7 things foreigners are surprised at when going to pubs in Japan

Coming to the pub, many people were surprised by the small amount of food served per serving. A foreigner frankly said "Why are there only so few?".

Nov 25, 2022 - 13:59
Feb 3, 2023 - 08:28
7 things foreigners are surprised at when going to pubs in Japan

1. With only 1,500 ~ 2,000 yen, you can drink alcohol to your heart's content? Is Japanese wine so cheap?

Pubs in Japan have a fixed price alcohol buffet service. This makes many foreigners extremely surprised because their country does not have this novel service.

In some countries, it is illegal to sell alcohol as a buffet. This can be seen clearly in European countries. For example, the law in France banned buffet service of alcoholic beverages in 2009. In 2010, this was also banned in the UK, and then this regulation gradually spread throughout Europe.

In such a trend, pubs imbued with Japanese culture may have become something extremely attractive in the eyes of foreign tourists.

2. Dishes appear on the table even when not ordered! What is Otoshi?

Japanese people do not have the habit of tipping like Europeans. However, in pubs, being charged "otoshi money" is common. So what does Otoshi mean? This word is synonymous with “table money” (seat money). There are many foreigners who don't understand the otoshi mechanism and sometimes it gets them in trouble with the shop.

After all, most foreigners don't understand the meaning of otoshi. Otoshi are actually side dishes that are served while you wait for your order. It also has another name called "Tsukidashi". All of these items are charged at pubs. This has become a natural thing for Japanese people, but for foreigners it is still quite strange and a bit annoying. In some stores, customers can refuse this service. If you don't want to pay extra, please confirm with the restaurant staff before the food is brought out!

3. Japanese only touch the cup for the first time, and the first cup must be beer? Learn the weird Japanese cup-topping habits!

The Japanese drinking style is probably something that surprises many foreigners, especially Asians.

Japanese people usually only touch the cup for the first time at the beginning of the party. However, in Taiwan, China or some other countries people often toast several times. If there are immortal sayings that often sound at parties like "Beer first", it is not entirely wrong because the first glass Japanese people drink is usually beer.

So why do Japanese people have a habit of touching cups with beer? This is secretly related to Japan's economic growth. It is said that before beer became popular, the Japanese were fond of atsukan (hot sake). However, with the economic miracle in 1955, beer began to be popular with the advantage of being able to be served on demand. People say that ever since then people use the phrase "beer first" to refer to "first glass of the party".

In recent years, although there are many types of alcoholic drinks appearing on the market such as chuhai, shochu, etc., many Japanese are still used to choosing beer first at the party. A general rule of thumb is to moisten your lips with beer first and then your favorite wine. This is certainly still common thinking when going out to drink among Japanese.

4. Mixed meal but the amount of food is very small? Why are pub portions so small?

Coming to the pub, many people were surprised by the small amount of food served per serving. A foreigner frankly said "Why are there only so few?".

For the Japanese, when it comes to the amount of food served in the pub, they also find it small and it's hard to be satisfied with that. On the contrary, there are also some people who think that because they are small, they will not be full, they can taste many dishes at the same time.

In addition, part of the reason is due to the eating habits of the Japanese. Many Japanese people grew up in a home and school educated environment, so they are used to a nutritionally balanced diet. In other words, instead of eating a lot of a food you like, you can allocate small amounts to eat as many dishes as possible. This is also the way to have a healthy diet.

5. Wet wipes are served as soon as guests sit down! Small actions show the hospitality of the Japanese people

Oshibori are paper or cloth hand towels that are served at restaurants, cafes, and pubs in Japan as soon as guests sit at the table. This stems from the fact that Japanese people often have the habit of using a handkerchief before eating.

Many Europeans and Americans were surprised that there were no tissues and bowls of hand sanitizer served. Not only that, they were also surprised by the fact that cold (hot) towels are served completely free of charge.

6. Creative way to order: From the staff call button to the multilingual touch screen menu

Many people feel extremely impressed with the way they order food at pubs in Japan. Let's hear some of their comments.

Pubs in Japan, especially chain stores, often install buttons to call staff. This button is usually located right next to the menu board, you just need to press the button and the staff will come to the place to serve. So you don't need to call an employee just passing by when you need to.

In addition, more and more stores have recently introduced touch screen menus. The tablet device will display the menu and you just need to choose the dish you like and you can order easily. Not only that, this type of menu is also set up in many languages ​​such as English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, etc., which is very convenient for foreign tourists when coming to Japan. You don't need to communicate directly with the store staff, so you don't have to worry if you don't know Japanese.

7. Are restaurants in Japan allowed to smoke? Wine and snacks are delicious but the smell of cigarettes makes you can't sit for long

There are many opinions about smoking in the store. It seems that many people are surprised that many pubs in Japan allow guests to smoke.

“Japanese pubs don't ban smoking, right? I am very uncomfortable with the smell of cigarette smoke, so I can hardly sit for long, although the wine and food are very good” – a Vietnamese friend said.

Japan is known as the "backward country of tobacco". The Japanese government also encourages the separation of smoking and non-smoking areas, but so far most pubs still allow smoking wherever they are. However, from April 2020, this situation will improve.

Along with hosting the Tokyo Olympic Games, food and beverage outlets with employees working in the city of Tokyo will be completely smoke-free. The division of smoking zones is also gone, and you can only smoke in the nearest smoking area. In the future, the number of smokers will decrease because it will not be possible to go against the trend of the times.

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