Tuesday, June 12, 2012

At a Restaurant - NYC and Japan

In NYC, when we eat at a restaurant, we usually order three separate times. First we order drinks. The second time, after the waiter brings the drinks, we order the food. After we finish eating, while the waiter is taking away our empty plates, he asks us if we need a dessert menu or not. If we want dessert, we'll ask to see the menu and then we’ll order a third time. Usually, it is the same waiter who comes back to our table each time. Usually the waiter also brings us the bill and we pay at the table.

In Japan, "the Izakaya" is a very popular bar and restaurant in the Japanese style.
This is the kind of the restaurant I'll speak about here. To start, we usually order drinks and a small amount of appetizers. After we make a toast and share the appetizers, we think of ordering more food. Japanese people love the words “for now.” For now, we order something, but we keep the menu for later. Then before we finish our food, we order some more and keep on doing so. In Japan, the waiters are not assigned to specific tables, so when we need them we call out to the closest one, yelling loudly with a waving hand. We usually pay at the cashier.

The reputation of Japanese people in NYC is very good, so I'm very glad and proud to be Japanese. However, when I encounter a situation like the one below, I feel embarrassed every time. The case in point: having dinner with a Japanese friend at a restaurant in NYC. As soon as my friend finished choosing her drink or food from the menu, she started to look for a waiter, and then called out to the closest one very loudly as she would do at an Izakaya in Japan. When she did that, I felt many eyes from other customers on us and it gave me an uncomfortable feeling. Ordering that way, she ordered many times because she didn't ask for all the food that she wanted to eat at once. Of course, she kept the menu just like in Japan. This was embarrassing for me because I like my dinners in NYC restaurants to be as sophisticated as possible. In addition, worst of all, she went to the cashier to pay, taking her bag, coat and everything with her, when as you know she was supposed to pay at the table. I was afraid the waiter would come running after us.

This was one of my most embarrassing experiences as a Japanese woman in NYC.
But I'm proud to be Japanese. This situation was an exception to the rule, and in the scheme of things I know it wasn’t really that important.

You know, we Japanese are just tiny, polite people. So please bear with us if you encounter these situations at a restaurant!

I also make tons of my friends be embarrassed... I am so sorry!

レストランでのこと NYとにほん