Kurazushi is one of the biggest Sushi chains in Japan. “No Additives” is one of their tag lines.

They have recently updated their system, now using iPads for ordering and “fast track” was introduced which allows you to receive your sushi right away. Once you make your order on the iPad encapsulated in a clear plastic case, it shows the waiting time, usually about 3 min. Then the workers behind the wall make your Sushi and put it on the fast lane which has a special nonslip sheet on. Your Sushi then slides on the lane really fast and stops right in front of your table. After eating, you put your dishes into the dish dispenser and the slot machine above the table is activated every 5 dishes. If you win, you can get Kurazushi original character figures. All the Sushi is 70p.

What I feel is a shame about this is that even though the system itself is great fun, the workers don’t seem to be enjoying it that much. The obstacle is the boundary between the worker and customer. If there is non, we could extend the fast track lanes all over the city, into each house and enjoy Sushi all the time!


New Service: Text to Net

I came up with a service idea, does any want to make it a business? it’s a system for people who have mobile phones but don’t have internet access for security reasons or just because they cannot afford. it’s called ‘text to net’ and basically you can text to the company to ask a simple question for which you can easily find the answer online if you have the internet. after asking a question you usually get the answer within 5 min. you can charge 5p or 10p for one question and you could outsource the labour force for it e.g. using amazon mechanical turk?

Urgently Needed: Banana Multiplier

2 green bananas = 1 ripe banana

If you buy bananas in a supermarket, they are always too green to eat immediately.
So why don’t you trade your bananas with more nutritious ripe ones?
Just go to Banana Multipliers standing by the entrance of a supermarket and exchange two of your green bananas with one fully ripened banana.
Don’t worry, Banana Multipliers are working just for multiplication of bananas and nothing more. Their purpose is to multiply themselves by multiplying the number of bananas they own. 50→100→200→400→800→1600→3200→6400. The more bananas, the more Banana Multipliers are needed.
This is a new way of serving society, an example of a purely art driven job.

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In this highly rationalised world, you are not really allowed just walking around doing nothing.

So how can we legalise doing nothing in the public realm?

In another column I introduced the idea of Invisibility Meter to protect vulnerable adults from the public eye.

This time I came up with the idea of Dole Scouts, which basically allows people who want to walk around or be somewhere doing nothing to wear the same uniform just to let the public know, they don’t intend to do anything bad.

It’s an attempt to create an area which people can freely exist using a simple medium, uniform.

It would be fun if many Dole Scouts could gather and walk around together doing nothing in the same uniform.

McDonald’s is not only corrupting us?

Arriving in Tokyo by night bus at 6 o’clock in the morning, I had nowhere to go as every shop was closed. By chance I luckily got to Meiji Jingu Shrine after roaming around a bit so I stayed there until 8.30 am. You can’t hang around a shrine for more than a couple hours so I moved to Harajuku but shops were still not open yet and more than that, I was knacked after the long journey and needed a rest.

In Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities, it’s very hard to even find a toilet and if you don’t have much money, you have literally nowhere to have a rest. There is no bench or fence to sit on. In Tokyo, you have to be always smart from your clothes to behaviour and so you have to keep on walking and walking.. You are always surrounded by a tremendous number of people and too many tall grey buildings wherever you go. Especially if you have to wait for someone or something for a long time, you will become a nomad.

Being in the din and bustle of Tokyo for a while, my only yesterday’s memory of warmth I spent with my family in Nara entirely faded away, and I was staggering along a street in Harajuku and just before I was about to faint, I was given a handbill of McCafe from a young girl. I looked up, and there was a shiny McDonald’s. I whispered to myself, “Oh.. God.. I’m saved..”

I went into the McDonald’s/McCafe as I had no choice, and I had a brilliant time there. I ordered the M size of a cup of latte (¥230, about £1.77) and my coffee was made with a proper coffee machine.
I sat down at a table, and I found a double socket on it. I didn’t try but probably WIFI was available there too. I spent ¥230, but you can alternatively choose an even cheaper coffee for ¥100, about £0.77.
That McDonald’s was a three storey building and you can find even more seats upstairs and some of them are quite good seats, not like the ones in the picture. Of course there are toilets too.

