30/05/2015

Social Anxiety, I'll Shoyu!!*

**Shoyu = soysauce in Japanese yes it was a brilliant pun that I didn't just steal from a post I saw on Yik Yak Japan.



I have no problem eating alone at a restaurant. I do it often and I find it more convenient than eating with a friend when I just want a quick bite.
But, I think I've mentioned this before, I cannot eat alone in super local restaurants. In Japan, they have so many cultural norms that aren't blatantly spelt out for ignorant gaijin like me, especially when it comes to eating. Some restaurants have signs that tell you what to do, like if you need to put your tray in a designated spot after you're done, there will be a big arrow pointed to the place near the dishwashing station.
But there are some restaurants that aren't as Sabeezy-friendly, where I'm just utterly clueless as to what is happening and my mind is racing as soon as I step in with things like "where do I sit" "who do I talk to to get a table" "Is anyone else sitting alone or is it just me" "Oh god do I need to have a friend why is everyone eating with a friend do I look like a loser" all simultaneously, which makes me more stupid and unaware of my surroundings and makes me feel on the spot.


That's why I usually tend to avoid the sushi restaurants, yakitori restaurants, and the restaurants run by little old Japanese ladies in traditional uniform because I'd most likely be the only gaijin there and they are usually intimate and small, which leads me to believe everyone is watching my every move (they're not). In these restaurants you sit directly in front of the chef at the bar (for sushi and yakitori) when you eat alone which is my worst nightmare. I get so nervous ordering food that sometimes when I'm unsure of what I'm saying, I speak so quietly that the waitress needs to ask me again what I said, which makes me think I said something wrong and oh god what did I say did I pronounce something weirdly did I offend her family--when in reality it was because she could barely hear me.

But after a long day of studying in the university library last Thursday, I was super craving sushi so I decided to go and get some at this one restaurant in Shinjuku station, where I thought since the restaurants around it were one of those gaijin-friendly, solo dolo quick eats restaurant, the sushi restaurant had to be too.

 Well I was wrong. It as an intimate sushi restaurant and because I was alone, I got to sit front and centre of a sushi chef. I decided it would be an interesting thing to blog about so I ~tried~ to take some photos of my view and I came up with the photo above. I tried so hard to press the shutter while the sushi chef was standing up but anxiety got the best of me and I waited 'till he crouched over to take a photo. Baby steps. That's him in the hat.


Don't be too impressed with this photo, I took this with my Silent camera app.
I ordered a chirashi zushi set and this was the chef making it!


Chawan mushi, a savoury steamed egg custard dish. It had a ginko bean, a mushroom, and squid at the bottom.


Usually I don't eat raw scallops but in this particular bowl I did because they weren't as rich as regular scallops! 


It came with salmon miso soup.


And that was my Thursday sushi adventure! It was definitely an adventure for me because it took a lot of peptalks to myself from myself about how I need to grow some balls and be less embarrassing and awkward around strangers. It was somewhat nerve wracking, especially when I couldn't find the soy sauce and I needed to call a waitress (another fear of mine because I don't think I pronounce it correctly) but hey, I got really yummy sushi out of it!
Social Anxiety: 0, Sabeezy: 1

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