When nice French dish turned to the worst one

9 Jan

Last month my hubby and I went to see our friends to have a nice dinner at a French restaurant near our house. I knew we had to pay over 7000 yen (about US$70) per person for the dinner.
Most of the time I fix meals and we do not spend much money to eat out, except for some special occasions. That day was one of the special occasions that is called “Bounenkai” sort of end-of-year party.The french restaurant was very small and we were the only customers who stayed there at that day.
That was good, if only there were no kids.

That was a big surprise to me when I found some of the friends brought their kids and a baby to the restaurant. I knew they had kids but I thought they would ask someone to take care of the kids when they eat at a good restaurant. I was so shocked and unhappy to this matter. The meal was good, but the conversation was focused on their kids world! Someone sings baby songs, 4-year-old boy crawled under our chairs, and the baby parents even change diapers in the middle of the meal, not at the rest room but at the bench on which they sat. A daddy had a boy on his shoulders and played with another boy speaking like a baby words, when a mommy scolded her kids making noise with the cutlery. These activities were made while we had a dinner at a nice French restaurant.
Can you believe that?

That was a nightmare!
I was appalled and didn’t even feel like getting furious at them.
I just couldn’t believe what I was watching. Instead I kept myself drunk & quiet.
The friends of us are nice people, but from this aspect I would never regard them as my “friends” from the bottom of my heart and I realized I dumped the money, prescious time of my own, respect to the foods and friends at that night. I was looking for this occasion since some of the friends were for the first time in long time absence. But I was just so shocked and swore I’d never have such dinner again in my life.

On the way back to our house, I asked my hubby how he’d feel about this situation.
According to him, in Japan it’s quite normal to bring kids anywhere, and kids are always at the centre of the topic, which does not matter even if we also have kids or not. That cannot be helped because parents wouldn’t think as I do. They are just happy talking about their kids, bringing them to anywhere they want to.

WHY? I saw parents eating cold meal after taking care of the baby. They shouldn’t be happy with that. Let alone, how about the people like us who were involved in that?
In fact, there was no fruitfull talk among adults and that was also great disappointment to me. The price of the meal should not be just for the meal. It should include a good opportunity for nice conversation in a good atmosphere.

I’m still confused with this incident.
Am I wrong? Do I think abnormal?
This is something like non-spoken rule, or common sense.
So I just write as I feel.

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10 Responses to “When nice French dish turned to the worst one”

  1. Walter January 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Dear Kirin,

    You’re not wrong. πŸ™‚ You don’t think abnormal. 😯
    It doesn’t matter whether ‘in Japan it’s normal’ to focus on
    children.
    If you’re meeting your friends after a long time the focus of your friends should be on meeting you , not on entertaining their kids.
    It’s not exclusive to your country( Japan) . Whenever I meet family or friends with young children, conversation or attention ( focus) tends to be on the kids, the Kids, THE KIDS..
    I completely understand how you feel.
    If I’m meeting good friends at an expensive restaurant, or any other occasion, even as devoted parents, my friends leave their kids with their grandparents or a babysitter.
    If they don’t , I won’t go to such a place with them again.
    I’ll talk to them about it and then I’ll see if or how we can stay friends or not.
    Don’t misunderstand me. I like kids. I don’t have any.
    If I want to see my friends kids , I’ll visit them at their home.
    Till next time, Kirin. πŸ˜‰

  2. Christian January 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm #

    Hi Karin;

    It really sounded like you have a very bad experience; In my opinion, I do think that, If you are going to an expensive restaurant, people should at least leave their kids somewhere else, so the meal can be enjoyable, or at least try not to do those things, like changing diapers… So, in my opinion I do agreed with you, so don’t get worried I don’t think that is abnormal the way you think

  3. Tom January 9, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    I think you sound like an American!

    No, I feel the same way. But I am surprised how rare it is for Japanese parents to find a babysitter for their kids. It’s just not really done here.

