Japanese Writer Praises Korean Restaurant Serving Leftovers

Social activist Amamiya Karin

Amamiya Karin, a left-wing social activist who is known for representing the Japanese Precariat [the ‘precarious proletariat’], wrote a small piece for the Niigata Nippo newspaper about a trip she recently took to Korea, which was published on December 28.

By December 29, the print article had been scanned and uploaded to 2ch blogs, where it began attracting considerable netizen attention for Amamiya’s story about a Korean restaurant that served leftovers. Amamiya is well known for her left-wing views, which means that the right-wing netouyo have reacted to her unusual travel tale.

Author Amamiya Karin:’Korea’s Culture of Giving Leftovers to Customers Really Moved Me. Compared to that, Japan is Depressing’

At the beginning of December, we went to Korea. Two women, on a trip where they would just eat as much delicious Korean food as they could. We stayed for two nights and three days, ate six meals a day, so in total we ate about twenty meals. Going to Korea like that really was a ‘detox’ trip.

A restaurant we visited on our first day has a management policy that is based on the unwavering principle that the ‘customer is the lowest’, and it really impressed me. First of all, although the woman on the door was quite persistent, once we got into the restaurant, the old woman suddenly changed. She switched to a way of treating us very roughly. The Yukgaejang and the squid stir-fry that we had ordered were delicious, but when we ordered, we were already annoyed. And then the icing on the cake was the ‘scene of the restaurant staff having a meal’.

The original article by Amamiya Karin in the Niigata Nippo

The original article by Amamiya Karin in the Niigata Nippo

Although the staff working in the restaurant took their rice from a different rice cooker to that which was used for customers, the rice in the staff rice cooker was clearly going to be ready first.

That was fine, but after the meal there was a problem. When the staff had finished eating, they put the leftover rice into the ‘rice cooker for customers’, as though it was quite reasonable. Those who had leftovers, returned their rice to the rice cooker from which the rice for us was taken, as though this was quite normal. When I saw that, I was really touched.

A while ago, there was some trouble in Japan when a high-class eatery had been re-using leftover dishes, and yet in this restaurant in our neighbouring Korea, the leftover rice from staff meals was openly being supplied to customers. What’s more, there were no bad feelings about it either.

In Japan, at some point the value judgement that ‘it is the consumers who are the most important’, is widely acknowledged. In a society in which we complain at the slightest thing, we end up being pretty savage. However, having had the precious experience, of ‘paying to allowed to eat leftovers’, it made me think. Wouldn’t it be ok if we were a bit more laid back about things? At the very least, having witnessed this scene, I no longer want to be friends with people who get angry over things like this.

Comments from Twitter:


Would have been better if Amamiya hadn’t come back to Japan…


 I don’t really know whether she’s praising the Korean restaurant or putting them down. What is she on about?


Seriously disgusting \(^o^)/ Is she stupid or what w


I hated her before, but with this she’s the lowest of the low. Get out of Japan!!


Fucking mental.


Being happy at getting served leftovers. There’s no need to expose your extreme masochistic fetish w.


An old hag who was made to eat toxic food in Korea when she went there on a detox.


So this is what they mean by ‘killing them with kindness’, then?

失言[email protected]ろんがいさん:

Which country’s newspaper was this!?


This is really disrespectful towards Korea, isn’t this kind of thing getting booed in Korea nowadays too?


I thought that this was sarcasm, but it wasn’t sarcasm.


Come on, I mean even if this kind of thing was discovered in Korea then they’d usually have their operating licence suspended….


Leftovers are disgusting, naturally.


I reckon this is sarcasm for sure.


What is she saying?

倖秀@3G 自動リフォロー中:

I also have no desire to become friends with people like you.


……^^; This is so mental, it’s hilarious w


When I read the article I thought it was some kind of black humour, but somehow she seems to be saying it for real…What happened to her?


Waah, I really don’t want to go there w


Amamiya Karin — is she the one who wrote that book ‘Groupies A -go-go’?


This is so insane I have nothing to sayw


(゚Д゚;) Yeah, Japanese culture all the way for me, thanks.

