when I walked through the streets of Duesseldorf today, busy with the last Christmas presents, I noticed a Japanese restaurant named “Roppongi”. It struck me as unusual, because usually the shops here bear the name of the owner (like Takumi Ramen, which is delicious!). Also Roppongi was the name of the district I worked in and I didn’t think I’d see it again so very soon.
It made me think back on all the German restaurants I encountered in Japan. I always found it kind of bewildering seeing a German restaurant in Japan, especially as German food is basically reduced to wurst and they hardly serve anything else in these places.
But see for yourself 😀
“Zum Eichen Platz” was the restaurant closest to where I lived. I passed it by everytime I went to the train station and it usually made me smile because they used to feature a large advertisement for a beer by the brand “Spaten” – which is also one of the many ways to call soneone an “idiot” in German.
The other restaurant in the area was the “Schmatz”, which apparently also hosts events like German carnival or oktoberfest.
When I passed it by one day, I even heard German music being played. It was a weird experience.
Now that we’ve already mentioned oktoberfest: Guess what, those are super popular in Tokyo!
I went with my housemates to the Odaiba Oktoberfest, but I heard usually it’s Yokohama where you will see most people.
In Odaiba we had a stage where a cute Japanese girl in a dirndl dress constantly announced “Prost”, which apparently is a word that most Japanese know.
Afterwards there was even a band consisting of very non-japanese looking people. They were singing some German party hits (which I thought I had escaped pretty far arway from…) and judging by the heavy accents they displayed doing so, they were most likely European, but not German at all. It was rather funny actually.
I couldn’t resist ordering some food and the prices were hilarious. Like five or six times than what I would have paid in Germany, but well, let’s say I felt a need for some sauerkraut.
I ordered bacon, too, and what I got was just a weirdly thicker version of that US American breakfast bacon.
But of course, most people ordered wurst anyway. Which brings us to my favourite place, which I found on my way back from my day trip to Osaka: Wur’s Rock.
As you can clearly see they promote themselves as a “German-Styled Hotdog and Sausage Bar”, which is the funniest, because I have no idea what a German-Styled Hotdog even is. It seriously doesn’t exist.
The closest thing that would come to my mind is when you want to eat a wurst outside without the comfort of sitting down but don’t want to get your hands greasy, so you put it in a bun.
But that does not really count as a hotdog and is also certainly not what the founders of this restaurant had in their minds.
Apparently on a German-Styled Hotdog you have a slice of cheese. Or some sauerkraut. Or a lot of tiny slices of bacon. ???
In general, looking at international food in Japan is quite fascinating. Since especially European cuisine is considered quite fancy, you can see a lot of French, Italian and Spanish restaurants – even outside of Tokyo.
And you can be sure, it is always a bit japan-ized 😉