Kaitenzushi Camera


An ingenious non-Japanese patron uses her camera at a kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant, catching glimpses of the various Japanese customers and their reactions.

The restaurant in the video is located in Tomakomai, Hokkaido.

An older video from 2006. This one is located in Asakusa, Tokyo.

Via Danny Choo‘s.

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  • +1

    Too much “Privacy” just severs the links between people. If everybody respected the privacy of others and didn’t approach or confront others. Then their wouldn’t even be something called friends in the world. After all, when you first met them, one of you approached the other and disturbed his “privacy.”

    I agree that as long as no harm done, this kind of horse play is fine if not funny.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am totally surprised at the negative reactions of the board members here regarding the privacy issue. Any one of those people, if they had been offended, could easily and simply have tossed a napkin over the camera before it reached them and voided the whole issue. The fact that none of them even attempted to preserve their privacy when they clearly and simply could have done so implies a consent to being filmed.

    It’s like being at a wedding. If you see someone taking copious amounts of pictures and you don’t want your photo to be taken, you tell the photographer. If you don’t inform the photographer, then you have consented to being photographed. No consent form is really required. That’s why you see so many wedding film bloopers on TV. Do you really and seriously think the photographer went out and got the consent of EVERY person in the video before submitting it to the TV show?

    Films and photos shot on a street don’t have that immediacy of reaction, hence the requirement that the people’s faces be blurred. You can’t, the moment you see someone a hundred feet (30 meters) away filming you, rush over and block them from taking your picture. That’s too much to expect someone to do, hence the courts have repeatedly sided with people who were filmed without their consent.

    And considering the quantity of cameras in Japan, I’m sure this issue has been hashed out already, thus no real invasion of privacy has taken place.

    Now, morally, whether she should have done this is another issue.

    • It’s not that simple, the Japanese aren’t into confrontations, and a camera suddenly appearing, aimed at you, is confronting. Who’s watching the conveyer belt constantly? There wouldn’t be time to throw a napkin over it, and at the same time I imagine noone would want to interfere with it (how do you know it’s recording you?).

      Having read all these comments, there’s a lot of social subtleties to take into account. As has been said *so* many times already, society has certain expectations. Candid photography in Japan isn’t really acceptable, whereas in the US people generally seem cool with it. And don’t conflate this with Big Brother and CCTV cameras everywhere, that’s not the same thing (though it’s related).

      My lawyer friend tells me that here in Australia we don’t actually have any real laws that protect against “invasion of privacy” (I haven’t grilled him about the specifics). That’s not really the issue though, I think the social acceptability is far more important.

      And bloody hell, based on these comments, can’t I visit any other country in the world without some bastard stealing my camera if I put it down for five seconds?

      • Zelgadis4tw says:

        It’s not necessarily that bad, it’s just that you shouldn’t expect to keep your camera if you do something like this. Keeps the disappointment of having actually been stolen reduced.

  • Anonymous says:

    How uptight and how miserable and unsatisfied do you have to be to say “A camera is an invasion of my privacy in a public place and it better not end up on the internet!”

    I guess family reunion pictures and graduation pictures must have the photographer sign a waiver to not post pictures on internet. Or said pictures will have several faces blurred out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I liked the second video a bit more. It seemed the reactions were more along the lines of surprised humor on the most part. It was rather rude of them to do, of course but I don’t see how anyone was really hurt by it.

    I could see a lot worse things to get angry over. I can imagine the same act in america would get a lot different reactions, its kind of refreshing to see how a different culture reacts to these sort of events yet still remains distinctly human. The reactions are still normal if different. It shows to me that despite people being different, we are still in the end the same.

  • Actually, he said “Gaijin-san”. I find it amusing, that he’d use gaijin (outsider) instead of gaikokujin (foreigner), which is generally disrespectful, but then append “-san”…

  • I heard the dude who told the woman to put it back on the conveyor belt say “gaijin” (foreigner).

    Typical gaijin.

    Anyway I quite enjoyed that, I’ve never seen a Japanese sushi bar before so it was very educational.

    And it turns out, the Japanese are real people! I saw some in this vid.

  • i appreciate all of the arguments developed herein.

    it’s been very interesting reading everyone’s reactions. also nice to see artefact raising a gentle fist in defensive anger.

    all i want to say, however, is that this is an incredibly delightful video. in FACT, from a point of view of cinema verite, it is fantastic.

    say whatever you want beyond that. mazel tov. this is a FANTASTIC video and i’m thrilled it exists.

    no need to be anal. all of us will die someday. in the meantime, this is wonderful.

  • Anonymous says:

    this is pretty horrible. can’t someone eat their fucking rice-sandwiched-with-fish-of-which-japanese-people-calls-them-sushi in peace? even for a dumb prank this is just plain tasteless.

