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Japanese cultural pointers

December 10th, 2005 . by Matt


Here is an interesting video containing ‘cultural pointers’ and language instruction for foreigners wanting to eat Japanese sushi, sent to me by Curzon from Coming Anarchy. Be sure to follow these instructions to the letter next time you go to an authentic Japanese sushi restaurant.

Have fun!

24 Responses to “Japanese cultural pointers”

  1. comment number 1 by: ponta

    This is also interesting one if you want to practice Japanese.

    And this one, though I don’t understand what is said in English.

  2. comment number 2 by: nospam


    The link above fais in Korea. Here’s Google response.

    Thanks for your interest in Google Video.

    Currently, the playback feature of Google Video isn’t available in your country.

    We hope to make this feature available more widely in the future, and we really appreciate your patience.

  3. comment number 3 by: momo


    I have seen ‘to doh fuken’version of those kitties’ lesson flash but can’t remember where. Do you have any idea?


  4. comment number 4 by: ponta

    Do you have any idea?

    Sorry no, I have found these somewhere on thisblog

  5. comment number 5 by: momo

    Oh, no…

    >Ponta & everybody

    I wrote “to dou f.u.k.e.n’ (都道府県) but it’s *****ed now.
    I didn’t mean anything to offend you and other viewers.

    Thank you, Ponta.

  6. comment number 6 by: takeshima

    Japan is very civilized, but you dont need to use good manors in Corea. I have witnessed coreeans who just grab at the food, spitting food all over the table. usually there is piles of cigerette buts and spit below the table. Its very discusting. Many times in ‘nice’ restaurants I have seen rats and cockroaches. The funny thing is that they use tolet paper as napkins in most restaurnats, even fancy ones. Coreans do know its toilet paper, but they are very proud to wipe their face with it. Can any friendly coreans explane why they use toilet paper to wipe their face? I have a guess.

  7. comment number 7 by: horuhoru


  8. comment number 8 by: tomato

    Actually, this type of sushi (Edo-stlyle) originated from fast-food, and you really don’t have to worry about how to eat it (although I don’t say you can eat it however you want). The restaurant staff will guide you to your seats, and you can use chopsticks if you like (I do). If you don’t like wasabi, you can ask to delete it.

    What I like in going to Sushi restaurants is that the kinds of fish provided differs from region to region. If you go to Hokkaido, you should definitely eat King Salmon (Masunosuke) and Hokkigai (Hokki Clam). In Tokyo, I would order Nihamaguri (stewed clam) and Kohada (kind of like herring),

  9. comment number 9 by: larken

    takeshima: I didn’t need to know that ~.~

  10. comment number 10 by: Travolta

    Takeshima might be talking about sushi/whisky bars which are frequented by business men out for a night on the piss which may have some cigerette butts on the floor but never in the places I’ve been. Every sushi place I’ve ever been to in Korea has been very clean. No spit below the table and trash anywhere else. In fact I’ve never been into a Korean restaurant with spit on the floor and I’ve been to at least a hundred different restaurants in different cities. I’ve seen a cockroach from time to time in the places which are in crappy areas but never in good places and I’ve never seen a rat in a restaurant. No one would eat there if they saw a rat. Koreans hate rats. Though I’m not denying what Takeshima says could be true ^^.

    If Takeshima were talking about public restrooms however then he’d be VERY right. Public bathrooms are a disgrace in Korea. They stink, are badly cleaned by old women who don’t really know how to clean or are too lazy to do a good job and often have bad plumbing. Places like Starbucks and McDonalds have decent toilets which are pretty clean, but most restaurant toilets I’ve been to are quite gross. People will spit on the floor, drip piss everywhere, and most places don’t have enough power in the plumbing to accept toilet paper. Instead Koreans wipe their arses then place the shitty paper into a plastic bin which some poor bastard has to clean out at a later point. Most subway toilets smell like piss, shit and vomit that has been sitting in toilets/urinals/on the floor for days and Koreans CAN NOT keep the god damn water IN the washbasin. It ends up all over the place! On the mirror, the floor, on themselves. Christ knows who taught these ppl how to wash their hands, they’re crap at it. When I wash my hands all the water goes down the drain, not across the fucking room.

    Wow, completely off topic. sorry about that.

