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Tokyo ramen restaurant bans diners from watching YouTube videos on their phones while eating

But taking photos with mobile phones still allowed.

The next time you’re in Tokyo and feel like having a bowl of ramen, there are certain rules to take note of, particularly at one ramen restaurant in Shinjuku. No, we’re not referring to ramen-slurping etiquette or even Covid-19 precautions.

A ramen shop in Tokyo has made the news for prohibiting customers from watching videos on their phone while they’re eating. They can, however, still use their phones to take photos of the food.

The eatery in question is Debuchan in the Takadanobaba neighbourhood in Shinjuku, which has been dubbed a ‘ramen battlefield’ as it boasts one of Tokyo’s highest number of ramen eateries.

Photo: Google Maps screenshot

Restaurant owner Kota Kai first floated the idea of the no-videos policy last Thursday (Mar 16) on Twitter, and asked: “Should we ban eating while [watching videos on YouTube]?” Shortly after, he told Japanese media that he was going ahead to implement the ban.

The reason? He wants diners to focus on the food while they’re dining at the restaurant, which serves up Hakata-style ramen.

“It’s painful for me to see the ramen that I put my soul into making get ruined right before my eyes,” he said, referring to customers who get distracted by videos and ignore the food for a long period of time, leaving the ramen to “stretch out quickly”.

He also hopes that the ban prevents customers from hogging seats in the restaurant, which has a seating capacity of 34, in order to allow more customers to dine here. “It’s got to be hard for the people waiting to see people who were seated before them relaxing with videos,” Kai explained.

 “I think they’re just relaxing and dining in the way they enjoy, but a restaurant isn’t your home,” he added.

But it’s not a complete phone ban here at the restaurant. In fact, taking photos of the food is allowed. And if customers need entertainment while they dine, there’s still the restaurant’s television.

He also divulged that he has informed some customers of the ban, and revealed that most of the customers get unhappy when informed of the ban. It’s unclear if the no-video policy only applies to YouTube videos or if it will extend to scrolling through social media or other apps on the phone, or if customers who choose to, say, read a book will be singled out for hogging seats.

Debuchan is at 2 Chome-13-6 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075, Japan.
Photos: Twitter, Google Maps screenshots

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Japan Tokyo shinjuku ramen restaurant

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