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  • This is a day in the life of a Japanese waitress.

  • This is Yuki.

  • 24 years old.

  • Living in the heart of Tokyo and she's just waking up for work I guess she's still a little sleepy.

  • She lives on her own in this one K apartment meaning one room and kitchen.

  • Not surprising in the middle of the city.

  • Oh she's using a disposable toothbrush.

  • That's a new one for the series.

  • She's originally from Fukuoka but because of her love for anime, she would visit Tokyo at least once a month to attend anime events.

  • So it was only natural for her to move here after graduating university.

  • That's an interesting breakfast.

  • You have so many remote so what do you want?

  • What's your favorite right now?

  • Cool.

  • I guess she's gonna watch some anime while she gets ready.

  • So Yuki considers herself an anime.

  • Otaku in Japan.

  • Otaku meeting someone who's deeply obsessed in something once having a negative connotation of people so obsessed in their hobby that they were thought of as poorly dressed and stayed home all day.

  • But now there are fitness, Otaku and even fashion Otaku in Japan.

  • In fact, today, 45% of Japanese consider themselves Otaku.

  • So Yuki commutes to work by train along with the majority of Tokyo residents.

  • Her commute, fortunately is only about 15-20 minutes with no transfer as she was able to choose her apartment after getting her job.

  • Good morning y'all.

  • I'm back with another day in the life.

  • This one is going to be a special one.

  • The train should be coming soon and Yuki should be on it.

  • I think it's right here.

  • Good morning.

  • Did you sleep well last night?

  • I guess that's early for her.

  • So her workplace is just a four minute walk from the Shinjuku station West exit, interestingly, Shinjuku station itself is the world's busiest railway station with over 3.6 million people passing through daily, which helps explain their constant flow of customers.

  • And this is where she works.

  • Yuki is a waitress at Pandora, a Teppanyaki restaurant, japanese style flat grill, which has been a local favorite since 1972 serving Kobe beef steaks and teppanyaki course meals.

  • So one of her first test in the morning is to check the restaurants, emails to ensure that all of the reservation requests she received overnight are registered in the system.

  • After that she works in the shop social media.

  • What do you have to do?

  • Right.

  • Oh, she's talking on the phone.

  • Taking customer reservations is also one of her daily responsibilities.

  • Now she moves on to our next morning task cleaning, starting with the restrooms in japan.

  • It's comments not to use cleaning companies for restaurants and businesses in general.

  • It's very much ingrained in japanese culture taught as early as elementary school, Japanese students learn to respect their surroundings by taking responsibility for different areas in the school each day, including the toilets.

  • Oh, that's an ocean body.

  • The customary wet towel offered before the meal.

  • It's not only used for customers to wipe their hands but also it's a sign of welcome bodies are regularly offered warm in the winter and chilled in the summer to create an even more welcoming environment.

  • Do you buy those?

  • Oh, I guess the restaurant received a delivery from the beverage vendor.

  • It's not necessarily her job to stock the items, but it's common in Japan for any of the workers to pick up small tasks like this when they see it's available.

  • It's all about working as a team.

  • So about half an hour before the restaurant opens, Yuki starts preparing the signs in Tokyo and other major cities in Japan where the restaurants are often hidden inside of buildings like pandora restaurants commonly advertise their menu with pictures on street level.

  • You made that.

  • So it looks like he's gonna be cleaning for just a little bit.

  • So let's do what we do and explore this place.

  • Maybe we can meet some people.

  • Hi, what are you doing?

  • So what's on today's menu.

  • Wait to see it.

  • So that sign behind me is really important.

  • It actually tells you where the beef is coming from and it even has the serial number.

  • Oh the chef is doing stash ingredient prep for the day and while she cleans the drain right away, got to appreciate that cleanliness and now she does for the garlic, which is a key and green and many Teppanyaki dishes.

  • So what do you use the garlic for?

  • You gonna slice it now.

  • Hi, can I bother you?

  • You look like the manager?

  • How long have you been working here?

  • So what's important when working as the manager?

  • Got it?

  • Cool.

  • They even have a private smoking area here.

  • So you don't bother the other customers.

  • Okay.

  • So I was actually looking at this tank behind me like oh I guess they don't have any fish.

  • In fact just right here they have bobby, oh, blades of steel, that's a real deal 16th century samurai armor worn by one of the top generals made a sitting in the open.

  • The restaurant actually has two separate restaurants, one on the second floor and the other on the fourth and the workers share the load between the two.

  • Today, Yuki is working mainly on the fourth floor.

  • The Kobe beef specialty Teppanyaki restaurant but will sometimes help on the second floor as needed.

  • A typical Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, The chef cooks the food over a flat stainless steel grill right in front of customers.

  • So it's Yuki job as a waitress to see the clients take orders, serve drinks and sides while also keeping the table clean.

  • The food looks phenomenal sizzling on the tip on interestingly, it's often completely confused with hibachi, which in japan is simply a circular heating container designed to hold burning charcoal and teppanyaki itself in japan is not known to be a flashy dinner performance but a way to cook food such as steak.

  • Okonomiyaki and teppanyaki wow, it's before noon and the seats are already filled up.

  • Okay, so we are in the kitchen and you can see right here this is the miso soup and those are the ingredients that when you put the miso soup and it's all ready to go.

  • In fact, it's typical in a japanese restaurant for the rice and miso to be served at the same time as the main dish.

  • So it's her responsibility to keep a keen eye on each table to ensure that the food is served on time by the way.