  4. kirin January 11, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    @Walter,

    Thanks for your opinion.
    As you say, I’d be happy to have this situation if only the location was thier house, instead of the French restaurant.
    I wish that were a home party with casual meal. 😦

    @Christian,

    Thank you for your visit & comment to my post.
    Yes, that was the worst experience that I had at the end of the year. It’s too bad the way I think was far from that of my friend’s. But thank you for your opinion. My way of thinking was not very strange, when I read all these comments here. πŸ˜‰

    @Tom,

    Glad to have your voice! It’s so true babysitter is not common in Japan. Also, I’ve noticed that things like this is very common; parents sleep with kids & call each other “dad” & “mom” instead of each name as they did before they had kids. I really dislike that many parents do not separate their life with kids from that of husband & wife.
    Well, I don’t have kids, so I just don’t know the truth though πŸ˜›

  5. Jennifer January 11, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    The world is divided into 2 groups- people who have kids and people who do not. Once you have a child it is very difficult to remain friends with people who don’t, because everything changes , the way you live, the way you talk, even the way you think. The changes that happen when you have a child can not be imagined by someone who hasn’t had one.

  6. kirin January 12, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    @Jennifer,

    I’ve thought of what you mention.
    Some friends of mine have kids and I have gradually lost the opportunities to see them. I’ve been wondering why. I found them far away from me once they have kids, which was so disappointment.
    I know that the conversations would be different between those who have kids and those who don’t. But that is so sad. πŸ˜₯

    Maybe I’ll never know how it is like to be parents and how they would think until I have kids. In other words, I’ll never understand them as long as I don’t have kids, and the gap will never be bridged. Thanks for your advice. I think I have to accept this.

  7. Franklin January 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi Kirin

    I’m glad to have stumbled onto your site, it looks great πŸ™‚
    Ontopic: I think you’re fine to have thought that the kids should have been left in the care of someone other than their parents at the restaurant!
    Like Jennifer said, those who have kids live in a different world, and I can totally relate to the disappointment and frustration of looking forward to catching up with friends and enjoying the dining experience of a nice (and expensive) French restaurant – especially French dessert πŸ˜‰

    I also think, though, that what your friends were expecting out of the gathering is probably different; they expected something like just eating at a place with their whole family and other friends, while you expected a dining experience with your friends (a special occasion)… just a thought. If it were me, I’d find a way to have the kids taken care of because the food and the dining experience deserves to be enjoyed without having to worry about what my kids are up to or whether they are disturbing others etc. I guess the cultural difference (New Zealand) is different!

  8. kirin January 24, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    @Franklin,

    Thank you for your visit and kind comment on my post, which I enjoyed reading. Especially the part that what we expect from gathering would be different was very good to be thought about.

    We may think different from we used to do as our life style change…

  9. Rinjin April 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    I am very late to this conversation! But I want to support your observation and agree with you 100% . I think the very same way as you do. I am youngest brother with no kids and it is true about “nothing but the children” topics. By brothers, or friends, with kids would never invite me to a place like then bring their kids. If they did bring their kids the kids know it’s grown up time so they tend to sit quiet and let the adults talk mostly. It’s not McDonalds. Parents should know there is a time and place for children and $70 per place French restaurant is for grown up behavior to enjoy the meal, wine, conversation, relax. Most of all it’s a complete waste of money honestly because McDonald’s would be about $300 cheaper and better place for kids.

    As for the person who said you sound like an American? You’ve either never been to America or haven’t been home in such a long time you forgot your own customs. Americans would never bring babies and change diapers, allow crawling, at a restaurant like that. Nobody would even think to allow that kind of behavior in a place like that. Not even in McDonalds in the worst neighborhood in NYC would someone change their baby at a table. And nearly everyone has a family rule with kids aged 5-10 or so “If you don’t know how to behave at a nice restaurant we cannot go yet”. In Paris, or NYC, nice restaurants they might ask you to leave if you changed a diaper at the table.

    Namaste

  10. kirin April 26, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    @Rinjin,

    It’s never too late to join any conversations here, as I try to reply to everyone as much as possible. πŸ™‚
    I told my hubby that we should not join these people again, because this experience to me was so uncomfortable that I cannot forget even time passes. I could have had much better dinner with my hubby alone, with that money.
    He’s generous and he says we cannot help this, but I’m not.

    So if I want to avoid this, I think I just have to choose people carefully, as long as they think changing diapers at table is something normal and accepted by anyone.

    Thank you for your opinion. Namaste~

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