[Round-Table Talk with Foreign Staff] Here is a tasty and pleasant Japan! Let’s approach the fascination of Zauo, a must-visit place for foreign travelers.
In the past few years, the number of foreign travelers visiting Japan has been increasing. Having exceeded the record number of 2014, more than 16 million foreign travelers have already visited Japan this year. Don’t you think that you are catching sight of foreign travelers so often in town? By the way, the basic items for the tour should be sightseeing, shopping and meals. And “Zauo” is one of the popular restaurants for foreign travelers. Some branch restaurant of Zauo seems to be occupied at almost 50% percent by foreign customers occasionally. Why is Zauo attracting so many foreigners? Mr. Takuya Takahashi, Vice President of Harbor House operating Zauo tried to unravel the secret through a talk with two foreign staff working at Zauo; Mr. Pam. Home. Thai from Vietnam and Ms. Susuma. Marra from Nepal.
Susuma. Marra（hereafter mentioned as Marra）: Yes. There seems to be a popular hotel for foreign travelers nearby and guests staying at the hotel seem to be visiting the Shinjuku branch as a group.
Takahashi: I’ve heard about that. I was so impressed to hear that there was some customer saying, “In purpose of visiting Zauo, I chose this hotel”. I should admit the power of word-of-mouth, and somebody’s review on the website often could be a motive for foreigners to visit Zauo. In analyzing the website traffic, the direct search such as “Zauo” or “Fishing restaurant” is remarkable. That means many foreigners have clear purpose to visit Zauo, not randomly, I suppose. Then, what do you think is the fascination of Zauo for foreigners?
Mr. Pam. Home. Thai (hereafter mentioned asThai)：The biggest fascination is to be able to eat great Japanese food as expected. I was also moved to eat Sushi and Sashimi, which are still my favorite food (LOL). Actually, foreign customers order Sashimi and Sushi first, followed by the grilled fish sprinkled with salt. All of them are popular due to the fresh ingredients and good taste. Some foreign customers are a bit frightened to see the raw fish such as Sashimi, however, they are hoping to try it if even just one time. I think experiencing the local food culture is one of the pleasant things while travelling.
Takahashi: Sure, it is. I’m also eating only local food while travelling abroad.
Thai： Furthermore, another fascination of Zauo is to be able to enjoy real fishing. Many customers visit our restaurant with their family and we could often see them excited to be fishing with their kids.
Marra：I understand the feeling to be excited with fishing! Foreign customers visiting Zauo are mainly from Asian countries and, among them, only a few people are coming from the country in which they can enjoy the ocean nearby like Japan. Some foreign customers are living nearby a river instead, but they net fish. Therefore, many foreign customers enjoy fishing using a rod for the first time at Zauo. Also, fish from the ocean excites the great curiosity of many foreign customers. Especially, shrimp or flatfish differ from the river fish and they are the first ones to be targeted.
Thai： Furthermore, Meguro Branch where I’m working, has a glass partition between the kitchen and customers’ table and all customers are watching the cooking procedure for the fish they caught with great curiosity. Especially, children are watching the cooking procedure adhering to the glass partition without moving. Some foreign customers are taking a video behind children. We need to keep working with all our attention. (LOL)
Takahashi: I’ve experienced that (LOL). While listening to both of you, I was convinced that how to enjoy Zauo should be universal in all countries. Many people feel that only family restaurants can accept families with small children during dinner time in Japan, however Zauo always welcomes children and offers an entertainment factor. So, when listening to somebody saying “You can enjoy Japanese food with your children without having to worry about other customers and you can also enjoy fishing for your dish”, foreign customers must feel “Then, we should go!”
If I happen to know such an attractive restaurant while travelling abroad with my family, I’m sure I’ll want to try it. Fishing itself is generally a kind of leisure activity in Japan, however a small percentage of people can enjoy fishing in some foreign counties. I’m changing the subject, but have you guys ever met customers from your countries?
Marra： No, I haven’t.
Thai： I have met some customers from my country several times. Usually, I am in charge of the kitchen, however I was requested to take care of the customer who had difficulty in choosing the menu.
Takahashi: We also have an English menu, but customers that cannot understand English are increasing more and more.
Marra： However, as customers are visiting with some knowledge about Zauo, they briefly understand what kind of dishes they can enjoy, I think. Some customers visit our restaurant in purpose of just fishing itself, which always makes us smile with a pleasant mood. Takahashi: While feeling fresh in Japanese culture as well as eating habits, the customer can enjoy the leisure fishing and the sea’s bounty. I would be so happy if foreign customers can think that Zauo offers something more to know about Japan. You guys are to be relied upon in purpose of developing the restaurant that gathers smiles and excitement of foreign customers around the world.
I look forward to your continued support.
[After the talk]
It seems that foreign customers enjoy the excitement and freshness of Japanese culture to be experienced at Zauo. However, the pleasure of fishing as well as the joy of tasting the catch is universal.
The happiness to dine at a table with family members should be common in all countries. I would be more than happy if Zauo could be recognized as the perfect spot to experience Nippon (Japan) from now.