Confession – I have always secretly and sometimes not so secretly refused to go into restaurants if they had those tacky picture boards with their food on them. The signs always seem to have dirty corners where the laminate was separating and the food always looks orange and plastic-y. Not to mention, you know if you go into one of these places, there is no way that their dishes actually look like the picture anyway and therefore the photo boards are relatively obsolete.
I can now say that since we’ve moved to Japan – I have yet to eat in a restaurant that doesn’t have photo boards out front. Some have even had plastic food on a table before the door! In fact, not only have we only eaten at these restaurants we have spent significant periods of time searching and skipping other restaurants just to find one that has a picture board. All of this, of course is because although we can greet and thank the people inside, we have no idea how to do any of the stuff that comes in the middle, like ordering.
Suddenly I’m incredibly grateful for those orange coloured photos and the dirty laminated corners (though actually here they’re clean and perfect), even the plastic food and I think it’s time I apologized to all those other previously disliked restaurants. For we would certainly struggle if we only had menus without photos.
Speaking of which – the other day we went to a Chinese restaurant which gave us three menus and a cup of tea each when we sat down. The menus included: the main menu (with photos), the lunch specials (with photos) and one unidentified menu which on one side seemed to have another lunch special with various types of dumplings on it. The other side of the unidentified menu had no photos. For fun we decided just to point to one word and order one of them just to see what came out. I figured it must be the types of dumplings on the front side just separated into single servings. I pointed, ordered and got a funny look from the waiter who then brought us out another cup of tea identical to the free tea we had been given at the start which no doubt had refills. Good I hadn’t ordered 4.
Moral of the story – I love photo boards.