Saturday, May 20, 2006

Working in a restaurant

In Japan I'm working in an Italian restaurant. At the beginning it was really tough, but now I feel really better because the guys of the staff are really funny and all close friends.
Servicing in a Restaurant in Japan is really different from other countries.
When clients come for example, the whole staff must say:"IRASHAIMASSE!". When people go out we must all say: "ARIGATOO GOZAIMASU". It's really tough for me to remember to say it.
In Italy, in some restaurants, the staff shows sometimes unhappy feeling when a client arrives (maybe because they have to work!).
The first time I entered a Japanese restaurant (as a client) I felt a little embarrassed. In fact it's not possible to stay without nobody noticing you as the whole staff shouts:"IRASHAIMASSE!!!!!" when you get in.

The first thing I must do when clients sit down is to serve them OSHIBORI (look at the photo). What is it? It's a wet and hot napkin that you use to wash your hands. After that, I must bring them a glass of water, which is free. So, if you haven’t got a lot of money (as most young Italians) it is really a good opportunity, because you can eat without buying any beverages!

Normally it's not so difficult being a waiter in a Japanese restaurant. It's important to be really kind and not to pour everything on their clothes (but I think this precaution is valid all over the world). But I said, normally.
In fact one day I had to service 4 people. I went with my big smile to the table and I tried to service oshibori to the first one. This person looked like a statue. What happened??? I tried again but nothing, it seemed that he had been struck by a lightning....oh, maybe I smell so bad?? I looked around really scared and someone made me understand to try with the next person. I tried and he got
oshibori! WOW! I tried again with the first one and he got it! double WOW!!!!! Wonderful, is it a Japanese game?!
But it wasn't finished I had to service other two people... I thought: "who is the miser boy???" I tried with the first one and... ACH! I got wrong...I got the miser boy......
After that experience I understood that in Japan there is a hierarchy also to service in the restaurant!
How difficult is life for a poor Italian who lives here....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Water in Japan

I didn't know how precious was water. I realized that day by day with my "wonderful" wife. Yes my wife is Japanese and I'm Italian. We got married last March. This is the reason why I decided to come and live in Japan.

I don't know what is more difficult: to live with my "wonderful" wife or to face a so different culture?!
Of course the first one..

Anyway, in Italy I used to live in a wonderful place with many mountains and so much water. Just now that I'm Japan I realized how precious and important is water. How? In everyday life....

After many discussions I tried with all my mind's power to pay attention in order not to spoil water. But every time I tried to go near a sink I really felt so nervous, I couldn't make mistakes...
It was night, I really wanted to drink my Italian camomile. (Yes I'm a real Italian, I can't live without camomile and biscuits in the night and I can face everyone, also my wife!). So I tried to be as silent as possible... I had to rinse the boiler from the bad water of the morning tea (Yeah of course I’m a real Italian also in the morning – I can't live without tea and biscuits!), and it happened... my dear wife immediately came to check me and started accusing me because I use too much water!!!!!
For 5 seconds I tried to keep everything inside... but at the 6th second my repress angry blew up totally!!! BLAAAAAAAAAM! (I became red as the boiler).
My wife was really surprised about my reaction .... Women..

Water in Japan is really expensive, maybe it costs more than electricity. Japanese people really care about this issue (maybe my wife a little too much) and everybody has really big respect of this kind of rules.
In Italy unfortunately there is the bad thinking that "one can't save the world".


I decided to open an English version of my Italian blog ( that talks about the mysterious Japan in my everyday life with my wife Hiromi.
I know it's so difficult because my English it's not so good for such a difficult job. But I like the idea and I think everybody can understand my simple English, also people who don't know English so well.
I hope all you can forgive me for my mistakes.
This won't be a translation of the Italian one. Of course I'll get the same material, but with different way of writing, in fact it's not addressed to Italians as the other version is.