Yakitori Column

vol 02To share, or not share, That is The question!

Why is it that you learn and/or think about your own culture more when you live in another country than you do when you live in your own?

When I went to university I worked in a fairly classy restaurant where I worked my way up the ladder from dishwasher to eventually being a manager.

Not only did I learn many things about the restaurant business but I also had to train others.

Everything from greeting the customers to serving them champagne. There are certain ways that restaurants run in western countries that seem to work.

……So I thought.. One waiter is not only in charge of their section but also in charge of complete satisfaction of each customer individually. Like a one-on-one relationship. This is also the same through the customer's eyes.

He or she is in charge of the decisions of no one else but themselves.

Not worrying about what the others at your table orders you have to choose your meal that you'll have to stick with whether you like it or not. No one touches anything on your plate and you are not to touch anyone else's plate.

Sharing your food or "taste testing" someone else's food is considered very rude and simply not done.

Well….. Being in Japan is a very different experience.

Raising your hand and yelling out to the closest restaurant worker you can make eye contact with is not considered rude. Also, there are group discussions about what food is to be ordered before ordering because everyone tries all the food.

This varies depending on what kind of restaurant you're in but in general the plates are put in the middle of the table and everyone is expected to try a little of each dish.

We're brought up all our lives hearing "Share with your brother/sister!! Don't be selfish." And then when you get to a nice restaurant you're expected to keep your hands to yourself.

Well, in Japan it's a group effort. Pouring each other's drinks and tasting a little from each dish is a perfect example of sharing.

Actually, it doesn't stop there either. When it's time to pay for the dinner the bill is split up amongst the number of people at the table. No matter how much or little you have eaten.

As opposed to the western culture where you pay for your own meal or get lucky and one person pays the whole bill.

Which system is better??? Who knows.Things are just done differently in different cultures and it's all a learning experience.

Thanks for listening to my view on (To share, or Not to share. That is the question).