|Delightful friends in Japan: Hiro and Yuko|
But what I want to blog about is twofold. First up, although I'm guessing most of my readers are relatively avid travellers and will know this already, but just to help sweep away this startling misconception: Japanese food is not just sushi. Two people mentioned this as their impression during the week and I guess a long time ago I thought the same thing. But there is so, SO much more. Stuff everyone knows like teriyaki chicken or tempura, just for a start - and of course, okonomiyaki!
Secondly and much more importantly: it is not just a stereotype, Japanese people are incredibly polite and friendly. A case in point: I was chatting with the woman who is working at this new restaurant (and I assume is the wife of the boss/chef). I mentioned I lived in Japan and really, really love Japanese food. She asked me if I live nearby, and I told her my place was about five minutes away. Her reply? "Oh, we are so lucky!" And no, she didn't mean that I am lucky to have a great new Japanese place nearby - she meant we, the owners of the shop, are lucky to have a potential customer who lives nearby. I have never met another nationality who would typically say something like that.
Yes, I've blogged before about my opinions on the Japanese and you know, I might even do it again. I think it's fair to say that in Western cultures, we tend to lump all Asians in one pot and not think about how different they are (and I was guilty of this before I lived in Japan). It's probably also fair to say that many Asians lump all us Westerners in one pot, too, but that's not for me to fix. I guess what I'm always on about is to look for cultural differences and cultural similarities and, well, enjoy the food!