Bitter Deception


For years now, I have been telling people in Japan about the wonderful Japanese restaurant in my hometown – owned and run by Japanese staff – which has a wonderfully authentic atmosphere. A few years ago, I even ordered traditional New Year’s osechi ryori from them to give my friends and family a proper New Year’s Day party. Everyone is impressed and can’t believe it.

Well, today we stopped in and were greeted with a nice, “irasshaimase”. I politely requested a table for ‘sannin‘ (showing three fingers as I spoke) and I was thinking everything would be as normal… until I commented in Japanese on how the number of customers was small (presumably, a result of the snow). The waiter smiled and made an unrelated comment in English as he moved away to give us time.

From that point forward I started watching everything carefully: what was said, how they acted, the style of the remodel work that had been done, etc. Finally, I conceded that the staff was all new and perhaps it was a Korean family running the restaurant; much like the teriyaki restaurant at the edge of town. A half dozen years ago, at said teriyaki shop, I was trying to speak to them in Japanese until I saw a Korean name on the business license.

I think they’re happy for people looking for authentic Japanese food who mistake them for Japanese people, but are a little annoyed when the ignorant white guy tries to speak to them in Japanese. Anyhow, the experience was a little less than my expectations.

Otherwise, I’m going a little stir crazy being snowbound.


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4 Responses to “Bitter Deception”

  1. verbivore Says:

    This happened to me in Seattle as well – my family’s absolutely favorite Japanese restaurant changed ownership unexpectedly and all of sudden the staff looked at us like we were insane. It was very sad for my parents who get to speak Japanese so infrequently and really enjoyed long chats with the previous owners.

  2. Stefanie Says:

    Too bad the place has changed hands, what a disappointment. I’ve been hearing about all the snow in Seattle in the news. Stay warm!

  3. びっくり Says:

    Well, I’m trapped at my folks place and they’re old enough that they keep the house toasty warm now. The weather really isn’t that bad now, but there’s still a lot of snow around. I’ll probably rent a car to get around after Christmas.

    Merry Christmas Everyone!

  4. Sylvia Says:

    How clever of you to visit during a major snowstorm! 😉 It’ll be over soon. I hope!

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