J-Town Net is a website that runs surveys for Japanese people online, asking all the important questions like ranking the prefectures by best personalities and deciding whether trains are crowded or not.
Recently they put out the results of another survey, one asking people whether they wait for everyone’s orders to arrive at a restaurant before they start eating, or if they dig in as soon as their food arrives.
It’s an interesting social question, and the two answers both have their pros and cons. Is it polite to wait for everyone else, or is it polite to not make them feel weird by sitting there with food in front of you?
Here’s how the 735 Japanese people who answered broke down:
Eat Before Everyone Else: 55.2 percent
Wait Until Everyone’s Arrives: 44.8 percent
Honestly that’s pretty close to fifty-fifty, with a small preference for not waiting. The numbers make sense though, as there are so many different situations and types of people that could change up which strategy is better.
For those who preferred not waiting, they cited wanting to eat food while it was still warm and fresh, being told by the people they’re with to go ahead and eat, and usually telling others to do the same too.
One person also brought up another valid point: “When the food arrives, I eat first no matter if I’m with my boss or my friends. I’m a slow eater, and even if I start eating right away I usually finish after they’re done and end up making them wait. I tell them I take a long time and start before them.”
Another point many of them brought up was that they just say osaki ni before eating ahead of others, which is a polite way of saying you’re doing something before other people, such as leaving work for the day. It’s practically a phrase tailor made for this situation.
However, those who preferred to wait cited being embarrassed to eat first, enjoying their food more when eating together, or opposite of the last person, being a fast eater and forcing themselves to take their time.
Even among those who preferred to wait though, there were some who conceded it was sometimes not the best idea:
“I typically wait. But for ramen, hot soba, or curry rice where the rice will soak up the sauce if you’re not quick, I sometimes eat first after saying something to the people I’m with. If it’s curry with naan though, then of course I wait.”
“I wait. But I always tell others to go ahead when they’re with me. Waiting feels cold, and making them wait when they’re hungry is cruel. Plus you never know when your own food is going to arrive.”
Those are some solid points there, especially about it feeling colder to wait. Personally I couldn’t imagine waiting to eat with any of my friends, or for them to wait with me. Conversely, if I was eating with my boss or someone new I wanted to make a good impression on, I might consider waiting… depending on how hungry I was.
Source: NicoNico News via My Game News Flash
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