Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined
This past Saturday before my parents arrived I did some more shopping in Tokyo. I stopped by my favorite burger restaurant for lunch and then picked up some dress shirts. I haven’t purchased a lot in Japan but my suitcase was fairly full when I came over – hopefully everything fits.
Around 8:00 pm I was ready to take the 1 hour train ride back to my apartment until I saw a Hooters sign. Taking into account I haven’t had wings in six months, it was like an oasis in a desert.
The inside was like most Hooters I’ve been in except it was huge – probably the largest one I’ve ever been in. Talking to a waitress I found out it was the largest one in Asia. I read later that it just opened in May 2014 and has seating for 300 people.
A waitress showed me to my table and introduced herself. I decided to order wings and my waitress asked ‘naked or breaded?’ in very understandable English. The prices weren’t too unreasonable – about $13 for 10 wings.
I watched highlights of a recent Yankee game – no doubt playing due to their star Japanese pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, who was acquired from Japan this past off-season. I’ve seen more Yankees hats in Japan than I’ve seen in the past two years.
Something I didn’t think about until halfway through my meal was how the no-tipping culture in Japan would effect a place like Hooters. I quickly found out that the women are just as friendly, despite us not being able to completely understand each other. Lots of smiling.
In general, Japanese women dress very conservatively, especially up top. Skirts are common, but shirts are always worn modestly. However, Hooters is the 1% in this regard. The waitress wore the same uniforms as the United States and they definitely stood out among the surprisingly high number of female customers.
Every 20 minutes or so a song would play and the waitresses would do a choreographed dance for a few minutes. Being sure to jump up and down. Multiple times.
My bill came to about $35 with 10 wings and two drinks. It was the perfect to tie me over for another 19 days until I get back to the United States. And based on the scenery and non-Japanese food, if I wasn’t for globalization before, I definitely am now.