Photo: Pakutaso
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Okinawa pub posts 'Japanese only' admission sign based on some shaky logic

116 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Outside an izakaya (Japanese pub) in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture, a notice had been posted the management. At the top was an illustration of a cute cheerful samurai, bowing deeply as in greeting, but the words below were decidedly less welcoming.

The first line of the notice, written in Japanese, translates to “Because our staff can only speak Japanese,” which is repeated immediately below in English. After that, though, the notice continued in English only, declaring:

Japanese Only (sorry)

We don’t allow customers from overseas to enter our bar.

▼ A photo of the notice

Screen-Shot-2023-10-05-at-9.12.35.png

Bars with Japanese-customers-only policies aren’t unheard of in Japan, but they’re becoming increasingly uncommon in the modern age. Moreover, when you do come across such establishments, they’re generally dedicated bars, with menus almost entirely consisting of drinks, and often the presence of hostesses or “floor lady” pseudo-hostesses. Izakaya, on the other hand, are essentially restaurants, where customers are expected to order both food and drinks, and it’s competitively rarer for them to have such exclusionary admission policies.

According to local newspaper Okinawa Times, the notice had been posted since at least a year ago, during which the management has turned away non-Japanese would-be customers. Eventually the sign came to the attention of two members of a Naha residents group that reported it to various government departments, including the Naha City Tourism Division and Okinawa Convention Bureau. This prompted a visit by members of the Tourism Division in August of this year in which they asked the owner to take the sign down, especially in light of increasing numbers of overseas travelers visiting Okinawa following the lifting of pandemic protocols, but the owner refused to do so.

The owner claims that the notice wasn’t meant to be taken as discriminatory intent, saying “We only have one person working the dining hall, and one person in the kitchen, so we don’t have time to spare for customer interaction. We have no intent of discriminating.” Coupled with the sign’s disclaimer that the staff only speaks Japanese, that would seem to indicate that the aim of the no-customers-from-overseas rule was to eliminate time-consuming communication problems, but if that’s really the case, the more appropriate policy would have been “Customers must order in Japanese.” It’s pretty short-sighted to make a blanket assumption that all non-Japanese diners will be unable to speak Japanese, given that the number of people living outside Japan who’ve still acquired some basic proficiency with the language is higher than it’s ever been, as is the number of non-ethnically Japanese residents of Japan, most of whom can order food and drinks in the language without difficulty. Even if the owner’s concern was foreign customers asking for changes in how their food is prepared, something far more common at restaurants outside Japan than within it, a sign saying “No menu substitutions allowed” would be sufficient and succinct.

With the sign getting increased attention, the owner has apparently rethought the Tourism Division’s request to remove it, and at some point in September it was taken down, with the owner saying “The writing was incorrect.”

However, he also added “What I want the government to do isn’t to try to attract travelers from other countries, but to teach people about izakaya culture.” But if what he really wants is a broader understanding of izakaya drinking and dining traditions, presumably on a global scale (since Japanese people are already familiar with those traditions), it’s hard to see how turning people away because they’re not Japanese was going to accomplish that.

Source: Okinawa Times

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© SoraNews24

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116 Comments
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It’s pretty short-sighted to make a blanket assumption that all non-Japanese diners will be unable to speak Japanese, given that the number of people living outside Japan who’ve still acquired some basic proficiency with the language is higher than it’s ever been

Indeed. Where is 有道 出人 when you need him?

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

but to teach people about izakaya culture

Teaching foreigners about Japanese way only.

-27 ( +12 / -39 )

I remember being part of a group of ALTs that were refused entry to a bar in Chiba for 'nomihodai' because foreigners drink too much. TIJ!

11 ( +40 / -29 )

Racism.

26 ( +39 / -13 )

Just another epic fail for Japan - total inability to communicate with people that didn't grow up learning their language. It's because their method of teaching English sucks. Again - who else in the world is having a problem with this? No one. Everyone else in any other modern first world country on Earth has figured out how to do deal with tourists without difficulty.

Often times even if you speak Japanese to Japanese people they will panic so hard at the thought of having to deal with a foreigner that they can't comprehend what you're saying. It's like all of their listening skills automatically shut off.