  • Anonymous says:

    sushi-vision! now we know wat a sushi’s POV is

    @5:24 1st lady: WTH!?
    2nd lady: thats not mine!
    1st lady: looks delish!
    2nd lady: lets put it on rice see if it’ll sell!



  • Solidarity says:

    I’d be pretty pissed if I was randomly filmed like that, total disrespect for others privacy. When I’m om noming some delicious food I can’t stand other people watching me >_>

    And Artefact, you have quite the temper it seems, fucking turns me on.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think its ridiculous that anyone who is in a public setting consent or not should get offended by being filmed private property that’s a different story.

    This kind of behavior not only shows how prudish you people are it also shows that you didn’t watch the video’s very well most of the responses were shocked but not offended and some were slightly bemused and actually enjoyed this little creative type of filming.

    I’d also like to point out in the second movie that most of the people in the restaurant were laughing about it or even making joke including the chefs.

    If you don’t ever want to be filmed or taken picture of then stay inside your house where it is safe from the mean old person with a video camera or otherwise you have no right to complain.

    with that said I rather enjoyed these video’s and thought them to be quite creative.

    P.S. sorry for the double post but I had to fix some errors in my comment and didn’t know how.

    • You’re missing the point – the uploader published their reactions to millions of people on YouTube, without securing their consent, and they were not just in the background either. There are actually laws against this sort of thing in many places.

      If someone took your photo and then used it in a nationwide advertisement for condoms or some such, you might well be unhappy at the fact. I doubt the reaction would be positive if they knew what was to be done with it.

      • Anonymous says:

        yes but this wasn’t a condom advertisement was it or in any other way defamatory or degrading of the subjects filmed and I doubt they would give a care.

        although Japanese people are very traditional they still have a good sense of humor.

        I was visiting japan probably around the time the older video was shot.

        I mean I’m pretty sure that the people in those restaurants weren’t so insecure that they’d actually sue said filmers.

        It would be ridiculous to ask all those people for a waver signature I’m just saying that I think your taking a creative non-harmful humorous and good-natured molehill and turning it into a mountainous heap of BAWWW! you get what I mean?

        not saying that what she did was right but Jesus people

        • I would have thought the editor is the most important position on any content based site. There is no “mere” about it.

          It’s not hypocritical at all. We have never actively violated anyone’s privacy for the sake of an article. If no one ever took these videos, we wouldn’t make our own and post them. Since I am criticising the people who take such uncouth action as making them in the first place, not those who merely redistribute them (like YouTube), I don’t see any problem.

          Also, I think there is a difference between publishing the names of criminals and merely publishing relatively innocuous videos and photos.

          This site does not reflect my tastes and proclivities. Just as with any news source, it must reflect someone’s opinions, and of course those would be mine, or else my opinion of what would be best to present to the audience. News is something people make up to sell papers and generate hits, not a naturally occurring resource.

        • No apparently you missed what I was getting at.

          You mainly just edit the articles but I still can’t post anything until you take action. Don’t try to say your role here is merely editing. You’ve no reason to hide the fact you only care about getting hits. You’ve even mentioned it here in the comments before.

          Complaining about how they’re a breach of privacy but then using them for your own site to get hits is hypocritical of you. You honestly couldn’t care less about the privacy of the people in these videos which is why I find your behavior so odd. You once told me this site is not meant to reflect your own opinions so why are so you so determined to defend them anyway? The same could be said for myself but I do not own this website and am actually trying to argue my honest opinion here. Something I do to kill time.

          Saying the damage has already been done is a weak excuse. If you want to use that argument, then there isn’t any reason why we couldn’t put the names of criminals up on the site. If their name is already listed in the original article then hasn’t the damage already been done? Listing the names wouldn’t matter as this is a site aimed at an English-speaking audience who wouldn’t have a clue as to who these individuals are. It wouldn’t make any real difference if we listed their names here. Our readers don’t care who their names are, just what sort of crimes they’ve committed.

          If the website is not meant to reflect your personal opinions, then stop voicing your opinion on it. If it was anyone else I would just ignore it but in this case it’s the person who owns the website that I’m voluntarily devoting my time to for little if any personal gain. I’m interested to see if you have a counter-argument for this that doesn’t involve you telling me I misunderstood/misinterpreted things as that seems to be your excuse every single time. Apparently whenever I’ve got a problem with your opinion I’m always the one who is wrong.

        • What you mean to say is that I am occupying the position of editor here.

          And as usual you misinterpret things – the problem here is creating the videos and publishing them in the first place. If they are on YouTube or 2ch the damage is already done and putting them up here is meaningless. The same is true of those badly censored upskirt galleries we have here. Actually taking those photos and upping them would be another level.

          Also, did you ever stop to think why we almost never publish the names of criminals?

