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Ramen manners debate: Should you put your used napkins into your bowl after you eat?

19 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Ramen restaurants are pretty casual places, so you’re not going to find fancy cloth napkins at one. Instead, there are dispensers of paper napkins, or, in a lot of cases, simply boxes of tissues for customers to grab sheets from as needed.

But that casualness doesn’t mean that ramen joints are manners-free areas, and one frustrated restaurant in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, tweeted out an etiquette request for anyone dining there.

Screen-Shot-2023-04-10-at-8.56.10.png

What’s going on in that photo, a used tissue that’s been placed by a customer in their bowl after they finished eating, is exactly what the restaurant, called Tatsuya, doesn’t want to see. “This has been happening a lot lately,” the tweet from the restaurant’s official account says, but do these people put their [used] tissues into their bowls when they eat at home? When they’re done eating, do they not throw away their own tissues, and have their wives throw them away for them?”

So really, there are two parts to this issue. The first is whether or not it’s OK to put used tissues into the bowl when you’re done eating. The second is whether or not you’re supposed to throw your tissues away yourself.

Starting with the question of tissues in the bowl, most restaurants will be grateful if you don’t put them there. Some commenters reacting to Tatsuya’s tweet said they put their tissues in the bowl to make it easier for the restaurant staff to clear the table after they finish eating and vacate the seat, and also so that the workers won’t have to directly touch someone else’s used tissues. But while those are considerate goals, used tissues are trash, and most restaurants would rather not have their tableware serve as a trash bin, even for a short time. The grossness factor gets amped up by the fact that a lot of steam rises up from a bowl of broth, so diners often aren’t just using their tissues to wipe away an errant bit of food or drop of broth, but also to wipe a runny nose, Making the whole thing ickier still is that most people don’t drink all the broth from the bowl, so tossing a tissue into the liquid means that whatever substances were wiped with the tissue then seep out and mix with the broth to form a sort of trash stew.

All that said, you will sometimes see ramen restaurant workers themselves tossing used tissues and trash into ramen bowls as they’re bussing tables or counters. Usually, though, this is seen as a mark of a lower-class eatery, and most ramen restaurants that take deep pride in their eating experiences don’t do it.

The second issue, whether or not customers are supposed to throw away their own tissues, is more complicated. In general, at ramen places, napkins/tissues are something that the staff expects to take care of when bussing tables. “I’ve never heard of customers being required to clean up their own tissues,” said one commenter. “I’ve always seen the staff take care of that when they clear away the bowls.” “Aren’t the trash cans usually in a separate place from where the customers are?” asked another.

However, some ramen restaurants are staffed by very small crews, with customers expected to take care of certain things by themselves, such as pouring their own water or tea from a central drink station or, in some cases, throwing away their own tissues. A good policy to follow is to, before getting up and leaving, take a look around the restaurant and see if there are any visible trash cans in the part of the restaurant easily accessible by customers. If so, there’s a chance that the staff would appreciate it if you tossed out your own tissues. Part of Tatsuya’s frustration stems from the restaurant having a trash can right under the shelf it keeps its tissues on, so if you spot a setup like that, putting your tissues in the trash can instead of your bowl is the better option.

Source: Twitter/@tatuyautsunomia via Hachima Kiko

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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How about we throw them on the floor instead?

What a stupid request I always put my napkins in the bowls to help staff with the clean up. They always do it themselves anyway that I have seen and hopefully those dishes are washed in a manner that sterilises them anyway!

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I put my napkin in the garbage bin on the way out. Extremely simple to do.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Confused here as to why this is even an issue, when I as well have seen staff, not just in ramen shops, but restaurants and eateries all over Japan, do the exact same thing when cleaning up a table.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

What does it really matter? The bowls will be washed. Everything I use to eat my meal will remain on the table but I prefer to tidy up a little before leaving but even that is not that important. Many places don't even provide napkins.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Moaning about people cleaning up the wrong way. Meh.

I can't say I've been to many ramen shops with toilets I'd want to use if I were a woman. They are usually shackesque, even in places with thirty plus seats and lines out the door which must be coining it in. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They're a precious lot in Japan, aren't they.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

[ “This has been happening a lot lately,” the tweet from the restaurant’s official account says, but do these people put their [used] tissues into their bowls when they eat at home? When they’re done eating, do they not throw away their own tissues, and have their wives throw them away for them?” ]

I don’t like that tone…; also, they’re being extremely rude to their customers. Very annoying…; imho, this is a non-issue.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

First world issues. What to do with our tissues.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What I really want to know is, why do ramen masters all seem to pose like that in photos?

Image!

Sometimes, from watching different "foodie" shows here in Japan, the ramen shop owner's, who are supposedly the "best" in Japan, all seem to think they are the "Oya-bun" of their little world, and treat their cooks and staff like peasants or worse.

I am always like; "Damn it's just RAMEN not a 3 star Michelin restaurant!"

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I had an American business acquaintance who always put his paper or cloth napkins on his plate even at $$$ restaurants. He did not make a good impression on our clients who were Japanese businessmen. Also cloth napkins on leftover scraps makes it much more difficult to clean cooking oils and sauces from them. What about those people that put salt and condiments on their food before tasting it. When one of my sons was around 12 years old, he brought one of his friends for dinner. This kid started eating before we all were even served and when he finished, he stood up and walked out of the room and left us without saying a word. He could not use a knife at all and it was rather comical to watch him fumble around. I have never seen anything like that. He is probably the type of person who puts his napkins on his plate or bowl.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

 Also cloth napkins on leftover scraps makes it much more difficult to clean cooking oils and sauces from them

It's not like any restaurant cleans them themselves, and if you didnt notice, it was talking about paper not cloth.

You make some serious leaps of the imagination in the rest of what you wrote. lol!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

[ “This has been happening a lot lately,” the tweet from the restaurant’s official account says, but do these people put their [used] tissues into their bowls when they eat at home? When they’re done eating, do they not throw away their own tissues, and have their wives throw them away for them?” ]

note:

who the … do you think you are to talk about our wives and what we do at home? You’re supposed to do your job. Shut up.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Thanks for the full service including cleaning. I will leave the tissue on the table from now on

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What’s wrong with these people? Make the grub, serve and clean up and stop being a petty silly sausage, life’s too short.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I agree with falseflagsteve, above. Life is too short for all these silly rules. Japanese people pack their lives with all sorts or rules and regulations, reducing uncertainty to near-zero. And making their own lives miserable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I kind of get both sides of this issue but I have to side on the rule of simplicity is best and, importantly, don't annoy your paying customers with pettiness. Putting a tissue in a bowl will not impact in any way shape or form the flow of a restaurant's clean up. Furthermore, from the age of 16 I have had my share of dishwashing jobs and I can assure you any dish that goes through a legit, automatic dishwasher will be as cleans they come. Lastly, I can only say, "Only in Japan." But let's respect that, too!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

SanjinosebleedApr. 11  07:06 am JST

How about we throw them on the floor instead?

What a stupid request I always put my napkins in the bowls to help staff with the clean up. They always do it themselves anyway that I have seen and hopefully those dishes are washed in a manner that sterilizes them anyway!

What is this, Emily Post? Aren't there more things to worry about?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't get it. Would they rather people leave used tissues on the counter? In the bowl or on the plate is the most sanitary place to put them, and it makes it so staff don't have to touch them with their hands to throw them away. Japan really needs to implement lessons in schools for critical thinking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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