I tend to ignore Izakayas now. There are great pubs in Tokyo where you don't have huge communication problems because the majority of customers are foreign to begin with. I'll continue supporting those places with my money.

-20 ( +30 / -50 )

2023?

13 ( +25 / -12 )

I tend to ignore Izakayas now. There are great pubs in Tokyo where you don't have huge communication problems because the majority of customers are foreign to begin with. I'll continue supporting those places with my money.

That's quite sad. Seems there is little reason to live in Tokyo or Japan if the eating out culture is so troublesome.

Often times even if you speak Japanese to Japanese people they will panic so hard at the thought of having to deal with a foreigner that they can't comprehend what you're saying. It's like all of their listening skills automatically shut off.

That used to happen to me. It disheartened me too. Don't give up Wolfshine. Treat such encounters as a learning experience. Try-reflect-try again.

Everyone else in any other modern first world country on Earth has figured out how to do deal with tourists without difficulty.

There must be at least one other place outside of Japan in the whole wide world that is making the same gaff.

We all know how I hate sweeping binary generalisations.

6 ( +19 / -13 )

I think if we are being honest with ourselves, there are many bars in the U.S. that cater to a very narrow demographic. They might not put up a sign--that would get unwanted attention--but if you happened to be the wrong type and tried to order a drink, you would immediately feel unwelcome.

18 ( +38 / -20 )

think if we are being honest with ourselves, there are many bars in the U.S. that cater to a very narrow demographic

Absolutely. As a exmilitary personnel in NI there were many bars that people were not welcome in. It was a matter of life and death. It continues to this day.

2 ( +22 / -20 )

Non Japanese who have lived here for a while know this situation is not uncommon. Okinawa has been off my places to go for a couple of years as I've seen this all to often there in particular. A mistake? Misunderstanding? Poorly written signage?

No, it's discriminatory. They just thought no one would care about the sign.

16 ( +28 / -12 )

obladiToday  07:29 am JST

I think if we are being honest with ourselves, there are many bars in the U.S. that cater to a very narrow demographic. They might not put up a sign--that would get unwanted attention--but if you happened to be the wrong type and tried to order a drink, you would immediately feel unwelcome.

I do not believe such a business would exist for very long except in the absolute tiniest town. In any event such a sign would get it shut down.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

It's many years since I last saw a Japanese-only sign.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

But whats the real reason behind the sign. Naha is the only place in Japan I have been where almost every night of the week I saw physical fights.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I remember being part of a group of ALTs that were refused entry to a bar in Chiba for 'nomihodai' because foreigners drink too much. TIJ! - Disillusioned

Had a work party last year at a nomi, tabehodai place that cut off our drinks after about 40mins. A waiter politely told one of our Japanese staff "the foreigners are drinking too much".

14 ( +16 / -2 )

On the one hand I understand: "The staff here is not conversant in other languages." That's just an attempt to be honest and I personally would not be upset. On the other hand, if a gaijin speaks good Japanese or is with someone who is Japanese or who uses the language well, why won't they be allowed to enter? It's an iffy dicey situation. I don't think it calls for any upset.

(And you'll notice, I hope, that I didn't say, "On the other hand, you have different fingers." I'm good with restraint.)

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Shut them down, or better yet let's do a YouTube story on them.

There have been foreigners there for 70 years, give me a break.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

It's many years since I last saw a Japanese-only sign.

Me too. But I never visit such establishments or go such areas that might have such signs. I spend my money elsewhere.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Indeed. Where is 有道 出人 when you need him?

Yes, the time is right for the return of Debito Arudou - the hero we never asked for, or even knew we needed.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Maybe his sign should say "Japanese-speaking people only".

15 ( +16 / -1 )

The shop just needs to list the N2 proficiency level required for entrance.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There are a few other restaurants and bars in Japan where foreigners aren’t allowed. Some might let foreigners in but make them feel unwelcome and uncomfortable by not serving them properly. We have received numerous complaints here at the embassy from tourists regarding this but there is nothing that the embassy can do in these situations except send an email to the Ministry of Tourism regarding this.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I speak almost fluent Japanese and never had a problem anywhere in Japan, even when accompanied by non-speaking foreigners.

