Video from the Sushi's Perspective

I'm a big fan of kaiten-zushi, a form of sushi restaurant in which patrons sit at a bar around a conveyer belt. On the conveyer belt, endless small plates of sushi proceed past the diners -- which tends to put the diners in a sort of zoned-out mode, just staring as infinite food arrives. When a diner sees something he likes, he grabs the plate. At the end of the meal, his plates are counted and a total cost tabulated (plates are typically color-coded by price, ranging from $1 - $3 or more). My local kaiten-zushi place also has a competitive eating competition called "Plate Champion," in which diners win prizes for consuming huge quantities of sushi, and stacking up the plates. Proud photos of guys with their plate-stacks adorn the walls. (I, sadly, am not a Plate Champion.)

Several videos on YouTube show the keiten-zushi process from the sushi's perspective. It's a simple idea -- just put your camera on a plate, put it back on the conveyer belt, and watch as it takes its trip around the belt, through the kitchen, and back to you. Here's one such video making the rounds (from Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan):

Watch as people stare at the camera, make the Peace sign, smile or frown at it, ignore it, and so on. My favorite part is when the camera enters the kitchen and is temporarily removed from the conveyer belt as kitchen staff discuss what to do with it. One commenter on Boing Boing translated the kitchen portion of the video. Check out the link for the full translation; here are my favorite bits:

Kitchen staffer #1(glasses)- "Huh? What's this? There's a camera going round." Other lady off camera- "what's wrong?" 3rd lady, laughing- "hey- it's ok on a blue plate! (as if she's saying cameras are a blue plate special item, lol)"

Walking with plate- "Coffee jelly for #30!" RINGS BELL: "We're in trouble." Sushi chefs come. Lady: "This was going around and taking video..." Sushi chef- "Ah, this, it's probably a customer's. Umm, it's a foreigner." Lady- "they put it out (on here)?" Chef- "Yeah, they tried putting it out, to take (a video). Of the, er, of the scenery."

More keiten-zushi videos are on YouTube.

(Via, via Boing Boing.)

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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