Saturday, February 27, 2010

Contest of Gluttony: Sushi Ro 2010!

Friday night was the Contest of Gluttony in Wadayama: a night in which we descend like locusts upon a hyaku-en (100 yen is roughly one dollar) kaiten-zushi place and do all in our power to uphold the stereotype of the fat foreigner who eats everything in sight, not because he is hungry anymore, but just because it's there.

First things first. Kaiten-zushi is conveyor-belt sushi. Little plates of sushi motor by you on an endless conveyor belt. You can place special orders, but it is also perfectly common to just grab whatever looks appetizing as it goes by you. [Our favorite sushi place in town is kaiten-zushi, but the guy knows us all by now, and knows what we like to eat. He starts making it when he sees us walk in]

There is a menu, and a little intercom for the ordering. Special orders go by on little yellow props (also visible in photo, though the plates have been removed) In this case, almost all the plates are 105 with tax. In other kaiten-zushi circumstances, price is denoted by plate color. At Sushi-Ro, yellow plates means "this sushi has wasabi on it" and white plates mean it's without. You can also see little signs. The Gluttony Contest took place at a fairly big establishment, so they ride little explanatory signs in front of different sushi. At our place in town, which is much smaller, you just kind of grab and try, or you can ask the chef who is standing right there in the center most of the time.

Anyway! The plates are fairly small. On a regular night I eat about five. My maximum was an estimated seven. The contest was divided into brackets. The bottom tier ("Recreational Eaters"), including yours truly, was made up mostly of Shiso ladies (five of us) all having topped out previously at 7 or 8 plates.

Tier two, "Mid-tier Gastronomers" was for those who held records like 10 or 12 plates.

The big leagues, "Consumptive Behaviorists" was for the six people claiming anywhere between 14 and 20 plates. Our sixth (and perhaps shortest) Shiso lady (the cat JET) found herself in this bracket, amongst the big boys.

We're just here recreationally. Yes that is corn sushi. It was good, too.

I can't speak for the other tables; things were leisurely at our baby-bracket table as we selected and enjoyed various sushi treats. When I turned around to say what up to the consumptive behaviorists behind me, their plate stacks were already small towers.



The Cat is going strong! (9:03)

My strategy had to do with eating all day long before the contest and drinking lots of water and/or caffeinated beverages. I was hearkening back to Thanksgiving 2008, when I just remember eating more than anyone (including me!) expected me to eat. Maybe it worked, or I maybe I really needn't have worried.. although I also should not have forgotten that when merely permitted, and not even pressured, I can eat at least three desserts.

Yours truly won the lower bracket with 14 plates. I might have been able to have more, but that would have been needless; I'd already won!

Clearly my strategy also involved drinking lots of water throughout the contest.

Plus, 14 seemed an oddly appropriate number to stop with. I'd worn my Heckleball t-shirt because I wanted to 'intimidate the competition' with the scary skull on the front side.

Yes, that is my power hat on top of my head. And sweatpants, for stretchability. How could I lose?

Here, the big leagues do dessert.

I love the facial expression on The Cat JET.

But Big Brother JET is actually the winner of the upper bracket, eating (and keeping down) an unbelievable 31 plates.

Mirijet laughs at our poor aching Cat Jet, who topped at 27.

Bracket one winners, honorable mentions, and their foodbabies.

Big-eaters table, all said and done.

Overall, it was a ridiculous experience. Do I still love sushi? Yes! Would I recommend this activity to anyone at all, ever? No! Especially not those who are super competitive. The sushi restaurant made a pretty penny and we made for a lot of stuffed, sickish ferners.

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