I would just explain politely to them that I will be their interpreter and make sure they behave.

When I was in Okinawa, I was “that guy” to go to when they wanted to relax somewhere that wasn’t full of high-and-tight haircuts.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Disgusting prejudice against foreigners. How can a business owner be unable to use a free Google Translate? There are lots of translation devices, like PokeTalk, etc. Provide an English menu is easy and simple. How can this type of discrimination be accepted by law and authorities? It is a big shame, totally against the image of Japanese people being welcoming and polite, civilized.

25 ( +30 / -5 )

Elvis is Here said:

Where is 有道 出人 when you need him?

Dude, I came down to the comments to say literally the same thing, verbatum!

We're aging ourselves with that wisecrack at this point. I think ol' Debito jumped ship years ago. Last I heard he was humping a chalkboard at some obscure college in the US. Looks like his website is still up, but he seems to have chilled out with the "Japan is a racist hellhole" schtick a bit.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

They require customers to speak Japanese? In Naha, Okinawa? So if you walk up and say saki ga du numi busan ga, yamatu-guchi ya wakaran (I want to drink some alcohol, but don't understand Japanese) you'll be refused service?

(My Okinawan grammar is a little shaky but the point would get across.)

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Understandable, they probably had too many "vegetarians" and "gluten free warriors" wanting special dishes that they didn't want the trouble.

But anyway, why would you want to go to a bar, restaurant or any other establishment and give money with a sign on the door saying "we don't want you"?

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Japanese make the most polite racist comments and act like they aren't saying anything wrong. Just look at this young lady here talking about the body odor of western men (second lady): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxoZyjj4fYE

And yet, I get on the train with many Japanese ojisans, and it doesn't exactly smell like flowers in there.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Our restaurant has only Japanese language menus and staff can only speak Japanese (even after 6 years of world class compulsory English lessons and living around probably the most congested foreign community in Japan) so please speak Japanese with our team when placing your order.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Mr KiplingToday  09:06 am JST

Understandable, they probably had too many "vegetarians" and "gluten free warriors" wanting special dishes that they didn't want the trouble.

Haha. I'm sure they put the sign up for a reason: their experience. Blame the foreigners that caused them to put the sign up (American military, no doubt).

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Didn’t one patron of this izakaya not question the logic, the negativity associated, the bluntness, the passible backlash that such public notices convey and provoke, open to all manner of mis/interpretation?     

Toe-curlingly embarrassing, inappropriate, tin eared assumptions that all foreigners of any shape and size could actually able to communicate in Japanese.

The adverse publicity could well have harmed this izakaya business.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Cambridge Dictionary on discrimination.

treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their race, gender, sexuality, etc.:

Is this discrimination? Let's see. As from the picture, it's saying that the staff only speak Japanese. So, the way I took it is that if you were to speak other than Japanese to them, there would be lots of lost in communication. So, it would be okay to come in as long as you are comfortable with communicating in Japanese. - Maybe not.

However, part of the sign is cut-off, and can't make out that portion. I can't assume from the cut-off portion. If it were to say anything like "Foreigners not welcome," yes - discrimination. If it were to say something like "Speak Japanese only," than maybe not, since Japanese is technically the official language.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I have no problem with that little discrimination, because also I see and accept the necessity of Japanese people having there at least a few places where they can be alone amongst only themselves, without foreigners, military staff or tourists. But what really angers me when I am allowed into but immediately treated like a potential theft, having to pay in advance or every time parts of the orders are served. And that's for example done in all cities with US bases, not unique to Okinawa. Restaurant, izakaya or bar guests should never be treated like heavy criminals already beforehand as long as they don't act like those. In fact I would wish then also an information beforehand, that I am not welcomed as a guest because looking like a foreigner or suspect of not paying the invoice.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

In other words, please understand our unique culture.

If language was really the problem then they could have asked for help to make the sign and write something like:

We welcome all costumers. But please be aware our staff can only speak Japanese. Thank you for your understanding.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Our restaurant has only Japanese language menus and staff can only speak Japanese (even after 6 years of world class compulsory English lessons and living around probably the most congested foreign community in Japan) so please speak Japanese with our team when placing your order.

