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You are in: Fukuoka: Restaurants: (Guide:) But mummy I'm scared...

(Guide:) But mummy I'm scared...
Type: How To: Guides  (Qjmp: 5037)

"and I don't speak Japanese and I can't go in THERE...!"
Of course you can!

Lots of foreign visitors here for just a few days are too nervous to try anything other than the "safe" options near their hotels and end up missing much of the colour and charm of the city.

The Good News:

You can blunder into almost any restaurant or eating shop in Fukuoka, even the grungiest, without Japanese language skills and not come to the slightest harm as long as you have polite body language and smile a lot. You may end up eating a little more adventurously than you intended, but it's ADVENTURE you are here for remember - and besides, if you wait long enough it will stop moving.

Things to look out for:

A large, open kitchen where you can see the "master" prepare the food.

Points to remember:

1) If there is someone outside inviting you in it is probably best NOT to go, particularly around Nakasu.

2) Body language is more important than mouth language in creating the right impression. If in doubt, keep it "small" and restricted.

3) Point at what someone else is eating if it looks good. Lots of cheap shops will have the basic ingredients on display on the counter or in a fishtank....

4) If you are worried, find out how much each dish is before you eat it. ("O-ikura des ka?")

5) Food that is still moving (sashimi at the very good places) is rare and (almost) definitely dead - just wait a few moments for it to stop and don't make a fuss. Your Japanese hosts are either teasing you or honouring you - possibly both simultaneously. You can definitely expect every eye in the room to be on your face. Try and look bored...

6) You are highly unlikely to be served anything more esoteric than basashi (raw horse) and then only if you ask for it. Lots and lots of Japanese people do not like sashimi/ natto/ basashi/ whale etc, so don't be bullied into eating anything you don't want.

7) In general locals ask "what was that" AFTER they have consumed something, rather than "what is that" before they consume it. As a general attitude to life, this has a lot to commend it....

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First published Thu Jun 14, 2001
    Updated Sun Sep 29, 2002

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