I didn’t see the robot until we’d finished sushi plate number 13. I know this because I’d just looked up at Kura’s touch screen, which was calculating each empty plate after I inserted it into the slot at the end of our table.
We were trying to get up to 15, driven by the promise that our anime guide Muten-Maru would pop a prize out of the vending machine once we’d fed the machine enough plates. But after more than a dozen salmon rolls and flame-seared eel strips with miso cream cheese, we were starting to slow down.
A robot appeared. It carried an iced green tea and two glasses of water to another booth. It was bright yellow and shaped like a cartoon Minion with two shelves in the front holding the drinks and a computer screen in the back displaying stylized photos of various dishes.
Spirits lifted by the silly sight, I controlled my urge to chase the robot down and instead grabbed plate number 14 — fresh crab nigiri — from the conveyor belt. You have to move quickly at Kura.