Even speaking it every single day learning to speak good English is tough and it seems especially so if your native language is Asian. My dear wife has lived in the US for close to twenty years and was taught something resembling English in China, but she still has trouble telling our little boy "don't screaming", "don't argument", or when she goes out she will tell me "I will back soon" or if I have a dirty dish she will tell me "sink the dish", meaning put the dish in the sink. She is an Electrical Engineer but she still struggles with her Chinglish. Have some sympathy for the difficulty of learning English.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Even some big corporations have inscrutable English translations. I was looking at a Japan market Panasonic vacuum for example and to this day have no idea what a "garbage dash" is. And then there were the Honda motorcycle parts manuals when I worked in a motorcycle shop that called a turn signal a "winkie" ^_^

9 ( +11 / -2 )

but if you are Asian and walk in you will be ignored.

There have a couple of instances of this in the United States in the news in recent years of this kind of thing. But when it happens, it becomes a major national news story. The managers and staff are fired, apologies issued and victims threaten legal action against management.

That's a wholly different situation from Japan, where the reaction is a heck of a lot more muted and the apologists come out in force.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I'd love to see a non-Japanese (white, black etc.) person who has a Japanese passport try to enter here. It would be a great demonstration to them of exactly how "Japanese" they really are!

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

There's always someone here trying to teach you about something to do with their "culture" when what is really needed is them getting some education on not being racist and discriminatory. I'm sure a lot of the elitists and racists on this site and worldwide will be apologetic for them and give them a pass as usual.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Indeed. Where is 有道 出人 when you need him?

No longer in Japan. Was seen in Hawaii a while back but now stateside location is unknown.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"We don't allow foreigners from overseas to enter our bar.

Many foreigners are residents and some are citizens.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

obladiToday 07:29 am JST

I think if we are being honest with ourselves, there are many bars in the U.S. that cater to a very narrow demographic. They might not put up a sign--that would get unwanted attention--but if you happened to be the wrong type and tried to order a drink, you would immediately feel unwelcome.

This is NOT the same thing. Feeling unwelcomed and not even being allowed to enter regardless of whatever is just an excuse for the prejudice. I've entered a few bars that catered to people not from my demographic; been there and done that in a few places, not just in the U.S., but around the world. At least I was allowed inside, and, no one tried to force me out, beat me up or called the cops. The U.S. has lots of racism in its history but it's a far more welcoming place than Japan, where racism is a way of life and many people don't see a problem with it as long as it doesn't affect them.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

 Coupled with the sign’s disclaimer that the staff only speaks Japanese, that would seem to indicate that the aim of the no-customers-from-overseas rule was to eliminate time-consuming communication problems, but if that’s really the case, the more appropriate policy would have been “Customers must order in Japanese.”

Its incredible that someone could be so abysmally stupid as to write this and be in the employ of a company passing itself off as a news agency.

If they don't have the staff to deal with communication issues they certainly don't have the staff to deal with the multitude of morons who are going to come in 1) without seeing the sign 2) without reading the sign 3) thinking they speak good enough Japanese when they don't and 4) coming in to troll them over the rule.

The literal easiest way for them to deal with all this is to simply be able to say "Japanese only, so get out and stay out." And I can't blame them as I have been here long enough to realize that Japanese standards are much too high for the typical non-Japanese to not make a complete mess of things.

Ever seen the guy comes in for the "complimentary appetizers", eats them and had a free glass of water, and just leaves without paying for anything? I have. And he is why I no longer see this service in Japan.

Ever seen the dude who thinks its his job to hit on the staff and take up their time at their most busy hour? I have, and he was at my table.

Ever seen the guy who thinks a dictionary in hand is the equivalent of being able to speak Japanese? I have. And if I had been here a bit longer I would have told him myself to get out.

As for myself I have gotten into places that are hostile to foreigners. All I had to do was talk to them in fluent Japanese and evidence the fact I am not like those uncouth gits that just got off the airplane, or seem to have.

