Day In The Life of a Japanese Izakaya Bar Worker in TokyoOn February 13, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
Let’s smile while showing our white teeth! We focus on being fast, and that can be tough. I like chatting with my customers. That’s the benefit of the service industry. Cheers!!! Today we’re gonna check out what happens behind the scenes at a Japanese Izakaya restaurant So let’s go and Ask Japanese! Let’s all do our best and work together today! – Let’s do it! Ok let’s practice our voices! Let’s cheer ourselves up! – YOOO Let’s smile anytime for our customers! Smile while showing your white teeth! Smile from the bottom of our hearts! Let’s say our 3 greetings! Welcome and thank you for coming! I’m coming right away! Thank you for today, have a nice day! Let’s have a good day as usual! What was that just now? – Our voice chant We raise our spirits at our pre-opening gathering. I can really see how you all get into it. You do that every day? – Every day! Wow, nice. – Yeah. – The customers should come soon! Let’s go! The Japanese Izakaza Bar we’re visiting today is called Hakuri Tabai Hanbei it’s a popular themed Izakaya and their Shinjuku branch is themed after the 1950s of Japan. The whole interior is kept in a retro style including toys, posters, Tvs, foods of that time and more. Their motto is to come as close to the 1950s as possible. They do that with their atmosphere, design, food and even their low prices. When entering the restaurant it’s like walking into a downtown street of the 1950s. Many foreigners but even young Japanese people have never experienced that time and that’s why this themed Izakaya is so popular. Hello. – Please introduce yourself. – My name is Kumada. The inside of this bar is designed like a shopping street, even the rooms we even have a sweet shop corner in the store. We have a 1950s menu, I believe those days were cheaper than today so we tried to make our food items really reasonable too. I will have fun today. Let’s have a good evening! We actually got special permission to come here just before the restaurant opens and you can already see there is so much preparation going on lots of things are being cut prepared boiled cooked. Everything has to be ready for the visitors to come. What is a Japanese Izakaya to you? It’s a place for people to drink and let go of worries, have a good time. I enjoy seeing my customers do that. What’s tough about working here? – We’re popular so… being busy is good and we get many customers. It’s great for business too. But… we also need to bring out food and drinks quickly we focus on being speedy, that can be tough at times. That’s our duty though. We don’t take it lightly. At Izakaya bars, I often see the teamwork function almost without words how do you do that? Number one is not to think like staff but to think like our customers. Think what THEY would want. If the staff in the hall is too busy, the servers need to help them if the drinks are getting late, the hall staff need to dish them out too Work together for ideal speed. I think that’s really important. Do foreigners come her too? – Yes, fortunately we have many. How do they all read the menu. – We have an English and Chinese menu depending on the customers we can hand those out. – English menu! I am so grateful for that. Hello. – Hi there. – What are you doing? I am preparing the appetizer. We have a table charge and for that we give out all-you-can-eat cabbage You can eat as much as you like. All-you-can-eat cabbage appetizer? – Yes. You have several sauces and spices you can use with it here. Many customers like eating the cabbage with their meals, so I prepare lots Why are Japanese Izakaya cabbage portions always so crunchy? What’s the secret? – We let them soak in water for freshness. You can eat them like that. The preparation is actually quite tough and takes a lot of time What exactly is tough? We try to cut them nicely into triangles, You can also see that we have to separate them all out. That takes a lot of time. I will prepare lots so our guests can eat lots of it. You cut them in a special shape. That’s very Japanese I think… It is. Sauces here, you’re not allowed to dip twice We ask people to use the cabbage instead of dipping items twice It’s a neat trick. If you want more sauce on your stick, but already had a bite… You can’t dip again for hygiene reasons. Instead use the cabbage as spoon to scoop up the sauce. Use the cabbage as spoon and eat away? – That’s right. I enjoy talking with the Izakaya customers the most. It’s the advantage of the service industry. What’s tough working