politics

Obama ate only half the sushi course: media

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The owner of a yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant that sits in the same basement as the exclusive diner told Tokyo Broadcasting System that Obama had put his chopsticks down at the halfway point.

That right there tells you that this story is bogus. First, you don't eat sushi with chopsticks at jiro. you use only your hands (I've been once before). Second, how could the yakitori guy next door see all the way inside the restaurant?! There were tons of secret service guys and also Obama's entourage clogging up the whole restaurant. AFP, you sound more like a gossip rag by the day.

1 ( +14 / -12 )

News flash: Not all foreigners like eating raw fish.

15 ( +20 / -4 )

But a report Thursday said instead of making small talk and savoring Japanese delicacies at Sukiyabashi Jiro—dubbed the world’s best sushi restaurant and the subject of the 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”—Obama jumped straight into discussions about trade

I see absolutely nothing wrong with President Obama keeping his mind on the reason why he is in Japan. In the end, it comes down to whether trade talks are more important than how much sushi he ate and I would have to agree with him that trade talks are more important.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

First, you don't eat sushi with chopsticks at jiro. you use only your hands (I've been once before).

I'm looking at the picture and wondering what's in the paper packet resting on the chopstick rest.

11 ( +11 / -1 )

OMG stop the press , the POTUS has only eaten half a sushi. The end of the world is near! Hell hath frozen over! what the f. The things people complain about has reached a new low.

12 ( +14 / -3 )

Is this really news? Are the Japanese so insecure that they need to comment on how much sushi Obama ate? The guy just got off a plane FFS. Maybe he's not hungry or maybe he doesn't like sushi? For god's sake, get over the food obession Japan.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

After a 10-15 hour flight from the USA, just landing and going strait to a Sushi Restaurant with world leaders and cameras, you'd eat all your 20 plus pieces of sushi? I know I probably wouldn't finish either with all the business.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

Onjce again, RV, I agree. This sounds made up. although the fact that someone felt the need to make it up is a further reflection on the parlous state of world politics and what passes for commentary on it. more inerest in what he ate and how much, what his missus is wearing (had she come along) etc than in the real issues that affect the voters of both countries (TPP, China being iffy, Justin Bieber going to Yasukuni etc).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@rickyvee, what's with the chopstick stands in their own site's photos, then? http://www.sushi-jiro.jp/e-contents/e-omise.html http://sfreelife.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/jiro-roppongi33.jpg

Way to tell a news site off for their fact-checking when you can't even fact-check your own statements.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@shibooya: Hashibukuro

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Better that he eats half the fish and does all the politics than the other way round.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Not a big Obama fan but if I just got off a 15 hour flight I wouldn't be hungry, I'd be beat down tired.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is something of a non-story. I love sushi, but 20-pieces is a LOT of sushi...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

For Pete's sake, even when I go to sushi (and I outweigh Obama by a rather hefty amount) I don't put down 20 pieces. I can only imagine how little I would eat after going through the 15 hour plane ride, etc.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Just to be clear... since apparently there is some kind of confusion for the chopsticks matter. Of course there are going to be chopsticks in the place (Sushi Jiro), since you will need them to eat, sashimi, misoshiru or any other menu that is NOT sushi and it is served in a sushi place.

If you notice, the chopsticks are.... undisturbed on the counter inside the paper wraps, meaning that at least at the moment of taking the picture, the chopsticks were not used.

Obama may not be able to eat all the sushi it was offer... he was tired, a 8 hours flight exhaust you, a 15 hour makes you wanna crawl to your bed, and that is not counting with the time difference there is.

Lets not forget that the idea of eating sushi was from Obama.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

And in other news today, Secret Service agent was seen at Mcdonalds getting take out for the Hotel Room after Obama left Sushi restuarant

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Must have been cho relaxed there with all the aides, security people and whatnot. They would have been better off at some izakaya, having edamame, shirasu and a few chuujokki!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

'Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga refused Thursday to be drawn on exactly how much the US president had eaten, saying only: “It’s true that he ate a good amount”.'

For crying out loud we are talking about a meeting between the leaders of the world's largest and third-largest economies at a time of high tension in Asia and trivial idiots are asking questions like this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

he was tired, a 8 hours flight exhaust you, a 15 hour makes you wanna crawl to your bed

He came here aboard the presidential plane one suspects, which is equipped with a bed for the presidential a$$. BO won't get tired flying on that.

The story above of course is nonsense, the kind of trivial stuff that appears to entertain here. "Oooooh, BO can use chopsticks"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Gobshite

I can only imagine the luxuries inside Air Force One... but still the change of pressure, the change of altitude takes a lot from you. And probably he was working most of the time during the flight ... probably...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Soooooooo classic! The media is more concerned about whether or not Obama bought into the legendary sushi and the fact that the first lady did not visit than they are the actual issues. Talk about insecurity! One guy I talked to this morning was furious Michelle did not come. Not because he had any interest in her, but because he was angry that the whole family visited China but not Japan, selectively forgetting it was not originally scheduled as a state meeting here. It's like when Obama called China before Japan when first elected and the insecurity kicked in again.