Most of the people are not racists or even xenophobes. They have just been bitten one too many times by a foreign idiot and don't want that experience anymore. Neither do I frankly. But if you have learned the actual language of this land and abide by its mores, you will be fine.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

What happens when foreigners walk in who don't read or speak English? French or Italian for instance.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If they don't have the staff to deal with communication issues they certainly don't have the staff to deal with the multitude of morons who are going to come in 1) without seeing the sign 2) without reading the sign 3) thinking they speak good enough Japanese when they don't and 4) coming in to troll them over the rule.

Those would be arguments against putting the sign there in the first place, not against putting a more detailed one, all the reasons would apply the same for a "Japanese only" sign as well.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In other words, please understand our unique culture.

If language was really the problem then they could have asked for help to make the sign and write something like:

We welcome all costumers. But please be aware our staff can only speak Japanese. Thank you for your understanding.

Perfectly written.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh yeah, they have no gaijin signs all over the place at the onsens in Hokkaido and nobody seems care. How does that work?

Because of the number of xenophobes who hated Russians even before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

I am no xenophobe and I openly admit to buying Russian salmon at the store cause its the best. But I also have to admit that finding a Russian sailor/fisherman that knows how to properly use a Japanese onsen and will would be like trying to find love in a brothel.

The answer is for the ignorant to have a chaperone so they aren't hassling the staff and owners of these establishments.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

What happens when foreigners walk in who don't read or speak English?

This wouldn't happen.

It's only the locals who are atrocious at reading and speaking English.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

David Brent

What happens when foreigners walk in who don't read or speak English?

> This wouldn't happen.

> It's only the locals who are atrocious at reading and speaking English.

I have Italian family and friends who do not read or speak English.

There are many tourists who do not read or speak English.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Unless I am incorrect, there are still no laws stating everyone has a “Right” to come in your business…you’re wrong, not in Japan.

Japanese Only. (It doesn’t matter you speak Misu Sho’bi’ Language)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Here's to hoping these racist type of establishments go out of business as soon as possible.

Cheers with a British Pint

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Some businesses like hotels must accept all people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I remember being part of a group of ALTs that were refused entry to a bar in Chiba for 'nomihodai' because foreigners drink too much. TIJ!

I remember leading a group of Irish football fans to an izakaya with nomihodai during the 2002 World Cup.

Not sure how that turned out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Come to think of it, wouldn't mind inviting this owner to a local pub in West ham London on a Saturday afternoon.

Get him to join into the local choir of I'm for ever blowing bubbles.

Show him some real British racism.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Recently, an (American, I'm guessing) woman in front of me in line at Starbucks couldn't speak a word of Japanese, made zero effort to speak slow or simple English, and had a very long list of customization demands for her drink order (including "I want it extra hot" - ???). The poor barista gathered two other baristas to come over to help, the whole thing took up 10 minutes of everyone's time, and at the end the woman made a show of being visibly irritated that her drink wasn't made exactly the way she wanted it.

I suspect it's things like this which contribute to Japanese establishments wanting to ban people from overseas. I'm not saying it's OK, but it's at least a bit understandable. It blows my mind how someone who doesn't speak the language of the place they're in is unwilling to go with the flow. And many Western countries are big on customization - vegan, gluten free, substitute A for B, extra, on the side... it's not the Japanese way, and it makes it difficult for staff to deal with such demands (especially if those demands are coming through in fast and complex English).

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Pretzel logic. Ask any continental European and they will say English language ability equates to university education or equivalent.

The arrogance of English speakers. All languages are important.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Desert TortoiseToday 08:02 am JST

I do not believe such a business would exist for very long except in the absolute tiniest town. In any event such a sign would get it shut down.

We have a fancy French restaurant in town that doesn't serve Asians. There is no sign saying so, but if you are Asian and walk in you will be ignored. Even if you are part of a party of people who include whites, the whole party will be ignored. You can sit down but after than there will be no menu, no water, just ignored until you leave. As well known as this habit is the state has never taken action and our county is so backward and racist they don't care.

They can be sued for that by anyone that receives such treatment at a minimum. The Supreme Court hasn't overturned the Civil Rights Act of 1964 yet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ONE pub!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

....and we don't know the real reason.... get a grip chaps..... there are plenty of other places to dine.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

There are restaurants with some very strange rules. There is one, that unless you are a regular customer, you can't enter. To become a regular customer you have to be invited by a regular customer with permission of the owner first! A regular customer was banned from this restaurant because he brought his wife without getting a permission from the owner first. That kind of place I have absolutely no intention of going to!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

diagonalslipToday 01:37 pm JST

....and we don't know the real reason.... get a grip chaps..... there are plenty of other places to dine.

