June 11, 2004 – Avoid 50% off sashimi at all costs

After work last night I once again found myself at Daiei’s supermarket looking for some discount food. I decided on a delicious looking rice bowl covered in sashimi (raw fish). It had been marked down 50% because it had been sitting in the deli section unsold for the entire day. 50% is the maximum discount that Daiei gives, so I was pretty excited to dig into my giant fishy rice bowl.

I woke up this morning feeling terrible. My stomach was not happy with me, and after making three rapid trips to the bathroom I decided to call in sick and go back to bed.

After a day of sleeping and running to the bathroom, I finally felt well enough to get out and rent some movies. I spent my evening watching Terminator 3 (not nearly as good as 1 and 2) and Dreamcatcher (not as good as the book).

(2014 Update) Calling in sick at NOVA was fairly easy and painless. An English speaking operator answers and asks for your name, your branch, and the reason for missing work. If you sound particularly sick they also ask if you need any further assistance. As long as you call before certain times (8:30 for early shift, 10:00 for afternoon shifts) there is no penalty for missing your shift, other than not getting paid.

When I told them that I wouldn’t be showing up due to discount sashimi, they didn’t sound impressed. I found out later that sushi and sashimi were by far the most common reasons that teachers would give for missing work. Japan has fairly high food safety standards, so it is likely that some of the sushi and sashimi calls were actually booze related.

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