I just got home from work and I was about to post a blog about my new job and I saw that today, June 18th is International Sushi Day. I didn’t know such a day existed, but when you think about it, doesn’t every industry feel the need to promote themselves somehow? Got Milk?
Of course, the relevance wears thin when every day is a holiday, ethnic celebration day, some country’s independence/liberation/insurgency day, and of course for you obsessive Facebookers with too many friends, a birthday.
So why do I care that it’s International Sushi Day? I don’t. But I’m a bartender at a sushi bar in Times Square. It was inevitable my next gig ended up this way because I interviewed at four sushi restaurants leading up to getting this job. The funniest of them all was for a place called Ninja, where the waiters dress in Ninja black, not restaurant black, and you enter the restaurant via an elevator that takes you below ground into a Japanese feudal village/dungeon where they perform magic tricks and pseudo martial arts and occasionally try to scare the crap out of you. It is described as an SNL skit gone wrong, but the prices are high and I would assume the tips should be, plus I have never worked in a restaurant where you can yell at the customers. Look up the Ninja NYC video if you dare.
Instead I am right in the heart of touristy Times Square, next to the big flashing signs and chain restaurants. It’s a good place, and the money is an improvement, the only drawback is I have to dodge 10,000 people taking pictures and gawking between the subway and the entrance to work. There’s a naked cowboy you can take pictures with, as well as tons of costumed mascots everybody knows, like Elmo, and Mickey Mouse. I’ve grown so used to seeing them that the other day while I was leaving work at 5PM, the sun was out and people were crowding the streets, and Mickey was up ahead, and to my right I saw a wolfman, and to the left was Mario. Until I passed them and the wolfman was a black guy with extreme facial hair and Mario was just an Italian guy in a big funny hat. I was completely sober which was the part that made it surreal. I had no excuse!
There is a cool little bar among the numerous options that I was directed to by a coworker. It’s called Jimmy’s Corner, just a tiny dive with lots of old pictures of boxers on the wall and cheap drinks. Otherwise, it’s all corporate and overpriced, but what do you expect? It’s Times Square.
Oh yeah, and it’s this guy Paul’s birthday.