Postado em segunda-feira, 13 de março de 2023 08:40

Japan’s restaurant scene is under threat from a wave of hygiene incidents caused by customers.


This sounds bad. Are people lobbing nigiri and planting sushi rice bombs?

It’s worse than that. Sushi terrorism is the practice of customers spoiling the food at conveyor belt restaurants by touching and interfering with dishes as they pass by.

That’s gross. Interfering how?

Videos circulating on social media have shown instances including one person licking a soy sauce bottle on a sushi conveyor and another squashing sushi dishes at branch of the Kura Sushi restaurant chain. It is thought that these aren’t isolated incidents, either, with other examples including someone placing a cigarette butt in a jar of pickled ginger.

Is it just a problem in Japan?

So far instances of terrorism have been documented only in Japan, but that’s not to say it couldn’t — or hasn’t — happened over here. Sushi chain YO! uses conveyor belts at its restaurants as do other restaurants, including K10 in London and Moshi Moshi in Brighton and they will be at pains to ensure that their food is not tampered with. As will Japanese noodle group Marugame Udon, which makes use of a communal condiments section where customers help themselves to sauces and toppings.

What’s being done about it?

So serious is the matter that three arrests have so far been made in Japan, including a a 21-year-old who is alleged to have drunk from a communal soy sauce bottle alongside two people arrested for allegedly helping share a video that showed him placing a soy sauce bottle in his mouth. It is hoped that the long arm of the law will be a suitable deterrent for other would-be terrorists.

So, what next?

The incidents have not only brought into focus the ease at which some restaurant food can be tampered with (any venue that has communal condiments or those that remain all times on the table, for example) but beg the question how long has this been going on before someone decided to film themselves doing it?

Is this the death of the sushi conveyor belt?

Who knows. Conveyor belt sushi restaurants are an established part of Japan’s restaurant scene, but they very much rely on the honesty and integrity of customers in order to function successfully. Now that this integrity has been called into question some restaurants have taken evasive action by bringing their sushi conveyor belts to a halt and taking orders the more traditional way and only offering condiments to people once they have taken their seats. Kura Sushi is also to start using cameras equipped with artificial intelligence to monitor customers’ tables, according to the Guardian. When it comes to eat sushi, Big Brother might soon be watching you.


by Stefan Chomka | Big Hospitality