Had it been just me, I likely would have just stayed in on this rainy evening. But Andrew suggested we go for a walk to get out of the house.
So we stepped out into the drizzly dark and started walking, turning whichever way, walking through a park of cherry trees by a river, along a driving range, down to the big river, back up towards home. And along the way the bright lights of the conveyor belt sushi restaurant glowed above us and I suggested the possibility of getting dinner there. Andrew agreed and so we ventured into the mysteries of patronizing a conveyor belt sushi restaurant.
First there was the automated kiosk into which we correctly figured out how to request a table (not counter) for two during a specific time. It gave us a ticket so we figured we should sit down next to the Japanese families with children and let them be amused by us for about 10 minutes before hearing our number called. The woman simply gave us a mini clipboard with our table number and a little map for how to find it and we headed on our way back to the row with table 17.
Once there, we acquainted ourselves with our surroundings. There was, of course, the long conveyor belt of sushi that ran along the wall-side of the booth, connecting the tables to one another, off of which anyone could grab whatever they like. We also figured out how to get cups for water, and how to make our own tea at the table. When we finally felt comfortable enough to start the eating process we learned how to raise the covers of the sushi plates on the belt and pull plates onto the table. We discovered that the double plates could be deconstructed and were used to calculate a plate that was worth twice as much as the normal ones. We figured out how to order things from the screen above the conveyor belt and were excitedly surprised to see those items fly to us on a second conveyor belt, above the first one. We dined in the future tonight!
After ordering several flying dishes, and grabbing several plates of sushi (only 100 yen per plate!) we were ready to end our impromptu sushi evening. We took the plates and loaded them through a hole at the end of the table, right under the conveyor belt. The screen above started to play a game and then said "Atari!" We won! A little ball came down from a prize machine and Andrew now has a tiny DragonballZ refrigerator magnet as a memento of the evening.
We had done so well with gracefully figuring everything out. A flawless evening of fascination, especially so on the part of all the many children that we there with their families and stared at us (it seemed a perfectly family oriented and friendly sort of place, perhaps not one many foreigners frequent). We intuited that we should then go up to the register with our table number clip board and they would have the tally of our plates and the items that we had ordered through the screen. So close! Lest we leave without one final awkward foreigner flourish (Andrew's words) we had neglected to push the "That's all" button on the screen after depositing our plates. They quickly and politely amended the error, as usual, and we were on our way. Well-fed, well-walked, graceful but humble. A lovely evening of impromptu adventurous dining.