First Evening


After finishing my dinner break, I came downstairs and walked into the sushi bar. It was close to six o’clock, and there were some customers in the restaurant.

“I finished my break. What should I do now?” I asked Toshi.

“Why don’t you stand behind us and keep on eye on what we do. You can look at this sushi menu and learn about our rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. If you have any questions, just let us know,” Toshi said to me with almost no facial expression. Gosh, he seemed so unfriendly, I thought.

“Really? That’s is? That’s all I do for the rest of the evening, to stand here and do nothing but watch you guys work?” I thought but did not say that to Toshi or Jun.

The orders came in through a printer that was on the back shelf of the sushi bar. That was also where they kept all the plates, so every time they got an order in, they turned back and grabbed a plate or two. The printed made a sound like a smaller version of an old computer printer with holes in the paper. Jun reached out and grabbed the ticket and placed it on top of the sushi case. Toshi and Jun both looked at the ticket for a second, then Toshi said,

“Well, Jun-chan, you can do this order by yourself.”

Jun nodded and quickly turned around and grabbed a medium size plate from the shelf and placed the plate on top of the sushi case.

Jun picked up a sheet of nori and grabbed the stainless rice warmer lid. He then wet his hands and picked up some sushi rice he prepped this afternoon. He quickly spread the rice over the nori, sprinkled some sesame seeds, then flipped over and placed some crab, cucumber, and avocado. He reached for a bamboo rolling mat, makisu and gave a gentle squeeze after placing it over the California Roll. Then, removed the mat and cut the roll into six pieces with his knife.

It was my first time paying close attention to the making of the California Roll.

The whole process did not seem so complicated at all. It probably took Jun less than a minute to make one roll. I did not think it was easy but never thought it would be super difficult.

Just like California Roll, Jun made another roll: Spicy Tuna. Spicy tuna only had cucumber and no avocado. To make Spicy Tuna, the difference was to use spicy tuna mix instead of crab mix and the rest was the same: grab rice, spread, sesame, flip, filling, roll and cut. Even though Jun had been there for three months, he seemed to be relaxed and doing quite all right.

Jun finished his order, then picked up the plate with his tickets, and placed the plate on top of the small counter behind the wall by the sushi bar, so that waitress could pick it up. Jun did not ring the bell, or said “Order ready,” in loud voices, as I heard in some other Japanese restaurants.

“Don’t you say anything?” I asked Jun.

“No, no need to say anything. Once we finish the order, all we have to do is put the plate with the ticket. The ticket is very important. That is the only thing they will see and check to make sure we have every order on the plate. It not they are supposed to tell us. Just to makes sure to double check the order to make sure you make everything.”


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