Yaeyama Style Photo: @kusahaerunews

All Japanese customers banned from restaurant…in Japan?!?

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Akio Arima runs a ramen restaurant on Ishigakijima, one of the most beautiful islands in Okinawa Prefecture. Ordinarily, his restaurant, called Yaeyama Style, should be packed with summer travelers, but on a recent day the 42-year-old Arima only served noodles to two diners, and that was the total for both the lunch and dinner “crowds.”

But it’s not that customers don’t want to eat at Yaeyama Style. Arima himself is turning them away.

Since July 1, would-be customers walking up to the restaurant entrance have been greeted by a notice, written on a bright yellow background to make sure everyone notices it, which reads:

“To Japanese customers,

Japanese tourists’ manners have been becoming progressively worse year by year, and so we will not be allowing Japanese customers to dine at our restaurant until after September.

We will only be accepting overseas customers, and we apologize to local Japanese and customers who have eaten here every year, and also ask for their cooperation.

We are currently thinking to resume regular service from October.”

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Ishigakijima is a popular tourist destination for both foreign and domestic travelers, and while Arima apparently has no problem with the former, it’s his fellow countrymen who’ve gotten under the ramen chef’s skin, at least the ones who’re vacationing in Okinawa. So what are his specific grievances?

Well, like a lot of ramen joints, Yaeyama Style is a small restaurant, with less than a dozen seats. With seating space so scarce, the restaurant asks that each person in the customer’s party order a bowl of ramen. But even though Arima has put up signs announcing that requirement, he still gets Japanese customers who insist that they’re going to split a single bowl between two people, as well as those who bring in outside food and drink to consume inside the restaurant, and also coming in with babies and toddlers, both of which the restaurant does not allow (and, once again, has written notices explaining the rules).

Staff have cautioned customers who break the rules, but that sometimes results in the customers responding with outrage and anger, and mercilessly enough that Arima says he’s had part-timers quit from the stress, and so he’s now running the restaurant entirely by himself.

In contrast, Arima says he’s had no major problems with foreign customers, many of whom come to Ishigakijima as part of cruises from Hong Kong or Taiwan, and so he’s happy to keep serving them through the summer, which is traditionally the restaurant’s busiest time. “Japanese people think ‘The customer is God,’” laments Arima. “Many people are aggravated by the poor manners of [Japanese] tourists, so I think my actions are justified.”

As mentioned above, turning away each and every prospective Japanese customer has had a marked effect on Arima’s revenue. “I don’t have any customers. Yesterday, only two came. And as I expected, a lot of people have complained to me about the new rule. It’s tough from an economic standpoint, but I’m going to stick with it for now, and take some time to relax and clean the restaurant.”

However, Arima himself seems to perhaps be reevaluating his plan, as while he’s only had problems with Japanese customers, that doesn’t mean all of his Japanese customers have caused problems. He’s now thinking of allowing Japanese customers to dine at Yaeyama Style on a membership basis, under which he’d continue to serve Japanese customers who’ve registered with the restaurant and he feels can be trusted to follow proper customer etiquette. What the exact requirements for such a privilege would be, however, as well as whether members would be allowed to eat at Yaeyama Style during the summer or would still have to wait until October to get their noodle fix, are unclear, though, so for now it’s only foreigners who Arima is willing to serve.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/J Cast News, The Yaeyama Mainichi, Yahoo! Japan News/Okinawa Times via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Are you game enough to eat Fire Ramen at this Japanese restaurant in Kyoto?

-- This Tokyo ramen restaurant is the first to ever receive a Michelin dining guide star

-- Japanese sushi chain responds to racism claims after serving excessive wasabi to foreigners

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Unless he checks passports at the door, I betcha I could sneak into his restaurant. He probably has not considered the possibility that there are Japanese who look European.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

I myself have worked in the restaurant business for over 20 years and I totally understand him and think he is bold and does the right thing. You get so fed up with customers who can't behave or think that their every whim is law. Those people have to get down from their high horses and get a firm grip on reality. I am not a servant or a slave you can boss around as you like, I provide a valuable service and should be treated with the same respect I show the customer.

I have shown people the door when they couldn't behave inside the restaurant i worked at, and they got angry and threatend to boycott our place. Good riddance I said, "we don't need rude customers like you!"

So, two thumbs up to Arima! :D I hope he won't loose to much on this protest and I also hope that people understand why he does this and support him.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

The market will determine if he should lose his business, not you, Zichi.

Customers come in all shapes and sizes, but it astonishes me that anyone would think it ok to consume food/drink purchased elsewhere inside a restaurant. Complete stupidity.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

He is racist for banning Japanese. But I know most Ryukuan people don't hate Japanese. I think it's a gimmick to get more foreign customers.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Oh, the irony. If he's willing to lose income, let him try I say.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

No soup for you!, just like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is Japan-follow the rules!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

During my 27 years in Japan, I've never seen Japanese share a bowl of 600 Yen ramen. And I've never experienced Japanese pulling out a sandwich in a 8 seater ramen shop. And this is in Okinawa, one of the most expensive vacation places in Japan, at least during the high season. So one would assume that Japanese Tourists there a not among the poorest in the country. To be honest I have difficulties believing that story and reasoning. Fake news ?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Maybe his "no children" sign is not big or prominent enough. I doubt I'd notice that small writing on the door.

