Thursday, April 17, 2014


In Japan if you are in a restaurant and want the waiters attention, you can just yell すみません at the top of your voice and someone will come running. Now you probably know that translates to "excuse me" in English, but is it OK to just shout this in shops and restaurants in other countries? Well no, not really. If you are in a cafe or restaurant the most polite way to get a waiters attention is with eye contact and a raised hand. Saying "excuse me" in a loud voice sounds like you are angry. If you can't see a waiter (and I know this sounds strange) the best thing is to get up and look for one rather than just shouting. This might happen if the if it is a very quiet day or a very local area with few customers. If you really can't find any staff then it's OK to say "excuse me" and hope someone hears you, (this goes for shops too).


  1. I agree to your opinion basically, but I think how to catch the waiters attention is different for each person and his setting. All Japanese doesn't yelling at a fancy restaurant to catch a waiter. Nicer manners are needed at nicer restaurants. But cheep restaurants may not follow this rule. They don't have enough staff and good atmosphere. Personally, yelling "excuse me" is not the first choice at even those restaurants. I can push the bottom on the table or raise a hand. Of course, sometimes they don't find me because of busyness or noisiness. In this case I will yell as loud as possible.

  2. So true Masa. I though about that when I was writing it. You would never yell "excuse me" in a nice restaurant in Japan. I wouldn't yell excuse me in any restaurant in Australia unless I was angry (maybe that is just me), however if it took me more than a minute or so to get a waiters attention I just might be angry enough to shout :P