20 Things I Learned About Doing A Clinical Rotation in Tokyo: Lesson #4

One of the highlights of my rotation actually took place outside the hospital, when Dr. Eigo asked Tauseef and I if we wanted to eat sushi for dinner.

“Every Tuesday I go to English class at night. But I told my teacher I would be absent today. Because dinner with you is like a class anyway!” Dr. Eigo told me.

We thought we were just going to eat some fairly good sushi at a small restaurant, but man were we wrong. So wrong. In the brisk Winter night, we walked down a narrow road into a gray building; on the first floor, the restaurant was empty save for one diner and the sushi chef. Maybe these neighborhood sushi restaurants are like the Japanese themselves — they’ve nailed down the art of disguising excellence within quiet and unassuming exteriors. Because that night I had some of the best sushi I’d ever tasted in my life.

We were led to a private room on the second floor, where a large solitary table waited. I sat down thinking we were gonna rock this big table with three people, but then one by one all six of the NICU doctors walked in. They’d just completed evening rounds. I couldn’t believe it — these were NICU attendings who’d reported to the hospital at 7 in the morning. It was 7pm and they were still down to kick it. Maybe it was really a one-time obligation for them to host the clueless gaijins, but who can say no to omakase and drinks? It was an amazing feast — complete with lots of sake and loud stories — and in the end, our attempts to pay for our share were waved away. Needless to say, with a private room on the second floor, and what looked like a four course meal, every bite delicious and super fresh — that dinner was pretty expensive.

Lesson #4: Always accept invitations to eat sushi.

Sparkles included!

This piece is part of a larger serial publication called “20 Things I Learned About Doing A Clinical Rotation In Tokyo”.

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