Seeing signs like the one below is always jarring. How could it not be? A hugely incongruous sight in any era, but surely even more so in a modern city, in 2019. And yet that said, as the services on offer are adult orientated, a lack of communication could obviously be a problem. An element that arguably makes it a little more complicated, and perhaps, at a push, not quite as clear cut as it initially appears.
So is it a grey area, perfectly okay perhaps, or without a doubt completely unacceptable?
The smaller sign says that foreigners are served if they can speak Japanese?
Sort of, and yet perhaps not. It really isn’t clear. But it does say “even if you can speak Japanese you can not provide service…”
The Japanese sign, however, is far more unequivocal, simply stating no foreigners.
yet another industry that really needs native speakers of English to check their translations, even if they don’t otherwise want to do business with them 🙂
Yeah, translations that make things even less clear are far from ideal, and also far too common!
I’ve zero experience with the kind of establishment pictured but I have been to Japanese restaurants and bars where people freak out a bit initially when I ask if they have an English menu. After they tell me they don’t, I find that if I tell them “daijobu” and proceed to speak some Japanese and show that I “get” certain Japanese dining out and drinking mores, they will relax and things will be okay.
(English-speaking) Japanese restaurant and bar owner friends have told me one big reason why such establishments are wary about non-Japanese speaking customers, and turn some away, is that they feel they can’t adequately provide these people with the service they pride themselves on giving. Also, having witnessed how certain (other) foreigners in Japan react to seeing otoshi charges, etc. on their bill or to the “exotic” food they (blindly) order and get served, I sadly can see why some establishments have got to thinking that foreign customers can be more trouble than it’s worth. 🙁
Gotta say that I agree, having experiencing first-hand how appallingly some none-Japanese behave in Japan I have the greatest respect for anyone who opens their establishments to all-comers.
Also, when people ask me if there is anything bad about Japan, the only think I can think of (after four visits) is the behaviour of some other tourists.
Yeah, it’s a tricky one. Without at least a little knowledge of Japanese, some restaurants really could be difficult for both the customer and owner alike. A hassle the latter could obviously do without. And the amount of signs I’ve seen mentioning otoshi and its cost prove there’s clearly a problem there, although god knows why as the charge is never that much. Other signs I’ve seen asking customers to order at least a drink each, also suggest that behaviour isn’t the best. A tricky situation indeed…
Sure I get the language issues but this is still kinda shocking! 😮
It is. Always takes me by surprise, even though it’s not necessarily that straight forward.
A very understandable answer. Probably the right one too, as making excuses for such discrimination could easily lead to some pretty unpleasant abuses.
Jimmy Sarceno says
What was this for? Can’t even guess at what service this could be for.
It’s for adult services. What exact services I don’t know, but as people with weak hearts are also not permitted, it’s clearly something of a vigorous nature!
or requiring a ‘macho’ attitude
little fluffy dressing gowns?
Haha, as it’s in Kabukicho, you never know!
Personally I think that if someone is offering a service I’m interested in, but I don’t meet their criteria for receiving it, then either they have a good (IMO) reason for it, say to prevent unintended outcomes (e.g. taxi takes me to the wrong airport, doctor gives me the wrong treatment, girl takes great offense at my lack of etiquette knowledge, I fall off the ride because I wasn’t tall enough), or, the people running it have a bad (IMO) reason, (e.g. they are xenophobic, don’t like wide people, think I am too old, think I am too poor). In either case would be grateful they alerted me to the fact before I opened the door, as in neither case would I actually be interested.
Those are really good points and make total sense. A very good way of putting it, and thinking about it.
The way it is stated here, it seems rather unacceptable. Though that could be easily fixed by just requiring customers to be more or less fluent in Japanese. I am curious what the intention was here
I haven’t seen signs like this myself during my travels, but I have come across situations were you were required to either be able speak Japanese, or bring your own interpreter. Usually this is for safety reasons, like when you’d visit a factory, or the underground water reservoir in Saitama. Quite understandably so.
I know. By adding that confusing sign in English, they have just made things worse. And likewise, not at all sure what they were trying to achieve, or actually say.
Yes, those are very legitimate reasons. Requirements that would make such situations better and safer for everyone involved.
I might have assumed that the ladies were Japanese only…
There’s mores behind them there doors; clockwork like machinations of cultural etiquette, the disturbance of which would not be appreciated (like cheering at a football match if the other team scores an amazing goal). Butoh sprang to mind; it seems to take a lot more than a white powdered face and large amounts of practice – something much much deeper. Or maybe its just for local people – including the fat, bald, goateed, drunken and cash challenged :O)
Intriguing though…but I can just feel better go listening to Japanese folks playing Irish ‘roots’ or John Denver.
That confusing sign makes all assumptions difficult!
I used to live in Kameari, and many of the bars had this kind of sign at the time. I can’t say it ever bothered me. If they don’t want my money, there’s plenty of other places I can spend it. A bit like this place, oddly many appeared to be the kind of place I probably wouldn’t be looking for either, which somehow works out.
As for whether this is because foreigners are difficult, go and ask friends who run bars or drive taxis – they’ll all have plenty of stories about Japanese customers causing issues. It’s going to vary by bar/owner/patrons.
More to the point – another nice photo! Nice Alsok sticker, but really…no NHK? chotto~~~
That’s a very good way of looking at it. Totally agree about difficult Japanese customers too. And bound to be more of them due to, well, this being Japan.
Cheers. I particularly liked the rather grubby nature of the place. Seemed very apt. Oh, and perhaps NHK isn’t racy enough!
Nalle Puh says
Why only 2 Atomic bombs on Japan ??
The Nazis where like Nannys compared
to what the Japanese did to the far east !
Freezing to death in wintertime in Kobe
but not 1 of 100 pubs would let me in.
Neither would the 100 vacant Taxies
bother to drive me.
Fuck the no. 1 Rasist of the world
JAPANESE ONLY !!!!!