An eatery where the appetizer is an apology

Chopsticks1In yet another weird Asian restaurant quirk, Reuters reports, “Japanese customers must apologize for their country’s wartime occupation of China before getting a seat at a restaurant in former Manchuria.” The restaurant’s staff was told to press Japanese customers on their views of Japan’s occupation of China (1931-45), and keep unapologetic patrons from eating there. They also hung a sign saying “Japanese people barred from entry,” leading me to wonder why a visiting Japanese tourist would bother eating there in the first place. The motivation for this treatment stems from a widespread Chinese belief that Japan never acknowledged the atrocities it committed during the occupation. "We totally welcome those Japanese customers who can correctly view history," said Tian, the restaurant’s manager. "But as for those customers who still refuse to admit to history, we want to say we don’t like them." These partisan eateries make me nervous. If the idea caught on in the U.S., we could see red state/blue state restaurants; the former would require a loyalty pledge prior to seating, and the latter would force hungry customers to hit a bull’s-eye on a dartboard made from Ronald Reagan’s presidential portrait. Or worse. Truly, this is a dark omen.

—Posted by David Kiefaber