail the maker of this video.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:58 PM on June 1, 2007


goodnews, I tried bugmenot, but the accounts are all expired ... you can PM LiveLeak users with an account.
posted by acro at 6:13 PM on June 1, 2007


Tnx acro.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:47 PM on June 2, 2007


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