Lunch: What to do when an entire country eats at the same time

In Japan, lunch has finite hours – 11:30am – 2pm.  At my place of business, the bell rings at 11:30am and the lights turn off [energy savings – google Fukushima].  The elevators become jammed and the crowds gather in the form of queues at the restaurants in the mall.  At 12:30pm, the bell rings and the lights come back on.

I’m writing this because  I decided to work through “lunch” but someone on my Facebook posted a photo of a burger and at 2:30pm, I succumbed to the power of suggestion.

My choices were:

1) Convenient store food – which is normally fine but wouldn’t satisfy this particular craving

2) Sogo – department store takeout – but Japanese burgers are a whole other animal or

3) Head to the mall and see what is open.

I opted for the best bet – gaijin food at Bay Quarter Mall.  There have been reviews about the best burger being served at Kua’Aina.

And while this story is about not conforming to norms [honestly, it feels like a jail break to be out and about during the day], I’d like to digress to tell you that this burger is the best I’ve had in Japan.

When I ordered, they didn’t ask me how I would like it cooked so I lowered my expectations about the meat.  The burger looked exactly like the photo.  Fresh bread with poppy seeds tasted like the bakery my grandfather used to go to in Jamesburg, NJ.  They used half of an avocado [not just a slice or 2].  The onion was crispy and delicious.  Now, if I were in the US, I would say work on the meat but I’m not and it satisfied perfectly.

By the way, there are 3 Hawaiian restaurants in this 1 mall.

Digression over.

There have been other times when I have tried to have lunch after 2pm with less luck.  In Shinjuku, I ended up buying convenient store food and eating in the park.  In Asakusa, I walked for several miles until I found a decent noodle shop.  When my husband was here, I had to push to think about eating before 2pm.  He’s famous for the 3pm dinner/lunch.

I know when my husband & I went to France, we had some problems with the lunch hour as well.  Are we the only ones that like to sleep in and eat off hours on vacation?  Is it just Americans that are more capitalistic and want to capture any starving marv at 3pm?

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4 Responses to Lunch: What to do when an entire country eats at the same time

  1. horimasa says:

    Reblogged this on Japan Reblogged and commented:
    The burger looks so delicous! For me 1000 yen for a burger is a bit expensive. Around noon, many retaurants and izakaya serve a few lunch menu at reasonable price. After that, they are closed. So, I have to go lunch around noon to save money ;).

  2. Lori Ono says:

    I like Kua Aina’s pineapple burger. There is a great burger place on Meiji Dori near Onotesando kosaten. Sadly, the name escapes me now. Walked by it many times and finally stopped in.

    In terms of lunch hours, I have a friend from Argentina who thinks lunch is really early if it’s around noon. She claims late lunch is Latin-style.

    • Late by itself is Latin style! Most times I do eat early, I just like the choice of going out later and not seeing “Closed” signs.
      12 days left to go – I’m trying not to think about burgers and focus on all the Japanese food I’m going to miss.

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