I recently had another opportunity to explore around Akita, and was again pleasantly surprised. We started by going shopping around second hand stores; in Japan, there’s a company called Hardoff which operates stores similar to goodwill, with donated secondhand goods (many of which were still unopened) for lower prices. Although I didn’t buy much there, it was interesting to see how it compared to similar stores in America. It was much larger than those stores in America, and while American thrift stores tend to carry a lot of clothing and not much else, clothing only made up a small percentage of what was being sold there; rather, there was a much higher percentage of dishware and electronics.
The store itself was divided into three sections; electronics, hobby-related things, and household objects. Oddly, each of these operated separately within the same building, and seemed pretty regular in what they sold. However, there didn’t seem to be any defined lines as to where one started and the others ended, and what appeared to be part of one section would occasionally reach into the sections neighbor.
Afterwards we went to what was, for all of us there, our first legitimate Japanese Sushi restaurant. We were greeted by a robot who gave us a seat number, which correlated to one of many seats posted alongside a series of wall mounted conveyor belts. We ordered from a touch screen, which happily chirped out a melody for each of our orders, and again for when they arrived. The sushi itself was wonderful, and interestingly sold in pairs. Although they had lots of more traditional sushi, what surprised me was the existence of cheeseburger sushi; a rectangle of rice topped with a mini beef patty and some cheese. Overall, the experience was wonderful, especially because I didn’t expect to be served in a restaurant full of robots this far north in Japan; I’m looking forward to the next time I can see something new here, that’s that unlike what you see in America.