And news flash, he doesn't have to eat what he doesn't want to, and probably only ate what he did out of politeness despite the: "b-b-b-but we were told the chef is a legend!". The guy I mentioned earlier said, "In Japan, this is very rude!" I said, "You invited him, and he is not Japanese. Expecting him to act according to custom is what's rude, if indeed you want foreign cooperation".

1 ( +7 / -6 )

20 pieces is A LOT!!!! When I eat I usually have 10 pieces (supposedly what Obama ate). I think 14 is probably the most nigiri I have EVER eaten my life. And I felt sick I ate "so much". 20? no way.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Obama ate 14 according to the TV news.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Not a big Obama fan but if I just got off a 15 hour flight I wouldn't be hungry, I'd be beat down tired."

Heck, if he slept for half the flight, which is what I would have done, being in better than First Class and all, and didn't eat too much on the plane, and if he'd gone to a kaiten sushi and ordered what he wanted, he'd eat more than 20 pieces, and it wouldn't have cost the taxpayers as much.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Blasphemy.

as a foreigner I say that 20 pieces of Sushi is nothing. Nothing! you hear me? :D

but seriously, that ain´t worth a news report.

Newsflash: people sometimes don´t finish their food! Insult added to injury! Nations collapse!

come on, can we go back to Bieber in Yasukuni? :P

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For crying out loud we are talking about a meeting between the leaders of the world's largest and third-largest economies at a time of high tension in Asia and trivial idiots are asking questions like this.

Do you REALLY expect better??

On the news tonight. FFS Japan, get over yourself.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A mixture of "Jet-lag" and "more important things to discuss" than to stuff his face.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Oh no! POTUS exercises portion control!! Alert EVERY media outlet everywhere. I think I hear everyone's eyes rolling at the same time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quiet interesting to know that sushi or at least the method how to do is originated in the Mekong area.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First, you don't eat sushi with chopsticks at jiro. you use only your hands (I've been once before).

I'm looking at the picture and wondering what's in the paper packet resting on the chopstick rest.

Obviously this is Rickyvee's Big Book of Worldwide Know-it-all facts, where you will find such useless information from his ONE visit to include the blueprint of the corridors of Japanese buildings he eats at, did he or I mention, on ONE visit alone.

I am NOT a fan of Obama, but ~ a very common size for bento is 10 pieces of sushi. If I eat BIG, I will eat between 20 - 30 pieces at the sushi restaurant, as a big fan of sushi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obama ate 14 according to the TV news.

that's 70% - pretty high score, what about his appetite thereafter?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe he already ate dinner? Many American can not stand to eat raw fish, not because Fukushina leak but simply they prefer teppan-yaki or fried large shrimps using forks. I doubt very much anyone could enter there when Federal Officers were guarding with their weapons of their hips. They are big and must be scary to Japanese who are not used to see gun armed Americans. If he ate 14, he ate politely. He could throw them in toilet. Sake? I did not know Obama drinks alcohol during meals. Anyway, this story is quite funny like reading manga books.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think some (many) of you are missing the point.

Sure, there are more important things to discuss, but there's a time and place for that.

There's no reason why the President couldn't have taken the time to properly eat the meal and treat it like a friendly meet and greet, instead of going straight into serious discussion.

What, the President couldn't just relax for an hour or so?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

14? One on channel this evening they said he ate 16 out of 20.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess Obama was a "cheap date." Thankfully most Japanese women have very flexible stomaches and can easily muster the 20 sushi. => Why go cheap when eating out at expensive restaurants.

Sukiyabashi Jiro: "Can you eat the 20" => New theme and a good way to put Obama to shame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You guys forget a very key thing amidst all these discussions. President Obama just arrived from America. There is an 11 hour jet lag. Eating dinner in Japan is like 5:00 am in the morning. Would you be hungry at 5:00 am in the morning for a full meal with jet lag? I know I can't.

Every time I go back home to San Francisco from Tokyo, my in-laws always complain about me not "eating enough." I wish I could just scream, "You wouldn't either when it's freaking 2:00 am for me with jet lag!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, my dog! How could this have happened? It is unforgivable to think a world leader on a visit to Japan didn't eat everything he was offered. I am not gonna be able to sleep tonight knowing there was sushi left over.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

LOL! Mr. Obama did not finished his sushi course because he was eager to talk about the trade. And Mr. Abe was like "What a nice atmosphere!" hahahaha

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's possible the sushi of the god Jiro are not that good. Then how convenient is that to conduct a business talk and pose for photos that will be seen worldwide when you have to eat with your hands at the bar of a dirty station shokudo ? Next year, they'll make him stand outdoor schluurping ramen maybe...

Obama jumped straight into discussions about trade.