He describes people walking in with kids (not allowed) and people sharing bowls of ramen (not allowed), something parents and children are most likely to do. From the Japanese sign, the "outside food" looks like it's souvenir type stuff bought nearby.

I don't disagree with his policy, its his joint with his rules. Some of the rule-breaking sounds like its for kids though, not adult monster customers. It is the thought of self-entitled adult monster customers that is getting this attention on Twitter.

If he wants to stick to his policies my advice is a huge sign saying "NO CHILDREN" in English.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He is racist for banning Japanese

The article says he welcomes other Asian tourists so unless Japanese is not considered to be 'Asian' anymore then he is not racist. You can say it is a stupid business decision. Rather than dealing with each customer individually he decide to just ban them all.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ultimately it’s a business decision. If foreign tourists happily order one bowl each without complaint and Japanese constantly try to be cheap and share bowls and complain if they can’t, then it’s logical as a businessman that he would favour the foreign tourists as customers which result in more revenue. However no need to discriminate by nationality. The sign should simply say if you enter and want to share a bowl then your request will he declined with no exceptions. Ask to share at own risk.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japanese DO bring outside food and drinks all the time and they ARE notorious for sharing dishes. The rudest for me was one person ordering the buffet and sharing with their party or playing up good for the whole table (even if everyone paid) and half of it goes wasted, left in the big plate in the middle of the table! And I also despise the “customer is king” mentality here, even if I am the king. It leads to self entitlement, stuff abuse and thoughtless waste of materials and packaging. But I cannot agree with banning all Japanese customers. Most Japanese are great customers. You take a seat, you buy a bowl, it’s common in small establishments. You don’t order a bowl, you get out. It’s not like they could stump him. The no kids or babies rule is a bit “giri giri”.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Good judgement. Customer is god , too old fashion.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Never have I seen anyone pull these sorts of stunts in a restaurant in this country. Most of those I see acting badly are US servicement and Chinese tourists.

what, have you been living under a rock? I see Japanese high school students in Gusto acting terrible, running up and down the place, dancing, loud, ignoring all the other patrons until a staff member bold enough to tell them to quiet down comes along. As for Japanese bringing their own food, Ive seen them bring in thermos bottles, fill up each bottle with coffee, juice, tea etc.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I can understand people wanting to share a bowl of ramen mid-summer, it's pretty heavy stuff. Tbh I'd probably find something else to eat anyway.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

While I get where he's coming from (Japanese customers can be just as rude as any other nationality), Chinese are by far the worst

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Refreshing to hear a story that's showing that its not only the foreign tourists that are a problem. The locals should turn the mirror on themselves and realize their flaws.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

He is racist for banning Japanese.

racist how is that he is Japanese. maybe discrimination but hey in Japan they charge women for less for all you can eat and even have ladies day so all is good. If hes not breaking any laws and it helps his business get rid of the time/money wasting customers then so be it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He's not racist, as Japanese isn't a race. He is discriminatory though, and it should be illegal.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Okinawans don't consider themselves to be Japanese, this is the prime example of that.

Japanese needs to understand this.

At the same time, I am sure Japanese don't consider Okinawans to be Japanese, this is why Japan dumps all its US bases onto Okinawa like a trash landfill.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, he's frustrated at the way his establishment has been abused by the locals... and is making a point. He needs to make a living.. this isn't "Starbucks". Foreign tourists generally have a tight schedule, so wish to move on, so are ideal patrons. He sells meals, so if you sit around and don't buy another meal, that's a loss for him - it's purely common sense Business. Though... perhaps I think he should ask his visitors to rate his restaurant too and by doing so, allowing them to be on his billboard-facebook of patrons.

So... good on him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He could start a table charge, or cover charge or do the Japanese practice of providing a small dish to every customer that they must pay. He could do a lot of things, but the point is that he has tried, and fought with customers, lost staff because of the stress, and has finally decided that he wants less stress and the easiest way was to just say no to Japanese. Good for him. It's his business; he can decide what happens. He will succeed or fail based on those decisions. I support him 100%.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I, on the other hand, would like to put a sign up on my AirBnB listing that flat out says, "Chinese are not welcome" but AirBnB has a non-discrimination policy that is completely whack* and you would soon be booted from their system should you do that.

*Completely whack in like you cannot see the guest's profile photo until AFTER you have approved a request for a stay. Fortunately, there is a hack to see the photo, but when it comes to who I allow in MY house, I will definitely be making the decisions there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Unless he checks passports at the door, I betcha I could sneak into his restaurant.

One might do that, but the owner would catch you when he sees your bad manners. (you meaning anyone who entered his establishment, not you specifically)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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