I stayed there for about an hour and regained my energy. Since I got saved by McDonald’s, I was naturally looking for one wherever I was for the rest of my stay in Tokyo. As I don’t have a smart phone so when I was walking in the city looking for McDonald’s, I felt as if I was wandering in a desert looking for an oasis.

Here are two good things about McDonald’s that I rediscovered;
1. You can have the same service regardless of the rent of the place. Even in the centre of Tokyo, a cup of coffee is still ¥100 (£0.77) and it comes with a seat, socket, WIFI, and toilet.
2. The detachedness of the staff allows you to stay in a McDonald’s as long as you want. It’s 24 hours open so it even works as a shelter or safety net.

What makes McDonald’s possible to do so are their capital and infrastructure set up worldwide.

Occupy Wall Street, post-capitalist theories, I have seen so many anti-capitalism opinions recently, but last week in Tokyo, one of the centres of “capitals”, I witnessed the true potential of capitalism and I actually got saved by it.

To draw a conclusion, we shouldn’t merely avoid this firm with the hope that it will collapse, but we should rather try to re-recognise the significance of it and re-consider it in a new way to re-use it to let it have a chance to change into something better.

I cannot agree with McDonald’s about applying mass production and automation to raising and killing animals so maybe making a “dedicated” vegetarian/vegan burger could be the first step?

Slight Nuance: Invisibility Meter for vulnerable adults

In this age of chaos, you need a proper rationale to be anywhere. If you don’t have a purpose for being somewhere, you could be regarded as a criminal. To avoid that, you always need to be proving your existence.
If you cannot prove your existence good enough, you will stand out. The better you can prove your existence, the more invisible you become. If your invisibility is higher than a certain level, you won’t be noticed. If it goes down below a certain level, you could become out of place.
This invisibility has become a very important element of urban life beside anonymity. Especially if you want to be somewhere without purpose.
Children and the elderly are automatically allowed to be anywhere without purpose. However people between the age of 14 to 59 are not, especially if you are on your own.
So I did research on how you can become invisible with the most basic physical states and items. Of course your invisibility depends on the context, clothes you wear, who you are with, and even the altitude you are at. This time I set the context: urban park, clothes: casuals, being on your own and at the same altitude as everyone.

Hope this invisible meter helps you stay freer.

Weird Sensation: Grape Picking

I went to grape picking.
It cost me 1200 yen (about £9.00) and you are allowed to stay there as long as you want and eat as many grapes as you can.
When I arrived there an elderly lady told me, “You are lucky, a group of 100 people has just gone now”.
Then I was given a basket and a small pair of scissors.
There were not that many grape trees actually, but the branches were spreading all over the field. 1 tree in 3-5m.
As soon as I stood in front of all the grapes, I fell laughing my head off.
Each bunch of grapes was covered by paper with the visual of pale pink eyes, which is supposed to keep birds away from it.
My desire and expectation to eat as many grapes as possible weirdly matched with the pink eyes of grapes, which made me laugh.
Probably I felt like my greed was completely seen through by the eyes of grapes..
I could only eat two bunches of grapes in the end but I got good inspiration from the experience in the picture, so after all I guess it was worth the money.

Amazing Strategy: Petrol Station and Farm Products

I saw a petrol station selling farm products between the petrol tanks.

This allows the customers to buy rice and vegetables while they are wailing for services (in Japan some of the petrol stations are still run by people, which means staff will put petrol into your car and sometimes even wipe your car)

The visual contrast between the petrol price display above and a signboard on the ground saying, “Green Soyabeans 200 Yen” was stunning.

Petrol is about 135 yen (about £1.15) and a bag of green soyabeans is 200 yen (about £1.60) so green soyabeans are more expensive than petrol!