The real reason for posting a racist demand? If this is illegal, and from what I read it seems to be, it doesn't matter what your excuse is for having an illegal policy.

ONE pub!

One pub that should be made an example of.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are exclusive restaurants where it is very difficult for most to visit unless very rich or introduced.

Yes In Japan there are many many restaurants like that too. Mrs Elvis got invited to a sushi bar that was full of Microsoft executives. Twice. I didn't get the invite coz I had to work. And don't know sushi from bangers and mash!!! And don't pretend otherwise.

My favourite restaurant in Dublin is called "Wallace’s Taverna" Luckily they speak English and do a good Spag bol. Check it out on the World Wide Web internet.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Indeed. No language no talkie-talkie. Seriously though, language is part of cultural identity you see

so you made the argument for me. All languages are important.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You don’t need a sign to exclude foreign customers. You just block their way, shouting in Japanese and crossing your arms into a big X shape. Happened to me a few times. The last time was one place in Kobe who welcomed my husband but barred my way when I tried to follow him in. “Why can’t I come in? We’re closing. You let him in. He’s a regular customer. No, I’m not, and that’s my wife. You’ll both have to leave we’re closing” 9pm. Xenophobic liars.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You know what, that’s 150% fine too. Their shop, their rules. My wallet, my money. You don’t want me, I don’t have to spend my money there. It all works out for everyone.

The people trying to “trick” their way into these places or “fight for equal access” is bs. Why would you want to be somewhere your not welcome, AND have to give them money?! Nah I’m good, I’ll go somewhere else

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Try making some anti-racism laws (here) and then Japan will enter into the 20th (sic) …the 21st century.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

GillislowTierToday 02:43 pm JST

You know what, that’s 150% fine too. Their shop, their rules. My wallet, my money. You don’t want me, I don’t have to spend my money there. It all works out for everyone.

The people trying to “trick” their way into these places or “fight for equal access” is bs. Why would you want to be somewhere your not welcome, AND have to give them money?! Nah I’m good, I’ll go somewhere else

If you're not brave enough to take on racists, that's fine. Not everybody can be a hero.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Its not a big deal.

If you want to enter that restaurant just say: "I'm Japanese (Watashi wa Nihon-jin desu)".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

When foreign friends of mine saw signs like this, they say that it is a nice warning that the people in the place are not people that they want to meet. So they just walk on.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Original WingToday 12:32 pm JST

Recently, an (American, I'm guessing) woman in front of me in line at Starbucks couldn't speak a word of Japanese, made zero effort to speak slow or simple English, and had a very long list of customization demands for her drink order (including "I want it extra hot" - ???). The poor barista gathered two other baristas to come over to help, the whole thing took up 10 minutes of everyone's time, and at the end the woman made a show of being visibly irritated that her drink wasn't made exactly the way she wanted it.

> I suspect it's things like this which contribute to Japanese establishments wanting to ban people from overseas. I'm not saying it's OK, but it's at least a bit understandable. It blows my mind how someone who doesn't speak the language of the place they're in is unwilling to go with the flow. And many Western countries are big on customization - vegan, gluten free, substitute A for B, extra, on the side... it's not the Japanese way, and it makes it difficult for staff to deal with such demands (especially if those demands are coming through in fast and complex English).

Don't know your exact point but back during the bubble days when Japanese thought they were on top of the world, I was in Guam with my Japanese girlfriend, I saw instances of this very same thing but no signs saying "Americans Only" or English Speakers Only." One instance of something doesn't mean It's OK to discriminate against that person nor EVERYONE else. The staff in these types of establishments have to routinely deal with drunk and belligerent Japanese people who berate and sometimes assault them. Do they put up signs then? Propping up Japan like this and excusing this type of behavior is also a big part of the problem.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

The food's probably bloody lousy anyway. Sounds like one of those gaffs for the local old boys who can't boil an egg.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

 remember being part of a group of ALTs that were refused entry to a bar in Chiba for 'nomihodai' because foreigners drink too much. TIJ!