  11. comment number 11 by: momo

    Sushi restaurants in Korea!? NO WAY!

    How do anti-Japan Koreans would react in front of sushi on their plate?

    ‘Hey, son of murderers, can I have little more wasabi on my tekka roll?”


    “Mmm, sushi is gooood. One of the greatest food culture of Korea! Japan, stop stealing our sushi culture!”

    I wonder if there is a Korean style raw-fish-and-rice-ball kind of food.

  12. comment number 12 by: Travolta


    Many Koreans love Sushi but there are differences in what we westernerns calls Sushi and what Asians (Koreans in this case) know it as. The Sushi with a small log of rice, some wasabe on top of the rice and then raw fish on top is called “초밥” (cho-bap) here in Korea. Then there are California roll type sushi, Koreans call this “롤” (Roll). Then there is just a plate full of just fish, usually fresh out of the tank. This is called 홰 (Hway).Hway I’ve been told is the Korean traditional raw fish. I think Hway is the most popular followed by Cho-bap. I’ve never known a Korean to not eat it because it’s from Japan. Even anti-Japanese Koreans (most Koreans) enjoy it along with Japanese animation and Japanese comic books (they dominate the market in Asia). I think most people recognise that the sushi places in Korea might be selling food of Japanese origin but the owner and customers are Korean and that makes them feel better about it. If their money all went to Japan they might not eat it. ^^

  13. comment number 13 by: Chris


    About a year and a half ago, I bought some chicken yakitori from a street vendor in the Hannam-dong area near Dankook University here in Seoul. The old man gave me a bunch of crap for wearing a T-shirt that had some kanji and the Rising Sun printed on it. “No Japan…. Hate Japan,” he said. If he hated Japan so much, why was he selling Japanese food on a street corner here in Seoul? Sometimes you’ve got to wonder….

    Yongsan Garrison, Seoul

  14. comment number 14 by: Travolta


    Old people tend to be the most illogical in regards to their hatred of Japan. In Korea that food is called “닭꼬지” (Dak-ko-ji, my Korean spelling may be off). Is it originally from Japan? I’m not saying it isn’t but its meat on a stick. Most cultures have developed some kind of meat on a stick. It wouldn’t surprise me though if it were from Japan. Koreans don’t realise or don’t like to admit that a lot of their food and culture has been influenced by the Japanese. I would venture to suggest that Korea has been more influenced by Japan than the other way around as Koreans would have us believe. How many Japanese restaurants are in Korea in comparison to Korean restaurants in Japan? I’d like to get some figures on this if possible. Can anyone suggest how this could be done? I would guess there would be 10 times more Japanese restaurants in Korea.

  15. comment number 15 by: momo


    Thanks for sharing information.
    It’s quite interesting.

    I see a lot of Japanese restaurant owned by Korean (and Chinese) in America. Most of them serve low quality traditional Japanese food such as sushi, teriyaki, tempura and so on.
    As Japanese food is usually more expensive and popular among Americans, those Koreans and Chinese don’t care about the quality or authenticity of food but money. There is absolutely no respect for foreign cultures and traditions, and those real artisans who have preserved passion of Japanese for food culture throughout the history.
    It’s interesting that all the Thai restaurants (there are a lot of Thai restaurant in East coast) I have visited in America are run by Thai people and I have not seen one Thai sushi chef in a Japanese restaurant.
    Indians, as well.

    To me, the fact that many Koreans and Chinese try to take advantage of ‘Japanese brand’ hiding their anti-Japan sentiment (even though not all of them hate Japan, I assume) shows their lack of pride.
    Money, money, money?

  16. comment number 16 by: Chris


    I know exactly what you are talking about in regards to public restrooms here in South Korea. The one I hate the most is what I call the “KATUSA shower”. The “KATUSA shower” is when Koreans use the wash basins/sinks as a personal shower, getting water EVERYWHERE but on themselves. This is true at public bathrooms (Itaewon station, COEX Mall, etc) and in the barracks here in Yongsan. Instead of causing such a mess, why not just take a shower? I’ll never know.

    Yongsan Garrison, Seoul

  17. comment number 17 by: momo

    Oh, of course there are Korean restaurants and Chinese restaurats operated by their own people.
    And I am not saying nationality of chef decides the quality of the food.
    (There are bad, nasty Japanese restaurant owners and chefs, too)
    The problem is some Koreans and Chinese spread the wrong idea of traditional Japanese food culture over the world.

