The store’s odd practice is a stark contrast to Japan’s stance on cleanliness.
Japan is a very clean country, and being responsible for your own mess is so ingrained into Japanese society that public trash bins aren’t even necessary.
So when Japanese-language reporter K. Masami found out there was a tempura store that allowed customers to consume Asari clams and throw their shells on the floor like litter, she knew she had to see it with her own eyes.
The restaurant was called Tempura Daikichi, a tempura chain in Osaka. Its head store is more suited to the nightlife scene, opening its doors from midnight during weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. Masami did not fancy staying up so late, however, so she decided to pay the branch in Nanba City a visit, which operated on a different schedule.
▼ That particular store was packed with people even after the usual lunch rush.
A relaxed and merry atmosphere greeted her as she pored over the lunch menu, eventually settling on a seven-piece tempura platter (1,000 yen, US$9.10) and Asari clam miso soup (380 yen).
▼ An alcoholic beverage would go well with the food, too.
As Masami waited patiently for her order to arrive, unfamiliar click-clack sounds reached her ears. Upon turning her head, she realized that people were indeed throwing Asari clam shells onto the floor without a care in the world.
A closer inspection revealed that the ground was covered in a fine powder, the origin of which must have come from people crunching discarded shells beneath their shoes.
▼ Bins were also available for those who prefered the conventional way.
It did not take long for her food to arrive, and Masami found the tempura absolutely delicious. Every piece was fresh and crunchy as she had expected. Not only did the tempura dipping sauce come with plenty of grated daikon radish, sauce refills were totally free of charge, too.
▼ Few things could beat the combination of ice-cold beer and top-quality tempura.