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  • Kate

    I’m not sure if she is being insulting or not? The rice was being put back from peoples bowls back into the rice cooker for customers? That is disgusting, who knows if those employees are sick or sneezed or slobbered or whatever into the rice. That would be a healthcode violation in the usa.

  • Anonymous

    if she thinks that was an act of kindness she is insane!

    it is disgusting!

  • chucky3176

    Typical backhanded Japanese insult, which they are so famous for, this story is not surprising at all. They write stuff like all the time. They need to do this, so that they can convince themselves that they are still racially superior, and that they are still on top. They need that assurance even more these days with the way their economy is going and their insecurity increases vies a vie Korea.

    Their internet is full of Korea related subjects for them to use to bash on Koreans – even on subjects that most Koreans don’t even know about. It’s getting to the point of Korea hatred/phobia hysteria. On the other hand, in Korea, attitude toward Japan is increasingly one of apathy. You’d have to look hard to find any news on Japan or any heated discussion on Japanese either – not too many Koreans care anymore.

    • dim mak

      Eh, left-wingers should always be slammed no matter what country they’re from or what they believe in

      For the good of humanity

      • R u srs

        Your ignorance is showing..

        • dim mak

          Buttmad lefty detected


      • Indeed. They all love having their shit pushed in.

    • Kate

      I’m not sure if she was being sarcastic and insulting Koreans or genuinely meant her statement as a compliment…..if it was sarcasm it wasn’t very good. I never felt like Korean restaurants were dirty, I never got sick eating out. Who knows how 100% the truth of what she said was, she could of easily exaggerated to give herself something to write about.

      You know how I was always able to tell Japanese women from Korean women in places like Dongdaemun and Namdaemun? Japanese women wear realllllllllllllllllllllly thick eye makeup and use a lot of fake eyelashes and mascara and Korean women don’t.

      • dim mak

        She’s a leftist, there’s little doubt she’s sucking up to whatever her country thinks is its rival/polar opposite. Not that there’s anything wrong with Korea, that’s just what leftists do. Betray their country while using moral justifications as excuse.

        • wth

        • Anonymal

          shes not betraying her country you retard.

      • chucky3176

        I stopped wondering if she was being sarcastic or not, as soon as I read that she saw Koreans openly dumping rice out of their bowls and into customer’s rice pot, and no Koreans complained, but that they just thought it was normal. Yeah right. If I saw that, I would flip and I would let the restaurant and the other customers know about it. That kind of open behavior is definitely not considered normal, although you never know what some dishonest restaurants do behind the counters, out of the customer’s eyes, to save money. She would have been far more believable if she said she caught the employees dumping used rice. But to claim Koreans do this openly without batting an eye, and claiming that it’s considered a normal friendly behavior.. uh huh… yeah right.

        • Kate

          Hey I wanted to ask you a question that’s totally unrelated to this post. I was reading an article or blog the other day that stated “When polled, 85% of Korean salary men admitted to cheating on their wife with prostitutes and that Korean culture encourages men to visit prostitutes and cheat and that it is not “if” a salary man cheats with prostitutes it is “how often”. Because of the culture of the boss taking male employees or others they are dealing with to norabangs and they hire women to dance and sing with them and for about $200 the women will give sexual services and that all the men go to love motels with these prostitutes.

          My husband said that was way too high of a number, he said he didn’t think it was a frequent as the article said or that 100% of salary men cheat. According to your personal experience, was the article spot on or exaggerating that part ofKoren culture?

          • chucky3176

            I’d be lying to you if I knew what the percentage of men who cheat on their wives. But yeah, that figure sounds ridiculously overstated – that’s almost like saying all Korean men cheat on their wives. Also, Western people have a wrong ideal about room salons. Yes, it’s true that it’s common for businesses to be done in room salons. But it doesn’t always necessarily lead to trading of sex. Some men will go all the way, while most will stop at drinking and singing with the girls. The expenses of room salons are typically covered by the company, as an entertainment expense. Anything beyond that, is a personal choice and arrangement with the drinky hostess girl – some girls will do it, some strictly don’t, it depends on the girl and how far she’s willing to go. Most Korean wives accept the drinking with the guys who have pretty girls beside them, as part of career development. That is, as long as the wives don’t find out the men slept with the drinky girls. If their husbands crosses that line, then it inevitably leads to marriage conflict.