        • Don’t take Artefact seriously. He’d be a hypocrite if he actually meant all of this. Anything I or Quen write has to have his final seal of approval before it actually gets posted on Sankaku. Even though Quen and I are contributors Artefact is the only one actually “posting” material.

          So in short, I did find these vids but they would not have found their way onto this web site without his permission.

  • An interesting/amusing idea but I would find it a nuisance if I was working there. I would honestly think “Fuck, another gaijin asshole doing retarded shit in my shop.” This goes both ways, of course. I worked in a convenience store in Waikiki (ABC Stores, for any of you in the know) and I hated it when customers (obviously usually tourists) did stupid stuff in my store. I really couldn’t say anything to them about it, of course. (No old ladies from Osaka, I will not give you a deal because I can’t. =|)

  • Anonymous says:

    I remember Tom Green doing the same thing on an old MTV special, only he sent a vibrator on the plate along the conveyor with his camera and a walkie talkie, saying, “I’m a dildo!” into the other walkie talkie

  • Anonymous says:

    The fact people posting here immediately start considering the possible legal ramifications and what it meant for the bystander’s privacy makes me a bit envious of the Japanese. No wonder they constantly make fun of the west’s legal culture in anime.

    Did you just.. FILM ME FOR A FEW SECONDS??? I’ll sue your ass.

    • You don’t know what you’re talking about. Japan has much tighter restrictions on using people’s likenesses in photos than the west. The vast majority of public shots have people’s faces mosaiced out. It is generally frowned upon to randomly photograph people (for publication).

      And to the other anon, in most legal systems you have certain rights to privacy even in public… Not that a restaurant is quite the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah… I ‘ve never understood why poeple believe they have some kind of right to privacy when THEY ARE OUT IN PUBLIC.

      I sometimes worry if people are in my vacation photos and will come after me if I dare to share them.

    • I don’t quite get it with the privacy thing… before I read the comments,I was thinking that the one who filmed it, did it out of clean conscience. In other places where people are sensitive about privacy, before they film they think about someone else privacy. While here, most of do it out of good conscience, where in one think it’s fun and educational, where no “harm” are meant to be done. In your case, maybe you live in place privacy is sensitive, that this kinds of actions makes you rage. I believe that the one who filmed it did not do anything wrong and did not meant to do any harm…

      I find it difficult to understand your violent reactions towards this issue. but I might find this chance to find out your views when I get out of Asia…

    • Anonymous says:

      I think doing this is incredibly rude to the customers. I mean, what if some guy is there with his Mistress relaxing and having sushi and then his wife sees it on Youtube?

      I think a rash of these sushi belt videos are copycats of this one which is kinda of artsy and has pretty good music:

      Lost in a Moment – Tokyo

      These kind of incidents feeds that “Monster Gaikokujin” article in SPA you posted a few days back.

        • post-internet… privacy IS DEAD

          (I have only tested this in the United States)
          You do realize that as long as someone has your name (If you are over 18) and guessing from where they met you, they can get your current address, all previous addresses you have lived at, your phone number, whose related to you and their information, and so on?

          They can even dig up where you work and your salary. Plug that address into google maps and they can even get a picture of your house and directions to it.

          All you need to know is where to look on the internet.

          There are also sites that will give you information about a person’s work and criminal record. They are geared towards employers wanting to check the records of employees.

          An IP Address will give the general location. IF you tell me your name, all I have to do is search up people of your name living in that general location. Usually there won’t be more then one or two people living in a general region with the same name.

          Post internet… privacy IS DEAD

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea, we are expected to get everyone who is even glimpsed on camera to sign a release form if we do any filming for my A-level.

      On a lighter note, I was expecting them to be slicing up some Panda in the kitchen.

      The conversation went something like “Oh shit, a camera, hide the ‘specials’.
      “Don’t worry about it, it belongs to a customer.”

        • ManaYagami says:

          I understand your point, but there are a lot of pictures and videos on the internet with people that didn’t gave their consent. I think that it should be only considered as something bad in the case that someone uses the actual footage/picture on a way that would offend the people that were a part of it.

        • It’s fun. I enjoyed that video. It was educational… first kaitenzushi I’ve ever seen with a childcare corner. If I’m not mistaken those were feeding rooms next to the playcorner.

          Sadly the video is also: Invasion of privacy.

          Or at least a borderline case. Here’s some questions:
          -If I picked up that camera and took it home, is it theft?
          -If that camera was say… placed at the foot of a staircase aiming up, is it fine for me to post the video on the internet?
          -Toilets anyone?

      • nah a classic thing is.. what popped into my head when i first saw tihs.. like those simpson eps where u see the camera go by.. catch all these illegal acts.. rofl.. u see ppl in the kitchen picking stuff up from the floor.. LOL..