Mr. Sato goes mad with sushi power as he buys an ultra-luxurious sushi take-out set at one of Tokyo’s fanciest department stores.

In broad terms, you can sort sushi in Japan into three classes. One is kaitenzushi, the relatively inexpensive kind that circles around on conveyer belts in casual revolving sushi restaurants. The second category is sushi served at non-revolving restaurants, which means higher prices but also ostensibly higher-quality fish. But then there’s the third group: take-out sushi.

Sometimes, take-out sushi is a bargain, getting you a whole meal for just a few hundred yen. Other times, though, you’ll need to open your wallet a bit wider, which brings us to SoraNews24 reporter Mr. Sato. Recently, Mr. Sato stepped out of the office to get lunch in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood. It had been a tough morning, with Mr. Sato once again putting the full powers of his brain to work looking for new ways to push the envelope of his particular (and peculiar) brand of journalism, and so he felt he’d earned the right to treat himself to something special.

That’s how he ended up at Isetan, one of Tokyo’s swankiest department stores. Like most Japanese department stores, Isetan’s basement level is a giant food department, and Mr. Sato found himself in front of a booth from sushi provider Sushi Sho. Like we said, Mr. Sato was looking to reward himself, and so his eyes were drawn to the most luxurious take-out sushi set on offer…

…which was priced at 10,800 yen (US$100)!

The set was called Houou, or “Phoenix,” and it did look mythically delicious. Still, 10,800 yen would be a hefty one-person bill at even a fancy sushi restaurant, and it’s astronomical for take-out sushi.

And so, naturally, Mr. Sato ended up buying the luxurious set. He claims that the purchase was completely involuntary, with his body acting on its own accord despite his logic sensors’ best efforts to stay his hand before it could hand over the payment (an excuse we’ve heard from him before). Now that he’d actually bought it, though, the only sensible thing left to do was to eat it.

While it would probably be going too far to call a 10,800-yen sushi set a good value, the Houou does give you a lot of sushi. In addition to 20 pieces of nigiri-style sushi, you also get to choose what type of norimaki (sushi roll) you’d like, and Mr. Sato opted for negitoro (minced fatty tuna with green onions).

Even among the pieces you don’t get to choose, Sushi Sho doesn’t stick you with a bunch of cheap ingredients. Mr. Sato decided to start at the top of the sushi decadence pyramid with a piece of otoro, extra-fatty tuna, prized for its buttery consistency and rich flavor.

As he raised his chopsticks towards his mouth, Mr. Sato couldn’t help thinking “Man, I can’t believe I spent 10,800 yen on this,” but once the sushi touched his taste buds…

…such worries washed away, and were replaced with a singular, absolute truth:


Other premium morsels included kinmedai (red sea bream)…

ikura (salmon roe)…

…and uni (sea urchin).

So while Mr. Sato’s wallet may not have been particularly happy with the lunch plan, his stomach certainly was, especially since the 20-plus pieces of sushi both satisfied his palate and filled his belly to extreme extents. If you’re having trouble justifying such an extravagant take-out meal, the large number of pieces means you could conceivably buy the extra-luxurious Houou to share with someone else, but looking at Mr. Sato’s blissful expression as he polished off the entire thing by himself, in the end he had no lasting regrets, only the beautiful memory of a fantastic lunch.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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