            So I think that your 80% poll result is not the number of Korean who have cheated on their wives, it’s the number of Korean men who have experienced room salons (that may or may not include sexual infidelity).

        • besudesu

          Yeah Chucky, I have to agree. There is no way that this would be considered normal in Korea, and customers would definitely make their feelings known if they saw something like this. I think that Amamiya is just trying to make a point about how she feels Japanese society is overly geared towards consumerism — she just doesn’t make that point very well at all.

    • linette lee

      hahahahahahah…..Koreans indeed…are very civilized. Their barbaric behavior is not helping your korean image. >.<

      • Kate

        Koreans are not barbaric Linette (my husband and daughter certainly aren’t). If this really happened it wasn’t normal for Korean restaurants. I’ve eaten out plenty kn Korea and never got sick, never saw anything like this author said, and the service was always excellent generally. If anything it is the Japanese who are far more barbaric in actions then anyone based on their past history (rape of nanking anyone?)

        • Japanese were barbaric in the past but the Koreans are barbaric in the present. Don’t forget, millions in North Korea are starving and dying as a result. They’re so malnourished that North Koreans are generally shorter than South Koreans. North Korea has one of the worst human rights records on Earth. Millions are tortured just for bashing the evil Kim dynasty or sent to torturous labor camps if they’re caught trying to leave the country just because they want a better life elsewhere

          Look at any satellite image and you’ll see that North Korea is dark while South Korea is shining.

          North Korea is spending millions on nuclear technology and long-range missiles instead of helping its own people. WTF?!?

          • chucky3176

            So you’re denigrating all Korean people everywhere as barbaric because of what the North Korean government is doing???

          • Yes, just like how the Chinese and the Koreans designate all Japanese as barbaric because of the past

          • anonymous

            Look a spic saying he’s civilized. LOL.

          • some guy

            And you are…?

          • anonymous

            Millions upon millions of Mexican illegals are over running California and Texas, while Mexico is in barbaric drug wars. You shouldn’t be the one who call other uncivilized.

          • I’m not even Mexican. You’re a dumbass

          • the other guy

            A barbaric drug war financed with the money of your coked Wall Street brokers and your crack whores. If you want to stop drugs, then stop buying it. Simple as that!

          • Kate

            Yes I agree that NK is barbaric but they are not South Korea. They are not the same Koreans as South Koreans and remember that the actual NK people are just people who are suffering under a brutal dictatorship.

          • North Korea is still Korea regardless. You call Japanese barbaric because of the past while what the North Koreans are doing is happening in the present

            I agree, North Koreans are innocent people who deserve better but the fact that their own people, their own government, are doing them harm in the present is just wrong on so many levels

          • chucky3176

            I never said anything about Japanese being barbaric, please tell me where you’re getting this from. It’s the other way around, it’s always the Japanese who are saying Koreans are barbaric and racially beneath Japanese. Just look at the comments, and the writer of the original story.

          • You’re kidding right? I’ve seen plenty of comments by Koreans calling the Japanese names such as “monkey” and “barbarians.” I’ve seen pictures of Korean protesters cutting their fingers off and a Korean guy stabbing himself all because they want the world to know that Dokdo is Korean, not Japanese.

            There’s a lot more but the truth remains, Koreans are just as barbaric as the Japanese

            Look at these images. Koreans have done these kinds of protests for years: http://www.china.org.cn/photos/2012-09/26/content_26636253.htm

            I’m indeed a Japan apologist, but Korean nationalists like you make me laugh

          • chucky3176

            Dude, it’s only about a dozen or so old men protesting. You’ll never see any young ones protesting like that. If they’re barbarians, what about your people, attacking schools, marching on TV stations over stupid TV shows, holding up signs saying “Koreans are cockroaches that need to be killed”, attacking Korean tourists, and so on and on. You’re the one who’s kidding right?

          • I’m not even Japanese and you’re definitely kidding or your Korean nationalism is so intense that you’re in denial. Go to Chinasmack and search for “Angry Korean people.”

