Sake Gumi

One of my favorites ways to unwind after a long five-day week in salaryman hell is to gorge on supermarket sushi on a Friday night.

If I am lucky enough to be done at work at 6pm, I rush out of Ginza to make it back to my neighborhood supermarket in Shimokitazawa just before 7:00:00pm. Peacock is my supermarket of choice for sushi. The fish is fresh and the turn over is rapid since it is located right in front of the station.

The beauty of their fish department is that precisely at 7pm they mark down all of their sashimi and sushi 50%. Therefore, starting from 6:30pm you can find a troop of Japanese women loitering around the fish market butchers like it's the half-yearly sale at Mervyn's. And sometimes, on a given Friday night, I am also in that bunch.

As soon as the second hand hits 00:00 on the 19th hour of the day, it's madness. The fish boys come around with their Half Price stickers, slapping them on at lightening speed. Women two-thirds the height of me usually get my sympathy for being so cute, but not in this situation. They have full advantage over me on the 19th hour, as they are closer to the low fridge cases that hold the jewels of mercury goodness.

I am usually successful in grabbing my top choices as it ends up that there's plenty of half-priced sushi until about 19:10. The key is to eye your choices before 19:00:00.

Here were my choices:

Three fish sashimi set

Buri (Yellow Tail), Hon Maguro (Blue Fin Tuna), and Hou Bou (Blue Fin Robin). Marked down from 780yen to 390yen. The buri was absolutely gorgeous and melted in my mouth! Buri is especially amazing when the waters are cold (i.e. in the winter) - tends to be supremely fatty.

Sushi a la carte.
I don't like tamago, so I had to leave that be, but everything else was very delicious. I am a sucker for rice but I believe that most establishments in America use too much rice. This rice was a bit too densely packed for my taste - but supermarket sushi even in Japan often tends to be packed tight. Regardless, well worth it for 390yen!

I biked home with my 790yen (approx. $7.90) total feast of sushi and sashimi and chowed down while watching the January 20th versions of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report online. I had arrived in heaven (President Obama, Stephen and half-price sushi) after a long week of salaryman hell.


  • Mercury Heaven?

    Phew, my mouth is watering after this well written blog post and I have to seriously tie myself to the desk with a leather belt unless I want to go freako and bike down to my local sushi pusher and spend my pocket money and more. What you succeded to fork down into your basket from these low fridge feast cases would cost at least $70 here in CPH if not more. And the quality would not be reflected in that pricetag.

    When will we see you reviewing restaurents for NYT or the San Fran Cronic?

    Anders on


    kayoko on

  • Ha, well we both need to learn how to sail before then as you might remember I dumped the Sailing Guy ;-)
    And no sushi for you here in CPH, that would be an insult to fish when we both lived in Japan and had the REAL thing.
    I’ll feed you some Leverpostej instead:

    Anders on

  • Well, I’ll have to see the $70 sushi for myself when I plan to go to CPH in April. I want to eat chocolate with you off the Danish coast on a sailboat.

    yoko on

  • Yamahomo -

    HAHAHA! Yeah, I was too lazy that day to import it into Photoshop and flip the image. Sorry.

    I need to get a digital camera. I am seriously using the my iBook “Photobooth” application more than I should. It just seems wrong.

    yoko on

  • ha, i love it! you took a picture of it with your laptop? good eye Yama!

    kayoko on

  • Um Yoko, please have the picture on the right side. Us Japanese can read the language and your pics are inside out, honey. I will never try half off sushi in NYC, but I will totally go for it any supermarket in Japan.

    Yamahomo on

  • Omg I just read these comments!! Photobooth photography!

    Sonja on

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