Restaurants like the ones in the video above represent a collision between Japan’s past and its future. Their owners know that scale and efficiency can be the difference between success and failure, and when you add Japan’s technological innovation, it’s no surprise you wind up with intensely modern restaurant chains offering the next generation of conveyor-belt sushi.
The conveyor belt in the restaurant in the video is shaped like an e, and it ferries a never-ending sushi buffet past diners’ tables. When people are done eating, they insert their used plates into slots beneath the belt and the dirty dinnerware is passed into a massive dishwasher that can clean 1,800 plates an hour, or 20,000 a day. Customers can also order nonbuffet dishes via tableside touchscreen—those dishes fly in on a separate, upper conveyor belt. The whole operation is half Futurama, half Rube Goldberg, and yet all Japanese, even though systems like this are starting to appear all over the world.
Read more: A New Generation of Conveyor-Belt Sushi