            Koreans protests a lot, and the truth remains, they’re just as barbaric as the Japanese

            Funniest protests they’ve done? Protesting over the Lee Myung Bak adiminstration’s decision to allow back American beef after it was cleared of Mad Cow Disease. They protested, believing that there’s still Mad cow disease and that they don’t want American beef back but in the end, there REALLY wasn’t mad cow disease. lol, idiots. This was in 2008, remember?

        • chucky3176

          She’s just sore because of what I said about the weapons wielding illegal Chinese fishermen illegally fishing in Korean waters. I said the Chinese fishermen are barbaric because they violently resist South Korean coast guards. There are 5000 Chinese boats that are in South Korean waters, EVERYDAY, raping the sea of life. Chinese have overfished their waters into extinction, so now they decide to steal and rob from Korea. They’ve already killed two South Korean coast guards, and have injured hundreds more. I said these people were barbaric, now she’s mad because of that. It’s really too bad how South Korean government treats these illegal fishermen with kid gloves. These Chinese junk boats should be blasted out of the waters.

          • Anonymal

            hey man maybe the problem lies with the South Korean coast guard. I am sure the Chinese fisherman will not resist the guard’s advances if they were seductive enough. How about courses on how to seduce Chinese fishermen? a rose and a chocolate box might work. If that doesnt work, how about a strip dance for the Chinese fishermen? woo woo~

        • Thor

          Whales, anyone ?

      • Anonymal

        Hey man are you sure Chinese are very civilized to be making that kinda statement?

  • dim mak

    As long as it’s priced at a discount
    Here in Canuckistan they throw away all leftovers because of health concerns or some shit

    • hang

      Few people in any country would voluntarily eat the leftovers from a stranger’s plate, discounted or not.

      • Truth

        Unfortunately it’s the truth and it is being done in Korean restaurants around the world. I and my wife used to be a big fan of Korwan restaurants and food but when we found out they were serving leftovers in the restaurants, we stop going to Korean restaurant. BTW I am Thai and not Japanese. the restaurants I am talking about are in Thailand.

  • GakuseiDon

    So… was it sarcasm, or was it sincere? Sounds like even the Japanese posters are uncertain.

  • ChuckRamone

    Did this stuff really happen? Or is she making it up? What’s the name of the restaurant? Did she report it to any authorities?

  • elizabeth

    Looks like she is getting back at the restaurant that refused entry to her (because it was a meal break for employees) but she insisted on being served, only to be badly treated. But she didn’t want to appear vindictive (in a supposedly gracious and refined society) so she ‘praised’ the restaurant after being so ‘touched’.

    Anyone who says she doesn’t want to befriend someone else for not wanting to be served leftover is either being picky (of friends) herself or intolerant of the concerns of others (about eating leftovers which might be contaminated).

  • vincent

    Not sure if trolling or stupid 😐

    • Anonymal

      or a spy, my colleague sitting next to me keep saying this.

  • elizabeth

    To reduce wastage, some restaurants serve smaller portions or charge extra for leftover portions (in the case of buffets). Good practise, more hygienic and healthier too.

  • redcup44

    i hope this makes its way to the new york times.

    i’m sick of those disgusting gooks putting up their little oriental towns in my state.

    every single one of those slanteyes should be shot dead.

    • Oppan Gangnam Style~!

    • whofanz591jp

      feel free to say that IRL

    • robert1965h8

      you’re a real beacon of intelligence..

  • Moniisek

    okay..? that was weird.

  • chucky3176

    Trolling, Japan Style, confirmed.

    This woman is a leftist social activist, but she was in her youth, a right wing nationalist who was also known as the “mini skirt nationalist”, who used to belong to a right wing punk band.


    Just because she’s supposedly a leftist social activist now, it doesn’t mean she has thrown away Japanese people’s deep prejudices against Koreans, especially her right wing roots during her youth.

  • caro_7

    Uh… what..? As a Korean, even Korean people think re-using the same rice is unsanitary and weird. It’s quite a back-handed compliment to describe quaint-in-her-eyes Korean society, which not one Korean person would take well.

  • Icky

    I may have misread this, but it seemed to me that she was writing about a restaurant with a gimmick that involves deliberately treating the customer badly?

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