  • Do you have any days off and what do you do when you're like, what do you go alone?

  • How do you make friends online?

  • I see.

  • Oh I guess this salaryman is here for a quick lunch in the city, especially in crowded business districts with many japanese salaryman.

  • It's common for restaurants during lunch time to also prioritize a speedy and quick service, understanding that many office workers have short lunch breaks.

  • So the restaurant staff need to be extra diligent when preparing and serving food.

  • So I think Yugi is gonna be a little bit busy serving all the customers.

  • So let's go down to the second floor and see what's going on.

  • Oh the chefs making their lunchtime humbug.

  • What's the key to a delicious hamburger.

  • Cool.

  • So Japanese humbug is quite a bit different compared to the Western Hamburger for one.

  • The meat patty is served with a side of rice instead of between two buns.

  • Also, the patty itself is made to be juicier in ingredients like onion, Panko egg and flour are often used, creating a different flavor and texture profile.

  • Wow, that smells amazing.

  • Is it slowing down?

  • Oh, I see.

  • Yuki is also responsible for tending to the front register in japan.

  • It's fairly common for customers to pay at the register even more so during lunch time.

  • So it's normal to have a line of salaryman waiting to pay at the door.

  • Oh that's the shoe show an official japanese, A nine itemized receipt often requested by japanese businessmen for tax filing purposes.

  • Oh, it seems like the last lunchtime customers left in Japan.

  • It's very common for restaurants to close down for a few hours between lunch and dinner to clean up rest and prepare for the evening.

  • Oh, she's recording the sales from lunchtime.

  • How are the sales so far?

  • That's good to hear.

  • So this is awesome.

  • They're about to have their makin a meal.

  • The worker's lunch time.

  • She didn't eat much for breakfast so she must be hungry at this restaurant.

  • Everyone helps out by cooking and serving their own makin, a meal provided by the restaurant or the workers.

  • It's a large part of japanese restaurant culture for workers to eat together in this way, McKenna allows the workers a chance to talk bond with each other and it even sometimes gives rise to a new menu ideas a lot of the time though, the mckinney meals are completely different from what served on the restaurant's menu, where are you going now?

  • Shopping for store supplies is also one of the responsibilities other than food and drinks.

  • The restaurant also needs to purchase cleaning supplies, stationery napkins and so on.

  • They often purchase in bulk online.

  • But since the store is really close by, he goes in person almost every day.

  • So what did you buy today?

  • I guess the dinner shift has begun and there's a customer already.

  • So the restaurant reopens at five PM for dinner common for many restaurants in Japan, usually starting slow with customers but picking up by around six.

  • Another common requirement when working as floor staff for many Japanese restaurants is fluency and a system of honorific speech in the japanese language to show a sign of respect in this case to the customers.

  • Even difficult for many japanese, especially without practice.

  • Fortunately for Yuki, she worked part time at a restaurant even during university, which allowed her plenty of opportunity to refine her language ability.

  • What's that?

  • Nice?

  • Apparently, the restaurant is doing a collaboration with the local producers to create seasonal menu items like this and Yuki is the one who organized it.

  • She says that as an anime Otaku, it's one of her future dreams to create and run her own collaboration cafe, although it's still a vague idea right now.

  • She truly, it's working for an owner that provides such an encouraging environment.

  • I hope her dream comes true.

  • Nice.

  • They're saying the customer all the way after the elevator known as Romeo Cody escorting customers as part of japanese restaurant culture as well as high end department stores and even car dealerships.

  • It's a sign of respect and gratitude for coming to their business.

  • She says that during her time working as a full time waitress, she learned the importance of reading and anticipating the customer's needs and acting beforehand.

  • It's a large part of Japanese culture, a deep and honest form of hospitality, treating customers with respect without asking for anything in return.

  • One of the main reasons why in Japan tips at the end of the meal are very uncustomary.

  • Okay, so the last customer has left now it's time to clean up the place.

  • Oh it looks like Yuki is washing the dishes for the last time today.

  • Although the workers started cleaning up when the customers slowed down towards the end of the night.

  • Now the team focuses all of their attention to closing up.

  • Okay, it looks like Yuki is done on the fourth floor but now she joined the second floor to help finish up.

  • Oh she's cleaning out the beer dispenser.

  • Apparently the restaurant cleans each piece and runs water through the machine as part of their daily cleaning routine to ensure that customers receive the best quality beer each and every time it served.

  • Now she has to recheck the beverage inventory and place orders for the next day.

  • Oh, so you're using the fax machine to place the order.

  • So in japan fax machines even in this day are still being used not only in business offices, but in restaurants as well, there are still vendors and customers to prefer facts so as not to inconvenience them and to keep their business.

  • Japanese establishments continue to offer facts support.

  • Also, all the sales from today must be accounted for and recorded at this point, the restaurant is almost ready to be closed but since she still has a bit of extra time, she again makes use of it by doing some administrative work like making flyers, creating sNS posts and so on today.

  • Nice.

  • She's bringing home the leftover rice.

  • You finally done quite a long day, but for many japanese who work full time in the japanese food service industry, the shift starts from when the restaurant opens until it closes.

  • At last.

  • She's made it home time for her to get her me time, but first before dinner she quickly plastic wrap the rice individually for freezing quite a common practice in japan.

  • She says this amount of rice will last for about a full week.

  • Now time to get dinner ready.

  • I guess today she's having the rice that she brought back with her along with other food she already has in her fridge, you cook that fish yourself.