failing like never before


Good Business

I went to a Japanese Buffet a few nights ago. The place was located in the richer side of town, and was quite upscale. I could tell it was posh because their bathrooms were clean and they kept the place dimly lit (I don't understand why expensive places are always darkly lit, surely they can manage to pay the electricity bills.).

As we were walking in, I noticed that one of the waitresses was speaking to a customer in Cantonese. I thought it a bit strange at first, considering it was a Japanese restaurant, but realized that it was not unheard of for Japanese people to speak Cantonese. But later on I overheard the two sushi chefs joking to each other in Cantonese. One might assume that the staff were simply multilingual and familiar with many different tongues, but the ease with which the chefs spoke Cantonese and the fact that they spoke it for conversing rather then Japanese or English, would seem to imply that Cantonese and not Japanese was their native tongue. Also, I have never met a Japanese man with the surname "Hong," because "Hong" is a distinctly Chinese name (although to be fair, he could have been of Chinese descent but grew up in Japan).

Throughout the night, I observed again and again, various different employees speak to each other in Cantonese. Not a single word of Japanese was spoken.

From these observations, I reached the conclusion that the owners were probably Chinese. I believe that the owners of the restaurant masqueraded as Japanese because of the fact that the Japanese culture is more popular and marketable in America. I have no doubt that many wanna-be-Japanese Caucasians, enamored by Japanese Manga and cartoons, could easily be lured to the restaurant simply because it claimed to be Japanese. The Chinese and their products are simply not as "marketable" in America at this time. Certainly the Chinese governments recent treatment of the Tibetans lends to the poor image, but American also tend to associate Chinese-made products as poor, cheap, knock-offs. Realizing this, the restaurant owners no doubt saw a larger profit margin in claiming to be Japanese, giving their restaurant a Japanese name, and having their employees dress in traditional Japanese garb.

And that my friends, is a good business strategy.

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  1. I don’t know why, but this reminds me of the movie Initial D. It’s based off of a Japanese manga, it takes place in Japan, yet all of the actors speak Cantonese. I couldn’t get over it.

  2. Um, OK. I’ve never seen Initial D, but my sister loves it ’cause Jay Chou is in it.

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