Flummoxed about where to take a prospective partner for the first time in Japan? Twitter, as always, has the answer (well, an answer).

You never forget your first date… Unless you’re me, who was told by one of my friends that the guy taking me around stores to look at anime merchandise presumed we’d been on a date the whole time. Whoops. My second date was much better and involved eating fruit tarts in Harajuku, so maybe it’s better to say you remember your first good date — or at least, a date where you get to eat some delicious food while getting to know the other person.

But Japan has so many incredible eateries, how do you pick the right one? How do you even know what makes for a good first date restaurant, especially if you’re new to dating? No need to fret. Twitter user @poppoyakiya has cracked the code to the perfect first date experience…provided you’re dating a girl, anyway.

“For a first date…

  • Most girls don’t like having to take their shoes off, so don’t go somewhere with a tatami floor.
  • Taking her somewhere expensive on your first outing looks way too eager! Keep it casual!
  • Teppanyaki places have strong aromas that linger on your clothes, so those are no good either.
  • Choose a place with a good soft drink selection. That way you’ll please all your dates, even those who don’t drink alcohol.
  • Everyone has their own preferences. You should go somewhere that lets you pick out whatever you want to eat!

Go to Saizeriya.”

Those are all fairly reasonable metrics to choose a restaurant for any occasion, but the conclusion the tweet draws is a little…unexpected. You see, Saizeriya isn’t really the first place most people think of when they want to take someone out. It’s more of a place to bring three hungry children, two grandparents and an exhausted spouse for an affordable dinner, or a place to hunch over and play children’s puzzles.

@poppoyakiya had even more wisdom to spill on the subject further down the Twitter thread.

“Regardless of if I’m on a date or not, I still want to eat sushi! And then I want to eat BBQ, ramen, okonomiyaki, katsudon and tempura after that!”

“I’ve noticed lots of girls lately are on low-carb diets, so your date might enjoy it if you take her to some place that serves lean meat like Niku Baru (a tapas-style beef sashimi bar), but at Saizeriya she can eat delicious low-carb Italian food instead… Agh, sorry, can’t see any downsides to picking Saizeriya.”

On the whole, commenters actually seemed to agree. There was definitely a layer of tongue-in-cheek irony as users extolled Saizeriya’s many virtues, but there was a grain of truth to every comment. After all, Saizeriya is cheap, serves tasty food, and the restaurants are a common enough fixture that it’s usually pretty easy to get a table there.

“I’d be willing to go anywhere if I liked the guy enough.”
“It’s not even just Saizeriya, family restaurants tend to be just better on the whole (I have been on zero dates).”
“I always go to izakaya ’cause if I can get drunk and have fun together with your date, she’s probably a good match. Of course, I don’t have any Saizeriya restaurants nearby…”
“I’ve been doing it all wrong! I’ve been going to Denny’s!

Of course, pretty much any family restaurant will do the trick: other comments suggested similarly cheap hangout spots like Otoya, Gusto and Sushiro. Still, as one commenter pointed out, most people won’t mind a cheap first dateprovided you aren’t too obvious about trying to save money. It’s way more tantalizing to hear “let’s go grab some of that awesome rice cola they have at Kurazushi” than “the drink bar at Saizeriya costs under three dollars”, after all.

Source: Twitter/@poppoyakiya via Hachima Kikou
Top image: Pakutaso

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