To Japanese, nomihodai is a convenience. To many foreigners, especially ALTs, it is a challenge.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

That's fine. Anything that is "Japanese only" is by definition inferior because it is limiting and does not allow the best of ALL parts of the world (by may well allow the worst of Japan). But, there's no harm in showing how intolerant a lot of Japan is despite BEGGING foreign travelers to come and bail them out.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Original Wing; When you got to Starbucks you should have known you were in the wrong place

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you are not willing to serve customers, then don't open a pub. Maybe these proprietors need to study the definition of the word "customer".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If their concern is truely just related to a langauge barrier, then why not upgrade to a digital set-up, letting customers order by smart phones or tablets computers ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Only happened to me once, 15 years ago in Yamanouchi-town.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The thing is, it’s not about language ability. If it really was language, they could just provide a simple picture menu to point at. Plus with translation apps, it’s no longer impossible to navigate for non-speakers.

I’ve been refused service at restaurants in Tokyo and I can speak Japanese. The owners and guests just don’t want an environment free of foreigners. In the past 10 years though, I have seen less and less of this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Them having to write the same thing in Japanese means it has very little to do with the language and more about your origin and how you look.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm a foreigner from the US, half Japanese, and don't speak Japanese. I don't have a problem with it. I have been to a few places like that in Tokyo and Osaka that don't serve foreigners. I understand the issue. If foreigners do not speak Japanese, it is difficult to communicate and do simple tasks in restaurants and bars for both the owners, staff, and foreigners.

I just go find another place and there are always tons of options in the cities. Overwhelmingly, most establishments in Japan are very friendly and accommodating to foreigners.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Americans allowed in one at a time.

If I lived where you operate I would be that one quite a lot for this reason only.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To Japanese, nomihodai is a convenience. To many foreigners, especially ALTs, it is a challenge.

This is correct. And the challenge seems to be "Watch me ruin the owner's whole career."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Simple , It is easier for these bar girls to fool and Rip off a Japanese customers than to RIP off a non Japanese, I have noticed that long ago.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is an izakaya, which means overpriced drinks, overpriced food, and quality of service you would never consider leaving a tip for. I am overjoyed if they would not let me in. I would much rather go to establishments where you get what you paid for.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This type of things should be illegal and the bar should be closed off permanently. The owner shouldn’t be allowed to operate another business. In modern countries, businesses cannot refuse a customer based on race.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The above photo only shows the ambiguous part. The clearly offensive sentence has been cut out.

The Asahi Shimbun shows the whole picture.

https://www.asahi.com/sp/articles/ASRB261C4RB2DIFI00J.html

Quote: ”We don’t allow customers from overseas to enter our bar.”

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Most places with no English language skills have photos of meals. All you have to do is point at them. Works fine.

Brits have notoriously poor language skills compared to other Europeans, but I'd be surprised if there was a pub in the UK that had 'Order in English only'. They would get buried on social media.

The adult service providers are mostly Japanese only. Ironic really, as you don't need a common language for that, and the remainder manage fine. Host and hostess bars, fair enough, as there is an expectation of Japanese language conversation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is an izakaya, which means overpriced drinks, overpriced food, and quality of service you would never consider leaving a tip for. I am overjoyed if they would not let me in. I would much rather go to establishments where you get what you paid for.

Have you actually been to an izakaya? They are generally cheap and cheerful places and like everywhere in Japan, you get good service, which you don't need to tip for.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Wow, that is quite mind blowing. Which state is this if I may ask?

It is in Kevin McCarthy's district. The map says it is in Kern County California but the banjo music and free use of racial epithets by the locals suggests Mississippi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most places with no English language skills have photos of meals. All you have to do is point at them. Works fine.

