Yoshinoya is Japan’s most prolific chain of gyudon (beef bowl) restaurants. With locations seemingly everywhere, many dishing up hot, inexpensive meals 24 hours a day, Yoshinoya is always a viable dining choice for busy businesspeople, starving students, or ravenous revelers looking for mid-all-nighter nourishment.
But is it an acceptable place to go on a date? That’s the debate Japanese Twitter user @saoryu0420 set off with this tweet.
“You know, I understand women who don’t like the idea of going to Yoshinoya on a date. But women who say things like this are definitely popular with guys nowadays.
Girlfriend: “For lunch, Yoshinoya is fine.”
Boyfriend: “Are you really OK with a place like that?”
Girlfriend: “Who you eat with is more important than where you eat, you know.”
It’s true that a flexible attitude will almost always help your standing in the dating pool, regardless of gender. Still, some online commenters felt that a guy going to Yoshinoya with his girlfriend is bending the bounds of traditional courtship too far. Criticisms included:
“If the guy is a working adult, even if his girlfriend says ‘Yoshinoya is fine,’ I still want him to say ‘No, that’s not OK. We’re on a date.’ I mean, it’s a date, right? No way Yoshinoya is O.K.!!!!”
“Even if it wasn’t a date, what’s the point of going to all the trouble to meet someone, then going somewhere where you can’t have a nice conversation and just stuffing your faces. Why’d you even bother meeting up? You know, you can actually talk to each other if you go to a cafe instead. That’s why I don’t like Yoshinoya – because a stylish café is better.”
“If it’s a first date, the girl is going to go all out dressing up and making herself look good. Obviously she’s spent a lot of time and money on her clothes and makeup. It’s upsetting to have a guy value all that so little, so for the first date, you’re better off keeping that in mind. Being a girl costs money.”
“Otaku want to take a prim and proper girl who’s not very worldly out to a restaurant regular people casually go to and have her say ‘I’ve never gone to a place like this before. But it’s really fun.’”
But on the other side of the debate were those who say there’s nothing wrong with a Yoshinoya date.
“Ummm…I’m a girl, and honestly, on a date I like going to Yoshinoya, so what’s the problem?”
“As long as you’re with the person you love, does the place really matter? The main thing is spending time with that person. Everything else is just an extra bonus.”
“I like going to casual places like that. Sure, I’m happy when a guy takes me someplace fancy, but I don’t want that every time. If you start going to fancy places as a matter of course, you stop being able to feel happy about the little things too.”
“[Because Yoshinoya has counter seating] there’s a good chance that you’ll end up sitting next to each other, so I think it’s actually a pretty good choice for a date.”
Speaking as someone whose first meal with his now-wife as a living-together couple was a mutually enjoyable, sitting-next-to-each-other-romantic dinner at a beef bowl restaurant (though at Yoshinoya rival Sukiya), I can attest that going for gyudon isn’t the kiss of death for a happy date. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that in the scenario originally laid out by @saoryu0420, it’s the girlfriend who first suggests the (usually) ultra-affordable lunch option, so it might be best to wait until your lady friend gives some sort of sign that she’s agreeable to the idea before you steer her towards the entrance of the nearest Yoshinoya.
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