There was someone, or, actually, two people he had to see.

In Japan, work comes first. And last. And, really, in between too.

Japanese society’s pride in craftsmanship and dedication to the group means that your profession is almost always supposed to be a priority, and putting something else before it usually warrants an apology. For example, recently Japanese Twitter user @nappa decided to stop by Daichi, an udon noodle restaurant in Tokyo’s Takadanobaba neighborhood, for dinner. When he got there, though, there was a hand-written sign on the door from the owner, saying they wouldn’t be open that night.

Ordinarily, this would be an unhappy development for anyone who was craving noodles, but even if @nappa had to walk away with an empty stomach, he had a smile on his face too.

The sign reads:

“I sincerely apologize to our customers who have come all the way here, but we will be closed tonight, due to a personal matter.

My wife gave birth to a healthy baby, and I need to take tonight off so that I can go back to Fukuoka to tell her thank you, and that I love her.

I am sorry for the inconvenience.”

If you know much about Japanese geography, you might be wondering why the restaurant owner’s wife was in Fukuoka, which is on the other side of the country from Tokyo. In Japan, it’s tradition for expectant mothers to go back to their hometowns and stay with their parents for the last part of their pregnancy, which seems to be what Daichi’s wife did, which meant he had a long trip to make to see them.

In a culture where men are often hesitant to express affection for the women in their lives, the owner’s unabashed display of love for his wife touched the hearts of online commenters, whose reactions included:

“Hurry up and tell her! There’s no way anyone will think badly of you for this.”
“What a wonderful husband. No objections to closing up early.”
“I’m 100-percent sure the food at this place tastes great.”
“I’m going to have to remember to say ‘Congratulations!’ next time I eat there.”
“You can tell how excited he was while writing the sign, since he used the wrong kanji for ‘tonight’ and ‘wife.’”

One understanding would-be customer even penciled in a message of their own at the bottom of the notice, writing “Congratulations! So, was it a boy or a girl?”, and thanks to a tweet from the new mother herself, we know.

“Hello, @nappa! This is Kaori Abe, the wife of the owner of Daichi Udon in Takadanobaba,” her tweet begins. “[Thanks to the tweet] so many people have been messaging me to say ‘Congratulations,’ and I’m so happy. I gave birth to a healthy 3,810-gram (8-pound, 6-ounce) girl.”

▼ Daichi’s delicious-looking tempura udon

“It was a very difficult birth,” Abe continues, “but as soon as I saw your tweet, all of my fatigue vanished! I apologize to everyone who was unable to eat at the restaurant, but I look forward to seeing and talking with you the next time I’m there,” she says, though it sounds like customers will be OK if they don’t see her, or her husband, for a while as they spend time with the new addition to their family.

Related: Daichi
Source: Twitter/@nappa via Jin
Top image: Daichi
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where Takadanobaba is one of his very favorite places in the whole world.