As we reached the end of Oodori Park, Yuko and I ran into my sister Sarah and some Tsugaru JETs: Sarah H., Trish, and Abby. We decided to go to a soba shop together but never did get lunch. When Yuko went up to ask the waiter (middle-aged man) for a table for six he informed us that it was very busy and that seating that many would be too difficult. When Yuko asked him to see the waiting list he bluntly told her to please try elsewhere. Having never been the recipient of such behaviour from the service industry Yuko was left visibly stunned—and then began to frost into a cold fury. However, since the two of us had to make a two o’clock appointment we left the others to sort themselves out while we looked for a Starbucks in order to grab something quick. One flight down on the escalator, though, and I decided to return and photograph the establishment. When we got back Sarah H. informed us that a large group had just vacated an entire table and that the waiter had quickly ushered two ladies who came after us to that table. The trouble with these situations is, it’s hard to say for sure what the underlying motives are. Did the waiter not want a group of young gaijin to deal with on a busy day, or did he honestly think that the restaurant couldn’t accommodate a table of six on the last day of the Snow Festival? It was certainly already accommodating a group or two of (or near to) that size when we arrived.
As I said, Yuko was embarrassed and furious (she will be calling the head office of Yagumo this week), but I was honestly more annoyed at the lady who walked into this photo I was trying to take of Yuko making an angry face in front of the restaurant. After all, for some of us this is old news.