Japanese food outside of Japan is not always what one would expect, but why worry about such a little thing?

Japanese restaurants outside of Japan often take certain liberties in creating their menus. For example, the U.K.-based sushi chain Yo! Sushi had some very unique concoctions that really surprised our reporter Seiji Nakazawa.

Recently, another one of our reporters, Yuichiro Wasai, had a similar experience while on vacation in Italy. When he was craving a taste of home in Sicily, he decided to check out a Japanese restaurant, though right from the start something felt a bit off.

▼ The name of the restaurant, “Gold”, wasn’t exactly Japanese, requiring “Ristorante Giapponese” to be written underneath for potential customers to make the connection.

But Yuichiro decided to venture in anyway.

As soon as he entered through the doors, he immediately realized why the restaurant didn’t quite feel Japanese: the language spoken by the staff was Chinese. Of course, Chinese staff running a Japanese restaurant is far from unusual when it comes to Japanese restaurants overseas, but for the unfamiliar Yuichiro it gave him the strange feeling of, “Where am I?”

▼ One of the items on the menu: “Green Fish Roe Battleship” sushi.
Seeing it reminded Yuichiro of a cyberpunk, neon-green Hong Kong skyline.

Still trying to get his bearings, he decided to order one of the mysterious green sushi. Exploring unknown territory is a journalist’s duty, after all!

▼ When it arrived, he raised it to his lips with a trembling hand….

…and was pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty tasty! It turns out the green component of the roe is actually wasabi, whose flavor shot right up through his mouth to his nose.

▼ Yuichiro figured that if they changed up the menu picture a bit, it would potentially make it more appealing to customers.

Despite that positive experience though, Yuichiro still couldn’t shake the feeling that he was in a “Ristorante Cinese” instead of a “Ristorante Giapponese”.

▼ The “yakitori” (grilled chicken skewer) was fried and looked like Chinese cuisine…

▼ …the tempura came with a sweet and sour sauce, not its typical soy sauce and dashi…

▼ …and even the cookie Yuichiro was given as he left the restaurant felt very Chinese.

But what Yuichiro found most odd was that everything on the menu was all-you-can-eat. And, unlike restaurants in Japan that have a time limit for all-you-can-eat establishments, this restaurant had no time limit.

“You can just eat whatever you like until you’re full”, the waitress told Yuichiro, leaving him dumbfounded.

“But won’t that mean that this restaurant will always be filled with greedy, impolite people?” he wondered to himself.

That’s when it hit him. Yuichiro looked around, and what he saw surprised him: groups of people spending a long time in the restaurant simply enjoying each other’s company, and not to stuff their bellies full of food. There didn’t seem to be anyone greedily piling food onto their plates with the malicious intention of stretching their cash.

In fact, the only impolite person in the restaurant turned out to be Yuichiro himself, judging the place too harshly.

▼ That’s when Yuichiro decided to not worry about it anymore, and just have a nice glass of Asahi.

Sometimes, not fretting over details like how your chicken is cooked or the sauce of your tempura makes for a better time. It was only when Yuchiro learned that, relaxed, and enjoyed his food for what it was, not judging it for what it wasn’t, that he finally felt at ease.

Although not necessarily at ease enough to suddenly start wearing his “Beijing bikini”, thankfully.

Images: ©SoraNews24
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