I’m doing my part!

At the end of January, the world of conveyor belt sushi was shaken when a teenager licked a bottle of soy sauce, drinking cups, and possibly other items also used by other customers. Sadly, it wasn’t the first such incident and despite happening only a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t even the last such incident, but it seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and sent restaurant chains into damage-control mode.

The restaurant involved in the licking incident, Sushiro, has since taken the rather extreme measure of taking the “revolving” (kaiten) out of “revolving sushi” (kaitenzushi) and relying only on the express conveyor belt which sends orders directly to customers’ tables.

▼ One of many Sushiro locations

The young man involved has since been dealing with the legal and social fallout of his actions and has even dropped out of his high school so as not to drag it into the media circus that has developed around him. While he comes to grips with his own accountability, there’s still the issue of a lot of people having become too grossed out to go to chains like Sushiro.

To help, a growing number of Japanese celebrities have come out in support of Sushiro and voluntarily went there on “patrol” to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. Super-mega-ultra famous YouTuber Hajime Shacho is believed to have been the first, tweeting that he was “on patrol” almost immediately after the incident occurred.


He was followed by super-mega famous YouTuber Hikaru, whose team was all business keeping an eye out for anti-social behavior while munching on sushi.

“On Sushiro Patrol for three days. It’s a pleasure to eat delicious sushi every day.”

Meanwhile, YouTuber/musician Pokekamen kept a low profile while on sushi stakeout.

“I’m on Sushiro patrol too.”

Around the same time, musician/YouTuber DJ Shacho, or Repezen Foxx, paid Sushiro a visit of support.

“I want to save Sushiro.”

While these kinds of antics are not unheard of among YouTubers, the trend of patrolling Sushiro restaurants began to expand beyond that realm of celebrity and into others. Comedian and TV personality Kazutoyo Koyabu also posted his patrol on Instagram on 4 February.

“I went with the intention of patrolling to see if there were any bad guys, but I got hooked on the food because it was too good! Miso soup, french fries, and corn sushi all in one place.” 

Rogue mascot Chiitan also came out in support of Sushiro by doing a little dance in front of one location, presumably because her head couldn’t fit through the door.

“It’s a dream to not have to worry about pocket money and eat all I want at Sushiro. I’ll cheer you on with an all-inclusive fairy dance.”

And on 6 February, Takafumi Horie posted his own 28-minute Sushiro patrol on his YouTube channel. Horie is nicknamed “Horiemon” for his resemblance to the anime cat robot Doraemon and could be considered Japan’s Elon Musk in that he’s rich, talks a lot, and does stuff with rockets.

As he puts down plates of 100-yen (US$0.76) sushi, Horie remarks, “It’s enjoyable. Even though I go to sushi restaurants that charge 50,000 yen ($380) per person, I didn’t get all like ‘Sushiro? No thanks.’ But if it hadn’t been for the licking incident, I wouldn’t have thought to come here.”

There was even a surprise tweet by Ippan Shadan Hojin World Smile, an organization that provides ways for people to earn incomes in impoverished and war-torn areas. Rather than being forced into unethical lines of work, such as being a mercenary, due to economic circumstances, people in such areas can earn money by making “surprise videos” for people in Japan. It really doesn’t get more surprising than sudden birthday greetings from a bunch of people in Zambia, and Sushiro was equally taken aback by a show of support from the other side of the world.

This outpouring of support to help Sushiro overcome some kid licking their stuff has warmed the hearts of many online, though some remain skeptical that their actions are little more than attempts to get attention.

“But remember it’s not just Sushiro.”
“This is some nice, warm news for a change.”
“I passed by Sushiro the other day and the parking lot was full.”
“Revolving sushi activism by celebrities. Nice.”
“It seems like the YouTubers are just jumping on a trending topic, but since it helps Sushiro it’s a win-win.”
“Sushiro is now the place to be for anyone who wants social media engagement.”
“Even if it is in self-interest, it’s still helping and better than doing nothing.”
“Maybe someone can do something bad in a gyoza restaurant so I can go support them.”

A lot of people would blame social media as the main catalyst that gives rise to problems like the licking incident, in that people do outrageously stupid things in an attempt to get the attention of their peers. On the other hand, there are also those that do really nice things on social media but sometimes for the same shallow purpose. Whether this is intrinsically good or not is up for debate but at the very least it acts as a counterbalance for the purely awful stuff.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to do a sweep of my local Lawson and then patrol Taco Bell to make sure no one licks the Dr. Pepper fountain.

Source: Twitter/#スシローを救いたい, Sponichi Annex, My Game News Flash
Photos ©SoraNews24
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