“When you take a girl out for yakiniku, you have to follow the rules“, says Natsuko. “Too many men these days forget about TPO“, she adds, referring to the importance of the three things – Time, Place, and Occasion – that are supposed to dictate appropriate behaviour in social situations.

We asked one yakiniku-loving Japanese girl to give us her honest opinion on the dating game, and – well, it was pretty brutal.

After our illuminating chat with our girl (we’ll call her Natsuko), we bring you her top ten tips for not looking like a tightwad at your local Japanese barbecue joint.

10) Don’t use a voucher

Producing a money-off coupon on a yakiniku date deserves an immediate yellow card, apparently. “You can often get coupons for a free plate of karubi (short ribs)”, explains Natsuko, “but it’s not very nice meat. And using a voucher looks cheap.”

Can’t say I agree with that one, unfortunately. We have a saying here at RocketNews24: “There’s only one thing better than a plate of karubi, and that’s a free plate of karubi.”

▼ What, your office doesn’t have a meat-related slogan? 


9) Don’t get upset when the vegetables burn

“If you forget about the kabocha pumpkin and onion on the grill and it burns, don’t get all pissy about it”, says Natsuko.

Good advice right there, seeing as everyone always burns the vegetables anyway. We’re usually too busy thinking about that free plate of karubi that’s on its way!

8) Don’t order the regular bibimbap

Order bibimbap in a yakiniku restaurant and you’ll typically get to choose between having the mixed rice served on a hot stone dish, or – a cheaper option – in a regular, non-sizzling bowl. Opting for the latter in order to save a few hundred yen will not go down well with this demanding lady. “If you actually prefer it that way, that’s fine,” she concedes. “But it looks cheap.”

▼ Stone-cooked good; bowl-served bad.


7) Don’t get the shakes

You can always tell when someone’s not used to ordering more expensive cuts, says Natsuko, because “when they’re cooking it, they get all nervous and their hand goes all shaky.”

Which is an amusing, if slightly snobbish, observation. Although if your dining partner is quivering in their boots, that probably says as much about you as it does about the menu.

6) Don’t steal all the breath mints

Yakiniku can be a garlic-heavy affair, so lots of restaurants have mints or gum by the cash register. Taking more than you need, though, will incur the wrath of this particular dining partner. “I don’t mind him taking them subtly, but there’s no need to be brazen about it”, says Natsuko.

Just “don’t steal from the restaurant” might be a good rule for life, whether you’re on a date or not.

is it rude

5) Don’t order the wrong tongue

“Of all the meats you can order, beef tongue is the one where ordering top-quality meat makes the most difference. A guy that orders the cheap tongue is just a tightwad.”

Alternative idea: order for yourself?

4) Don’t suggest sharing rice

Instead of ordering two portions of rice for two people, you can usually save a hundred yen or so by ordering one large portion instead. “But I’ve absolutely no idea why someone would want to share rice”, she says.

We’re probably with you on that one, Natsuko. Sharing one little bowl of rice does seem a bit wrong. It could be romantic, though, I guess? And you could spend the extra couple of hundred yen on breath mints or something.

▼ Not a sharing bowl.


3) Don’t eat more than your fair share

We’re into the top three, with men who sneakily try and eat more than their date. “Guys who try to eat more than you, even though you’re splitting the bill – they’re the worst! Some guys will even take meat off the grill to eat before it’s cooked, just to be greedy.” Pretending you like your meat rare just so you can get ahead of the game and eat more does sound pretty lame. If anyone did that. Which they probably don’t.

2) Don’t make excuses

Expensive cuts in yakiniku restaurants are marbled with fat, “so they pretend they can’t eat it because it’s ‘too fatty’, when actually they’re just too cheap to order it.” Our girl knows what she wants: “If you can’t eat fatty meat, don’t take me to a yakiniku restaurant!”

▼ Or you could order the vegetables…as long as you don’t burn them, that is.


1) Don’t forget it’s on you

And the number one crime you can commit in a yakiniku restaurant? Not paying, according to Natsuko. “Lately it seems like some guys don’t realise that if we go to a yakiniku restaurant, they should foot the bill.  It’s just common sense! They should teach that in schools, you know.

But, but – I thought we were splitting the bill, and that’s why the guy isn’t allowed to eat too much? I can’t keep up!

Anyway, what with their shaky hands, eccentric ordering, and dirty tightwad tricks, it sounds like Natsuko has been on dates with some oddball men. She does sound pretty demanding, though, to be fair…

Featured image: dreamdandy
Other images: jin loves to eatgurunavi/ebara (edited by RocketNews24), jokideogourmettoriko wiki, edited by RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]