-･- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -･- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.
“Gyudon (牛丼: beef bowl, a bowl of rice topped with boiled beef and onions, which appears on the left hand side of the picture)“ is one of Japan's most popular dishes.
This restaurant is “Matsu-ya (松屋)”, one of fast-food chains for gyudon near my working place. I sometimes order takeout a small-size gyudon for lunch. The beef bowls taste good enough for the price: A regular-size gyudon is 320yen (about $3). Now it’s only 280yen because of a discount campaign!
I was there yesterday and just noticed that I’ve never seen foreigners except eastern Asian people at the restaurant in this international city. People from around the world would like it because the taste of gyudon sauce is similar to "Sukiyaki (すき焼き)" sauce.
One reason why Matsu-ya is unpopular with foreign customers might be that they are unfamiliar with its pay-first order system using food tickets that only Matsuya employs among gyudon chains.
It’s simple. You don’t have to speak a single Japanese word to eat gyudon.
I explain how to order a beef bowl, though Matsu-ya has various menus.
1. Identify a restaurant as Matsu-ya by the yellow, blue and orange sign.
2. After entering, find a ticket machine near the entrance.
3. Put money in it. Choose a size of beef bowl, and push a button on the lower section.
・There are four sizes: small (lowest price), regular, large and extra-large (highest)
・Each botton shows a picture of menu.
・While the buttons for set menus (with salad, miso-soup and so on) are on the upper section, those for single items are on the lower.
・While buttons for beef bowls are red, those for pork bowls (cooked by the same instructions) are brown.
※The change doesn’t tumble out right away, so you can push another button if you want to order an additional dish.
4. Sit down in an unoccupied seat and put the ticket on the counter table. A restaurants stuff would pick it up and serve a beef bowl shortly after.
At the other gyudon chains, for example “Yoshino-ya(吉野家)” and “Suki-ya (すき家)”, manner of payment is the same as common restaurants. They use a menu with pictures, so don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese.
You should try this Japanese fast food, by all means.