Its a fact that Asian people are far more obsessed by food than their European counterparts and it took me a while to realise when I got to Japan as I was so often asked about Japanese food by students which took me by surprise a little as its not the kind of question I anticipated as I would never ask such a question back home.
Living in a big over-populated city it is also common to see people queuing up outside restaurants waiting to sample part of the many many different foods which this country has to offer. There is a ramen (soup and noodles with slices of meat and vegetables in it) restaurant near to my house which always seems to have a long line of people waiting outside (even when its raining) even though there is a probably another one very nearby which is just as good.
However, the popular one has been on TV I think so continues to be inundated with customers which still bemuses me although I have to say I am a little intrigued as to why.
When I was away from Japan at the start of last year one of the things I missed about this country was the food but queueing up for a restaurant is still not something I would really ever consider doing and nor is travelling fair distances just to sample food but thats where Asian people differ. I often hear of students going to far places just to try the food which is something i could never imagine doing before and not something I would expect many people back home to do.
While that may all seem not so different I have been amazed these last couple of days to see an unbelievably long line of people lining up outside a bl**dy Baskin Robbins ice cream shop which truly highlights the difference in thinking between countries and how keen some Japanese are to eat certain things when us Westerners would most probably find alternative eating needs when faced with such a situation.