He had the same idea as me about the real menu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know about Obama, but when I've had enough sushi, I stop eating. I'm a small eater, so that's only about 6 pieces for me. I love sushi, but I'm not going to make myself sick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i hope on the last day they will present noodles to Mr obama, now can he eat according to the Japanese custom let see

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Interesting comments on a non-story.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I really couldn't care less if Obama ate none, some or all the sushi put on the counter. I know that the first night I arrive in Tokyo there is no way I can scarf down 20 pieces because my gastrointestinal system is jet lagged. With all the dinners and meals planned out if I were Obama I'd be spending most of time in South Korea in he bathroom. Which I might anyway when the spicy stuff comes down the gullet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Rest assured for the next week or so, the morning headlines will be drumming the beat about how Obama DIDN'T finish his meal and they will go over it again and again until the constant repetitiveness of it all will make you dizzy. For the media here that is more important than the talks between him and Abe and as first priority that is what is MOST important, not some gossip media trying to stir the pot and as usual have their priorities mixed up. And like Fxgai said, NOT every foreigner likes raw fish, heck, I know plenty of Japanese that won't eat Sushi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Obama ate 14 according to the TV news.

And on the Jiro's Chef recommendation menu, there are 19 pieces.

It looks like another BS from AFP.

One thing to note that it was the White House that requested this place.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

All I can say is if the dinner menu starts at ¥30,000 and especially if someone else is treating me I'm going to eat that dinner! What a waste!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The dinner should of NOT been about Jiro's Sushi joint mentioned in detail... Obama didn't come here to have a sushi party but to iron out the wrinkles with TPP probably for the last time. Obama stopped eating because the conversation was going no where while ABE stuffed himself with the whole course. Japan is over protective of it's own home grown economy and that is the cause of our deflation problem, only way to get out of this stagnancy is to participate in TPP otherwise Japan's economy will continue to spiral downward in the whole scheme of things.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am just wondering who paid for the sushi. Possibly the Japanese tax-payer paid for the entertainment, correct?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can 100% understand Obama putting the chopsticks down early, and it has nothing to do with the long flight or being tired. It takes training to get your chopstick "chops" up to the point where you can use them throughout an entire meal. Novices will grip the sticks tightly, causing quite a bit of muscle fatigue and pain from lactic acid build-up in the hand. At some point you have to set the sticks down to give your hand a rest. Asians who have used chopsticks all their lives would probably not think of that as a cause and just assume he didn't want to eat any more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If I was Obama, I would've stay away from raw food for the first few days. Even though the fish is fresh, you can still have upset stomach. You still have jet lag and fatigue. It's better to eat cooked food such as sukiyaki or shabu shabu and nothing excessively oily like tempura.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obama: Someone said TPP...I just lost my appetite.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'@sfjp330APR. 25, 2014 - 05:22AM JST If I was Obama, I would've stay away from raw food for the first few days. Even though the fish is fresh, you can still have upset stomach. You still have jet lag and fatigue. It's better to eat cooked food such as sukiyaki or shabu shabu and nothing excessively oily like tempura.

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O agree with you, Boiled large Shrimp and Crab are more delicious. Raw fish need wasabi or shoga to enrich taste. Not tempura, either, Too fatty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

あっぱれ オバマ大統領!Freshly so or not, dead uncooked fish is pretty much dead uncooked fish. Japan may presume it's a universal taste, but clearly it's not. And it seems rather clumsy timing for Abe to have suggested it for a jet-lagged visiting western head of state.

But I most enthusiastically applaud President Obama's taking the topic to the vastly more important subject of trade, an eternal point of contention between quietly but staunchly protectionist Japan and the United States, which has been paying dearly for global Japanese political lip service with unfettered open American markets for decades.

Pity Abe didn't also stop his munching and listen more attentively. The President isn't here for raw fish, and this currently trendy little basement counter is an extremely esoteric attraction at best. (And I understand the American Embassy did NOT ask for this venue - they merely agreed to it when it was proposed by the Japanese side.)

So it backfired as entertainment. But then, George Bush made a bee line to that tacky ersatz-Japanesey Gonpachi in Nishi Azabu when he was here years ago. So perhaps things are getting a little better?

And while we're on the subject, I always wonder just how does Michelin (which the laders of the Japanese culinary industry like to refer to as 味 知らん -- "Mi-shiran", or unable to grasp flavors) get away with telling the world which Japanese food is good and which is not? Despite the token yet allegedly meagerly experienced two locals one hears they drag along to try to validate their legitimacy, the French themselves are not likely to have a clue when it comes to assessing sushi the way Japan would. Yet they have the chutzpah to publish their 'rankings' for Japanese eateries in Japanese for the Japanese market.

As we say here: huhhhnnnnnnnnn!

Anyway, gambatte Mr. Obama.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He probably took the other half take out.... 20 pieces of sushi is a lot when you are a meat eater.. but he grew up in Hawaii so he knows sashimi, ahi poke and loves raw fish and knows master Jiro is world's #1. As for me ... my last meal on Earth it would be just to get a seat at Jiro and just taste one piece of his sushi with his sacred rice... in the company of good people who eat first with their eyes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Food for thought ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It brings to mind one other past president (and father to another past president) who chose to barf up the portion he couldn't keep down.

I imagine not forcing the issue was a smarter option... most definitely!

As for Abe-san eating away... He was raised right! Never waste a $ 300 dinner - even on a Japanese politician's paycheck!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

but he grew up in Hawaii

So, they'd better offer him some fruits i.e. apples, oranges, bananas instead of raw fish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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