Host mother experiences


A few weeks ago, two American girls stayed at my house in Aizu one Saturday. On that day we had lunch at a ramen restaurant which they really enjoyed. At the end of the meal one of the girls told me she knew that it was bad manners to stick chopsticks into rice but she wasn’t sure where she should put chopsticks after eating ramen noodle soup so I told her to place them together on the rim of her bowl.

That evening we went to a Japanese restaurant and they were surprised that we eat octopus in Japan. Most Americans don’t eat octopus and the girl told me that many Americans believe these sea creatures are evil monsters that suck blood! They were also surprised that we (and especially people in the Aizu area) eat “Manju tempura” as part of a main dish because a “Manju”is a small sweet cake and they thought it was only eaten as a dessert.

After dinner when we did some shopping at a supermarket,they were surprised at how neatly everything was displayed. Their comments made me think of “Omotenashi”which could be translated as “doing the best for customers” and I wondered what food displays looked like in US supermarkets.