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Tokyo ramen restaurant bans customers from watching YouTube videos on their phones while eating

18 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Tokyo’s Takadanobaba neighborhood is sometimes called a “ramen battlefield.” With Waseda University and several specialized schools located within the district, Takadanobaba is packed day and night with hungry students, which has resulted in one of Tokyo’s highest concentration of noodle joints and intense competition for customers.

But there’s a battle of a different sort going on at one Takadanobaba restaurant which has recently enacted a new policy: customers are prohibited from watching videos on their phones while eating.

The rule went into effect this month at Debu-chan, the ramen restaurant pictured above with the red cloth hanging above its entrance. Owner Kota Kai tweeted about installing a no-watching-videos-while-eating rule on March 16, and has now decided to go ahead with the idea.

Two things led to the decision. First, Kai is troubled by seeing customers focus more on their phones than their food, lamenting the noodles getting soggy if they’re not eaten quickly. “It’s painful for me to see the ramen that I put my soul into making get ruined right before my eyes,” he says.

The second reason is more practical. Like a lot of ramen restaurants, Debu-chan doesn’t have a very large seating capacity, and it’s popular enough that people will often line up outside and wait for a seat to open up. “It’s got to be hard for the people waiting to see people who were seated before them relaxing with videos,” Kai believes, and the no-videos policy should speed up the process of getting customers in and out in a speedy manner so someone else can then take their place.

▼ Debu-chan specializes in Hakata-style tonkotsu (pork stock) ramen.

Screen-Shot-2023-03-22-at-8.23.54.png

Debu-chan’s video-watching ban has sparked debate, as it touches on a number of Japanese cultural values and societal norms. Japan, generally, has a high level of respect for food and chefs, and vacating your table in a timely manner when other people are waiting for a seat is considered proper manners, especially during lunch or dinner rushes in big cities like Tokyo. On the other hand, ramen is considered a casual meal, something to be enjoyed free of the stuffy pretense of haute cuisine eateries. It’s common for ramen restaurants to have stacks or shelves of manga for customers to read or a TV for them to watch, so there’s no industry-wide taboo regarding distracted dining either.

So while many Twitter commenters have applauded the video ban at Debu-chan, others feel like it’s an overextension of authority on the restaurant’s part, as shown in reactions such as:

“The surest way to tell that someone was raised poorly is when you see them doing something else too while eating.”

“Personally, I don’t like it when restaurants force that sort of ‘we put our souls into this’ attitude on the customers…I prefer to eat my food without that kind of heavy atmosphere.”

“You’re not supposed to do something else while eating if there are other people around, right? I mean, it’d be OK if it was something light, like a sandwich [but not ramen].”

“Weird. I’ve been in this ramen restaurant, and they’ve got a TV [above the counter]. So watching TV while eating is OK, but watching YouTube isn’t?”

“Every time I see someone playing with their phone while eating, I want to order them to pick one or the other.”

“Whether the noodles get soggy or not is on the customer, isn’t it?”

Kai doesn’t seem to think people who watch videos while eating are intentionally trying to ruin his noodles or keep people waiting, saying “I think they’re just relaxing and dining in the way they enjoy, but a restaurant isn’t your home.” He adds that using your phone to take photos of the ramen after it’s served is still allowed, but if you want to watch anything other than what’s playing on the restaurant’s TV while you eat, you may need to get your ramen fix elsewhere, which, at least, isn’t a very hard thing to do in Takadanobaba.

Source: J-Cast via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Kyoto’s awesome fire ramen: A one-of-a-kind dining experience our reporter Mai just tried【Video】

-- One of Japan’s best ramen chains now has a VR game that lets you cook their noodles【Video】

-- Is Japan’s new Super Thick Ramen worth waiting two hours in the Tokyo cold for?【Taste test】

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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So, if it's another video site other than You Tube, is OK?

Excellent question! Someone should go there and start watching Pornhub or Pornzog at full blast and when the proprietor comes you show him that its not YouTube.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, if it's another video site other than You Tube, is OK?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I mean, true enough, but, like...is there anything on Youtube that really can't wait until you're done at the restaurant?

No, not at all, I usually never watch anything when I am in a restaurant, but if there is an incident where I had to, I want to be in control and decide it for myself, but I feel like if a restaurant puts that kind of a sign up (which is their absolute right to do) I don't have to give them my business either, in other words, you can put whatever sign you want, in the end, it will always be my personal choice whether I want to support your business or not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Then I will go to one that will let me, simple. They have their rules and I don't need to follow or support it with my money, just go somewhere else.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

EWD … eating while distracted!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How dare the commenter disrespect my sandwich culture

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It must be annoying when the restaurant is full and potential customers have been asked to wait a little outside, while most of those inside (some with their meals long since finished) are just sitting fannying around on their phones. The ones watching videos on loud without headphones are particularly obnoxious.

Those are the worst. When people are finished and they just sit there. SO RUDE. And SO many people here do it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

From a more practical perspective it also means customers dont linger, so they can get more people in, which is, at the end of the day, the most important thing for these small establishments.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I never eat outside my home, but what really bugs me is people shopping whilst glued to their phones, they are always bumping into other people or just standing in the middle of an aisle taking up space.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

First, Kai is troubled by seeing customers focus more on their phones than their food, lamenting the noodles getting soggy if they’re not eaten quickly. “It’s painful for me to see the ramen that I put my soul into making get ruined right before my eyes,” he says.

Kai sounds like a perfectionist if not a dictator in the making

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Well, it's their restaurant so if the want to impose their values on their customers that's their right, but personally that's not what I pay for, and I won't be eating there for sure.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This rule should certainly apply if you're say on a date. That's just common sense and courtesy.

true

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Aly RustomToday  07:43 am JST

Tokyo ramen restaurant bans customers from watching YouTube videos on their phones while eating

The title and article only mention the prohibition while eating. What if a customer sits down, orders, and then watches a video only while waiting for their food to come?

This rule should certainly apply if you're say on a date. That's just common sense and courtesy.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Not all places are the same, even if you only consider Ramen shops some are clearly designed to serve people as efficiently as possible so lots of busy clients can have their food without problems while others are obviously trying to get clients by giving a much more relaxed environment where to eat at leisure.

If the rule is clear and upfront then people can know immediately what to expect and decide if they want or not to eat ad Debu-chan or not, after all it is Takada no baba, where you can find another Ramen shop walking a couple of extra seconds if you want to eat without being rushed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tokyo ramen restaurant bans customers from watching YouTube videos on their phones while eating

The title and article only mention the prohibition while eating. What if a customer sits down, orders, and then watches a video only while waiting for their food to come?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

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