6 Reasons Why Japanese Guys Like to Eat Soba Standing Up!

6 Reasons Why Japanese Guys Like to Eat Soba Standing Up

There’s no doubt that soba is one of the best-loved Japanese noodles. No matter what toppings one chooses, soba itself is tasty, filling and nutritious. You probably already know soba as part of a typical sit-down Japanese meal, but you might be surprised to know that it is also one of Japan’s best-selling fast foods, consumed in huge quantities at standing only ‘tachigui’ bars. But why are tachigui stands so popular with Japanese men?



 

6 Reasons Why Japanese Guys Like to Eat Soba Standing Up!

 

1. Fast Food History

Actually, fast food is nothing new in Japan; it was a widespread and popular style of eating for at least 300 years before burgers and hot dogs arrived on the scene from America. One of the first and most enduring Japanese fast foods is sushi, but it wasn’t long before other staples, such as soba, started to be sold from stalls and bars on the streets. Thus tachigui is very much an ingrained tradition with Japanese men.

 

2. Busy Lifestyle

The reason tachigui soba is so popular with Japanese men reflects the generally busy lifestyle they lead and which, again, is an ingrained feature of their collective psyche. Working long hours with few breaks, often on the move, Japanese men tend to take their sustenance where and when they can, and tachigui soba offers probably the least time-consuming alternative to any other lunch or dinner outlet.

 

3. Quick Turnaround

Time saving is very important to busy Japanese salarymen, and the typical soba tachigui operates at lightening speed! Usually, you choose your dish from the picture menu buttons on a ticket machine, then hand the ticket to the counter staff. Within three minutes or so, your meal is served and, with no seating or distracting scenery, most people can polish off a dish of soba in a couple of minutes. That’s lunch in under ten minutes! Think how long you might spend just queueing at McDonald’s at lunch time and you’ll appreciate how fast tachigui is!

 

4. Availability

But tachigui’s turbo turnaround doesn’t stop there. As most major stations have tachigui stands on the platforms, busy people on their way to meetings don’t have to break their journeys and leave the station to find somewhere to eat. One can just step off one train, eat lunch, and then hop on another train without keeping clients and customers waiting!

 

5. Reasonable Prices

With minimum staff and fewer overheads than standard restaurants, the food at tachigui is much cheaper. Remember, even today, most Japanese men receive pocket money from their wives, so with an average cost of around ¥400 for lunch, tachigui provides a welcome saving – money that might be better spent on beer while out with colleagues in the evening!

 

6. Great Food

In spite of all this high speed and low cost, tachigui soba is generally excellent, offering generous portions of great tasting noodles with a wide variety of toppings. If you get the chance to try tachigui soba, I recommend kakiage soba (soba with vegetable and shrimp tempura), sansai soba (with wild, mountain vegetables) and ebiten soba (my favourite, served with large shrimp tempura). You’d need to go to a very posh restaurant to find anything better!

 

Conclusion

There is probably a perception amongst foreign visitors and residents that tachigui is a recent fashion, due to the burgeoning number of stand up soba bars in recent years, but, as I’ve pointed out, fast food is something of a tradition here.

Why tachigui soba scores over Western style fast foods is due to a combination of factors, not least of which is increasing health awareness amongst men. But financial insecurities too has made everyone more circumspect in their spending habits. Add to this some scandals involving one major high street burger franchise, and it’s easy to understand why Japanese salaried workers are turning to a more traditional quick menu.

But for foodies visiting Japan, tachigui is certainly one experience you’ll want to have, and it’s not only soba noodles that are on offer; udon and ramen noodles, curry rice and yakitori (grilled chicken) can all be had tachigui style. So please try standing soba when you visit Japan… you won’t be disappointed.

 

6 Reasons Why Japanese Guys Like to Eat Soba Standing Up!

1. Fast Food History
2. Busy Lifestyle
3. Quick Turnaround
4. Availability
5. Reasonable Prices
6. Great Food