I get what you're saying but honestly sometimes even looking at the food doesn't tell me what it is. I don't mean that to be disparaging in any way but Asian foods are often so different from what westerners are accustomed to eating that even looking at the food you don't know what it is. When visiting family in Shanghai I eat all kinds of vegetables I have never seen before or since. I vividly remember a kind invitation to have lunch on JDS Katori while our ships were making a port visit to the Canadian base at Esquimalt BC. To this day I am unsure what I ate. I ate it all to be polite and there were some small fish you ate whole, eyes, fins and everything. But there were little purple slivers and yellow wedges that remain a mystery to me and the contents of the soup I didn't investigate carefully. I just ate it. I think the purple things might have been Japanese yam. Maybe. But that lunch was three decades before I met my wife and became aware of the different kinds of yams out there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

how about posting just "sorry we speak Japanese only" and avoid the whole stupid kerfuffle?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nibek32

I’ve been refused service at restaurants in Tokyo and I can speak Japanese. The owners and guests just don’t want an environment free of foreigners.

Err what? If they do do NOT want an environment free of foreigners, they would post a sign "tourists welcome" or some such. What am I missing?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The irony of a sign posted in English telling everyone, we cant speak English.

The fact is most native English speakers will survive this and can shrug it off.

What is not so shruggable are the vulnerable populations trying to exist in this country where blatant disrespect for humanity is blatant- the technical trainee population.

Except for the extreme examples of abuse, most goes unreported as really, no one cares. However, post a silly sign from some inconsequential izakaya dump in Okinawa, presumably barring Americans - and voilà you have a click bait, comment generating nothing story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

how about posting just "sorry we speak Japanese only" and avoid the whole stupid kerfuffle?

Another glaring example of people who dont read articles, or even, as in this case, look at pictures!

(Or maybe it's because of not being able to comprehend English perhaps?)

Because our staff can only speak Japanese......... lol!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you walk in and say “Super Dry Ku’dasai’ “and they don’t understand, you need to leave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The old assumption that foreigners simply can’t speak Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

About a two decades ago, lots of bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome area (Tokyo's gay town) suddenly attached "Japanese only" signs to their doors. A few months later the signs were all gone because it was realized that the signs would mean "Japanese people only", but what was meant was "Japanese language only".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does 'Japanese Only' mean no Okinawans either?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Set-ups like this one is not simply a local irritation. It is a ubiquitous blight. Where or not you wish to patronize someone's food is beside the point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Captdingelheimer: Well put! I knew 出人, a self-seeking provocateur…I am one those Euro-Japanese, and though holding a red passport, do not look like Yamada Yukio. I remember when there was what can fairly be called discrimination. There has been a transformation…Are there still glitches? Yes…My elder daughter, back from years abroad, tried to open a bank account, showing her red passport and speaking her first language, Japanese. The clerk wanted to see her visa status…Annoying? Yes. But not the end of the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The old assumption that foreigners simply can’t speak Japanese.

I have dealth with this. I spoke Japanese. But it was a fair assumption on their part, it was just incorrect in my case, and I proved it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you're not brave enough to take on racists, that's fine. Not everybody can be a hero.

mph please, you’re not fighting racism in this situation your just being stubborn. So your Martin Luther King because you are demanding a dingy bar,, snack, host, or club etc let’s you in? Because those are the only places with signs like that

People demanding to be let into these places they clearly are not welcome AND ONCE AGAIN to spend their own money… is nonsense. It’s not equal access to education or services or the right to live, it’s to get bad service that you have to pay for

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In Korea. This is everywhere. No Foreigners welcome.

It really alarmed me after living in Japan 27 years. As Koreans as a whole speak flawless English. 2 out 3 Koreans are English speakers. In 27 years living in Japan I saw this practice once in Kokura Womachi. When I tried to walk in with my Japanese friend. They said I was not welcome to enter the snack bar. I simply answered in flawless Japanese to Japanese door man. Excuse me sir. I was born in Japan. And they let me right in. Of course it was a total lie. I just speak Japanese really well. Then all the ladies wanted to speak English with me all night and sing English songs making no sense. Crazy world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People demanding to be let into these places they clearly are not welcome AND ONCE AGAIN to spend their own money… is nonsense. It’s not equal access to education or services or the right to live, it’s to get bad service that you have to pay for

At first I kInda gotta agree to a point. They wanna be like that, scrww em. Take pictures tell all yer friends never go there. But 40/60 language gray zone not some hate bar.

Signs gotta go for sure. Thats bad mojo to regular business nearby.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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