Posted by Buzzfeed News on Sunday, September 15, 2018 05:03:07When I visited the home of a man named Hirofumi (Hiro) I was stunned.
He was wearing a suit to a bar and dining on an extravagant meal at a fancy sushi restaurant.
He had been dining at the home where he and his wife live for the past two months.
He looked perfectly fine and had the perfect demeanor for the job.
However, when I asked if he had any reservations about the sushi restaurant and the men wearing suit, he replied, “I’d like to have some reservations.”
I asked why he had reservations.
“I want to be treated well and I want to feel respected.
That’s my whole reason for going,” he said.
He said that if I were to leave now I would regret it.
When I told him about the Japanese people’s reluctance to wear suits, he explained that people don’t like the idea of people of different races or sexualities in the same place.
I asked what he thought of a Japanese man wearing a red suit to the sushi bar.
He replied, If you don’t want to have to pay, you don.
I explained that he could easily just take the suit off and go home.
His wife said that they have a lot of reservations about it and that she’d like the man to leave, too.
Hirofumis wife, Shizu (Shizu), said she was upset by the incident.
“My husband is Japanese and I am Korean, so we’ve always felt like foreigners,” she said.
“But we’ve never felt uncomfortable with people wearing suits, and I feel like he was trying to do something to show respect.”
Shizu also noted that Japanese men are expected to wear their suits well.
“We’ve had to work hard to be Japanese,” she added.
I agreed that it was disrespectful to wear a suit and told him to wear his suit.
I also asked why there are no Japanese women in sushi bars and the man responded that he was embarrassed by the question.
“Women are not allowed to be in sushi bar,” he explained.
“It is a tradition and we are very proud of it.
But it has always been different for us.”
The woman’s husband told me that he had no reservations about wearing a blue suit to an exclusive restaurant.
“He’s not Japanese,” he told me.
“What he wants to do is just enjoy the sushi.”
______________________________________________________This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of the Washington Post.