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25 Minutes in a Japanese Restaurant (Readers Digest Version) (MJRF)

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Been away for a long time I have and tried to come back for the MJRF, but I think I might've missed the boat a little. Anyhow, this is something from my recent-ish trip overseas. It takes place in a Japanese ramen shop in Shibuya, Tokyo. This was by far, my greatest auditory experience in a restaurant ever!

For some background, it would seem that customer service in Japan is done a little differently than here in Australia. For example there are still many full service petrol stations about, checkout chicks will announce your purchases (item and cost) as they scan them and almost every store will have someone designated to greet and thank you everytime you enter or leave their store. In most cases, the greeting is a high-pitched, loud and irritating phrase that sounds something like "Sumimasen!" and it would grate against my ears every time I walked through a set of doors... however, at this particular restaurant, they've taken the customer service a little further.

You see at this busy restaurant, the patrons are seated around the chefs in the centre that are busily preparing your meal and it's not just one person that greets you, it's the entire staff in their own particular way.

This was all recorded on my little Ricoh Capilo R1 Camera (which has finally died I believe) the moment I figured out that this was happening. This is largely un-edited, aside from having large gaps between the action removed. Listen out early on for a true highlight when the staff do not respond properly!
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If anyone understands Japanese, feel free to let me know and I'll add the lyrics (well, translation of them at least)
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Uploaded: Feb 13, 2009 - 10:00:20 PM
Last Updated: Feb 13, 2009 - 10:00:20 PM Last Played: Mar 10, 2019 - 07:21:22 AM
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Ricoh Capilo R1 R.I.P.
Digital Performer 6.
Mcboy said 3867 days ago (February 14th, 2009)
conichi wa
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SmokeyVW said 3867 days ago (February 14th, 2009)
life is music
i love these kinds of projects!

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Willywagga said 3867 days ago (February 14th, 2009)
I really love this, wow what or earth is going on, it's like an orchestra moving along.
I don't need to see what is going on here, I don't even need to know what's going on
But it is amazing, compelling.
Just wow.

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hongshan said 3867 days ago (February 14th, 2009)
This is the usual sound of restaurants. All the staff say 'arigatougozaimashta' (very fast)'thankyou' usually at the same time. I'm so used to this it's become normal. Japan is a very group orientated society. It's also got a standard of words that are said everywehere you go. 'Sumimnasen' means 'excuse me' or 'sorry for interrupting'. Another word I think I can hear is 'oskarasamadeshta' which is like 'you have finished' this might also be 'arigatou gozaimashta'. The voices on the recording are a little difficult to hear. But I can hear 'irrashaimasai' which means welcome. Also it sounds like 'Nan mai ogyakusama?' How many people(customers)? 'futari' two. I've been here too long to hear the 'music' in japanese restauarants- your perspective of this is interesting to say the least. I am originally from Melbourne, Oz.

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The Composer said 3867 days ago (February 14th, 2009)
Lyrics behind the orchestra
Thanks for the inside info Hongshan. When people overseas asked me if I could understand what people were saying in other languages my response was generally (and I was told this was profound at one point) "Yes... if I know what they're about to say" meaning that if I understood the context in which they were speaking, I knew what they were trying to say even if I only understood a little (or none) of the actual language.

So in this context, it was pretty easy to pick up when the girl was asking how many people were eating and being told where to sit, also oskarasamadeshta was easy to understand...

What I found fascinating about this though was the amazing consistency of the hostesses greeting (there were actually two girls that did this during the recording)... the same melody, rhythm timbre etc. Particularly in her tag line of "isha ne me deah" (really unsure of what that is trying to say) which induced the collective response of "DEAAAAAH!" which I just found hilarious... if nothing else just for the knowledge that they had to say this for EVERY customer that came in. It would drive me crazy...
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hongshan said 3867 days ago (February 14th, 2009)
Ground hog day
Actually coming to think about it - its like the film groundhog day. There's a lot of repetition and one could actually believe everyday has become the same. The greetings and somewhat spoken vocal harmonies are such a classic part of this culture. For the everyday person it's a little maddening - that I have to agree with. But lately Japan this side of Japan for me has become more like 'white noise' from the tv set. I hear it but don't pay attention. Its definitely a very individual culture as a group (if you get my gist). Its all the same but so unique.

Keep up the travels

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the_juniper_slant said 3866 days ago (February 15th, 2009)
dont listen to a word of it! the female waitress is saying 'check the dude with the ginger hair'
then the chefs reply 'its not my turn to wank in the soup' or something along those lines.

VicDiesel said 3861 days ago (February 20th, 2009)
Music is sound, and sound is music. If you have the right ear, everything is worth listening to. Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed the experience.
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