Videos of young people sucking up food and leaving it again at restaurants with a revolving tape set off alarms across the country.
The video lasts 48 seconds and was recorded on a Japanese chain famous for its buffet Sushi that rotates in a conveyor belt. A beardless young man licks two fingers and then he begins to handle two pieces of the small Japanese delicacy which then ends up in the mouth of another diner, oblivious to the filth committed by a boy who has not yet finished his puerile game.
A bottle of soybeans without a cap passes through his belt, which the boy takes and starts sucking the filter through which the sauce comes out. He does the same with the edges of a teacup addressed to another customer.
The video circulated in February on Twitter. It went viral on Japan, with over 40 million views. Users quickly identified the famous chain of Sushi where the culinary crime was committed: Sushiro, at the restaurant in the city of Gifu, in the center of the country.
Such was the repercussion, with customers who wrote reviews saying that they would never set foot in those restaurants again, that shares of chain parent Food & Life Companies fell 5%. But the story did not stop there. Suddenly, a handful of similar videos started circulating on social media using hashtags like #Sushitero and #Sushiterrorism.
Teenagers bathing pieces of sushi in bitter wasabi in different places. ANY licking pieces that later deposited again on the turntables of the so touristy kaitenzushi (which literally means “revolving sushi”), name given to this type of establishment where the Sushi repeatedly passes in front of the skillful and hungry chopstick hunter, who usually pays an amount at the end of the meal depending on the number of dishes he has devoured. In other stores, customers scan a QR code to choose the dishes they want, which are also deposited on the conveyor belt.
At first it was not clear whether this was a one-off hygienic incident or a nasty trend that was beginning to gain momentum and which threatened to devastate the third world economy’s traditional gustatory pleasure wheel. But after Japanese media and some major Anglo-Saxon newspapers covered the videos, These “sushi terrorists”, as they were christened on the networks, became the center of a great stir in Japan that continues to this day, even more so when the shadow of covid reappears in these Asian lands, with a new rise infections. Because in Japan, unlike most countries in the world, the authorities continue to release numbers to the public daily with the new positives.
The media hype that was given to the crimes, instead of stopping what a priori seemed isolated hooliganism, triggered the number of videos (spitting in rice, spraying sushi with hand sanitizer…) that were published on the networks from anonymous accounts, or that circulated through groups of Whatsapp of teenagers.
The police opened an investigation because the situation has reached such a point that some chains of Sushi announced that they are thinking of doing away with the famous sushi wheels. This threatens an industry, that of ‘kaitenzushi’, with an estimated value of 740,000 million yen, which in return is around 5,100 million euros.
“Could he sushi terrorism change forever the way millions of customers in Japan eat their country’s signature dish?” That’s the question asked by a Tokyo correspondent for The Guardian on Wednesday.
A Japanese web newspaper, ‘SoraNews 24’, collected responses this week like the one from the sushi chain choshimaruwhich announced that the conveyor belts of its 63 restaurants would stop and that its employees would have to serve food directly to the customer at the table.
This chain’s drastic decision came after another video in which a boy appeared in one of its restaurants went viral. putting out a cigarette in a container of pickled ginger.
The problem is so big that there are already restaurants that have announced that They go after these AI sushi terrorists. The jail Kura Sushi said last week it would soon introduce AI-powered cameras to monitor tables at its restaurants.
“The system can detect unusual customer behavior, such as removing a plate from the conveyor belt and returning it quickly,” says the statement released. “Our company has heard from a large number of customers who tell us that they no longer trust or don’t want to go to restaurants of sushi with mat”.
On Wednesday night, Japanese police reported that there arrested three people (Yoshino Ryoga, 21, and two teenagers whose names were not revealed) who posted a video on the networks where they licked a soy sauce dispenser at one of the Kura Sushi restaurants in the city of Nagoya.
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