    One time I went to Korean BBQ place in Boston and was treated so badly by Korean staff as well as many other Japanese people who had gone there before.

    “You guys are Japanese, huh?”

    Why did they need to ask us this question before the meal?
    Why can’t we just eat nice food and enjoy the cultural differences?

  18. comment number 18 by: Travolta

    I don’t want to sound like im endlessly bashing Koreans but genereally Momo is correct. Koreans usually do a rather rat shit job of cooking the food of other cultures. Pasta is usually cheap tasting and too sugary, restaurants like Dijon which try to imitate Bennigans and TGI have food which tastes microwaved (not that I’m a big fan of TGI and Bennigans either). Not only is the food a poor imitation of the original, it is also expensive. Indian food is pretty lame here too. The curry tastes like it was made from a packet of instant curry. Coffee also is messed up in Korea on a regular basis. If you go to Starbucks or another big chain they follow the correct recipes for making the various cups. However in Korean coffee shops they make up the formula as they go along and you end up with a “Cappicino” with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. No taste at all. The reason they get away with it is because Koreans can’t handle the REAL deal or they simply don’t know what real pasta/curry/coffee tastes like. That said, I have been to a few great pasta places in Korea with chefs that have been to Italy to study as well as some great curry places run by Indians and Tibetans.

    To be fair though, a lot of “Chinese” restaurants in Australia have some pretty lame and cheap food. Perhaps many of them in more recent years represent something closer to the real thing as Australia has become more multicultural and people won’t accept the imitations anymore. I think Korea is in the same boat we were a while back. Someone started a resturant cooking “Curry” and since Koreans had no idea what its supposed to taste like they figured it was the real deal and the lie continues to this day. Its not like there are huge number of Indians opening restaurnts serving REAL curry all over Korea to change perceptions.

  19. comment number 19 by: nig

    I found the Japanese restaurants in Korea to be more authentic than anywhere else in the world. I have had Japanese food in a lot of countries. Also, Japanese restuarants in Korean usually acknowledge that the dishes are of Japanese origin.

    I had some Shabu Shabu in Dublin two weeks ago and it was terrible.

    For me there was almost no difference between the Shabu Shabu in Busan and the same dish in Hakata. There was one difference however. The price. 2500 Yen in Japan compared to 8,000 Won

  20. comment number 20 by: iris

    They are famous Japanese stage comic players called Rahmens(ラーメンズ).
    I introduce another famous short film of Rahmens.
    This film is the manual of Dogeza(土下座)

  21. comment number 21 by: Bob Reemus

    Travolta has a good point:
    “The reason they get away with it is because Koreans can’t handle the REAL deal or they simply don’t know what real pasta/curry/coffee tastes like.”

    If you look at a lot of thee blatant rip offs (of Starbucks, etc.) in Korea, and their averts, the commonality between them is the “uri” schtick. “Uri” being “our.” The jingistic “our” immediately illicits business.

    If I had time I would catalog all of the horrible, culture-raping “uri” versions of foreign food chains. It would be pretty huge – AND – for such a small window of time: 1997-2005.

    Korean culture can’t seem to leave things alone (save beer) and need to f*ck it up, I mean “uri” it.

    By the way, a “foreign” Korean specialty is ‘Mexican Salad.” All you need is a lot of sweet mayo and ome corn and throw whatever the hell else you want on it and it’s “Mexican Salad!”

    Pancho Villa spins in his grave.

  22. comment number 22 by: J

    As to the original topic – that video is hilarious!

  23. comment number 23 by: Ell

    It was hilarious! I do hope no one follows it to the letter!!

    About the shinbashi.swf, is there any translation out somewhere?
    It’s such a sweet piece that’s double fun if you understand what’s
    being “teached”.
    “Wakarimasen (I don’t know), Wakarimasen(I don’t know).
    Komugiko desu (it’s …flour!)” rofl

  24. comment number 24 by: satomi

    Oh god, the shibashi.swf (linked by ponta). I found it a perfect match to “English Lesson Independence day in Japanese accent”.

    I’ll try to translate it.>Ell

    I came across the Sushi video last year, and compiled the chronology. They said they may produce its sequel.;