Manhattan, September 27, 2007 - After my Spanish class at NYU (to which was nearly late because a Barack Obama rally in Washington Square park meant I had to walk the long way around), I walked to the new Whole Foods on Houston Street, looking for a quick bite to eat. I found it upstairs at Sushiya. You sit at the counter, and plates of sushi and other items glide by on a magnetic track. Pick the ones you want to eat, stack the plates (which are color-coded by price) when they're empty, and pay when you're done.
It's a neat gimmick; a woman sitting at the counter (one of only two other people at the counter at the time) says she'd seen this in Amsterdam before, but it was my first encounter with something like this. To me, it seems like something that might be common in Tokyo. The whole two lonely people in a mostly-empty weirdly-lit vaguely futuristic sushi joint somehow gave off a "Lost In Translation" vibe. I suppose we could have spent a chaste night singing karaoke and filming whiskey commercials, but I simply ate four plates and left to go to a nearby bar.
The bar was tiny, modernly designed, and empty except for a friend who was bartending. And then she had to leave for a few minutes, leaving me in charge and completely alone, watching a soundless episode of "Who's The Boss" over the bar. Which was even more surreal than the sushi conveyor belt. Then she came back, having changed into her space camp jump suit, and soon afterwards a few more of her friend showed up, one in deely boppers and one in a track suit with miniature lights sewn in. "The Wonder Years" came on the TV and another guy and I had a conversation about our crushes on Winnie Cooper.
Maybe I was in my own quirky independent film adventure after all? Well, she had invited people to the bar for her birthday (which was three weeks earlier), and told everyone that there was a space theme, but I was lame and came as a guy who shopped at Banana Republic. (The first Banana Republic on Mars, maybe?) She made us a great lemon drop shot, I had one more drink, then I went home early because it was a work night. Stupid work. It always gets in the way of my quirky independent film adventures.
(Oh, by the way, the sushi was sadly not that great, and a bit pricey for what you got. It's worth a look, at least. More photos here, here, and here.)