here? – To be honest when customers get too drunk and vomit in the store. That gives me a hard time. But that’s part of the job and I can’t blame anyone for that. What item do you personally recommend? – Personally… I like the 5 Kushimori fried sticks. You leave the 5 items up to the chef and then you can order other flavors separately. It’s cheap. The 5 items are a surprise? – Yes. You’ll leave their contents up to the chef’s tastes. Are they different every day? – Yes depending on the preparation. I’m looking forward to trying that out. – Thank you. That’s right, I was wondering why you are sitting down here. Well… we try to be lower than the eye-line of the customer when taking orders So you don’t talk down to the customer? – Yes. – Oh ok. Sorry but thank you. How did you become friends? We are in the same university club. – What club? Sports club. – Why have you come out for drinks? We haven’t met in a while and wanted to hang. Same university here. And same university there. – Why did you come here? They’re cheap! – Cheap? They are cheap but tasty. I used to go here before too. I asked the others if they wanna come here, and all agreed. When coming to an Izakaza, what’s your favorite dish? We didn’t order it today, but I like the shark fin. – I like the cabbage. I can eat it without a stop. – Well it’s all-you-can-cabbage here Yes free refills of cabbage. I like the grilled chicken – nice one. Today we ordered a drink course We don’t order food, the staff will bring out a course menu So the stuff I usually order is not in this menu What’s good about this drink and food course then? It’s cheap! – What do you get and how much is it? We pay ¥2500 So ¥2500 for food? – And all you can drink That’s cheap. Super. What do girls like you chat about in an Izakaya? What were you talking about just now? Well we said “There is a girl dressed in Lolita!” There is one?! I guess you meant me lol. – How do girls enjoy Japanese bars? There are no boys here, so we have our freedom We can let loose without being ashamed of our behavior You don’t have to take others into consideration? – Yes. I have a drink too, let’s have a toast? I will bring my drink ok? Let’s say cheers! – WHAT? What is that? – A goldfish bowl drink. – Wow. Let’s make a toast. I hope you will all have lots of fun talking today. Cheers! Thank you! I would like to intata, wow a blooper now! Let’s go anyways. Why did you come here? I like the retro atmosphere of this place. It’s like the old Japan … I have no clue about the old Japan really. The food items they have here, you don’t find in modern Izakaya bars. I like that about this place. I am currently eating a stew, which you can get anywhere but the one here has been simmering a lot, so the meat is softer and tasty. I always eat that here. Is there a reason why you have all come here to drink? We are all jobhunting right now. So we will talk about this and that. With a few drinks its easier to chat about stuff like that. That’s why we’re here. We are all university club friends and we blow off steam here. We meet about twice a lot and exchange the news while drinking. Can we do a toast. I’ll bring my drink. Hello again. WOW WHAT is THAT?! – So everyone I wish your job hunt will go well! CHEERS!!! – Thank you! Ok let’s start. Girls where are you from? – France. Why did you decide to come here to this Izakaya? – I don’t know this place but my friend knows it and she said it’s a good place, a special place in Japan. A good space, a special place. You’ve been here before? Yes I have been here like 4 months ago. Why did you decide to come again? – The music, the feeling about this place and there is a lot of food that is very cheap. Now this place is themed like the 1950s of Japan but we don’t know the 19050s of Japan so what do you enjoy the most about this place? – There are many posters here it’s like a very home atmosphere. So it’s the best here I think. Yeah you have a lot of small furniture items that … reminds you of the past. Those were all the questions, thank you so much. It’s not long after the bar opened but it’s already crowded, lots of people are coming in what’s really fun is like… The staff is working with a smile on their faces they sometimes will sing something in tune or say something in tune it really adds to the atmosphere, everyone is having a really good time. (staff shouting) The food for table 14 is done! So guys there is also a second video where I ate 13 weird and wonderful items on their menu, that you NEED to try. Check out the link in the description to find out what culinary treats Japanese people enjoy ordering here.