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Waiting on you hand and foot
October 7, 2008 12:12 PM   Subscribe

A restaurant in Japan employs Monkey Waiters. They're not the worst waiters in the world and you only have to tip them with edamame.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy (60 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you like the idea of eating with monkeys, the Singapore zoo offers Breakfast With An Orang-Utan
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:16 PM on October 7, 2008


Needs more typewriters.
posted by rokusan at 12:18 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. Monkeys in Japan get better tips than humans. Now I wonder how the inevitable robot waiters will fare.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:22 PM on October 7, 2008


What the article doesn't say is that the monkeys also had day jobs in the financial markets.
posted by Skeptic at 12:23 PM on October 7, 2008 [14 favorites]


Chimpanzee that!
posted by dhammond at 12:24 PM on October 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is what the internet is for!
posted by Nattie at 12:28 PM on October 7, 2008


This is what macaques are for!
posted by Mister_A at 12:31 PM on October 7, 2008


Does this restaurant serve monkey brains?

Because that would be... wrong.

"Good job, monkey waiter. Now bring the brains of that other monkey waiter and I'll give you a shiny new soybean."
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:35 PM on October 7, 2008


So. Cool. Until the monkeys start blogging and it all blows up in the owner's face.
posted by everichon at 12:38 PM on October 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


Is there a home version of that towel warmer? I want one.
posted by geoff. at 12:39 PM on October 7, 2008


I can't wait to eat that monkey.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:41 PM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think I saw a movie about this. I think it ends badly.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:45 PM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"
posted by ericb at 12:50 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great, now in addition to other people trying to eat it I have to fight the monkeys for edamame.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Monkey waiters serving monkey brains wouldn't be wrong so much as it would be a postmodern installation piece deconstructing the role of the working class consumer in the service industry and their Stockholm Syndrome-reminiscent relationship to the moneyed (if not monkeyed) overclass, with overtones of the revulsion felt by Joe Sixpack (of Bananas) at the loss of central importance to the universe his species (and by extension, the "plight" of impoverished white rural males) faces as direct challenges instigated by scientists such as Galileo and Darwin ...

... well, that and delicious.
posted by adipocere at 12:52 PM on October 7, 2008 [14 favorites]


They hang them in Hartlepool, you know.
posted by Abiezer at 12:54 PM on October 7, 2008


So they work for beans?
posted by borkencode at 12:59 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


The food must be pretty bad for the monkeys not to eat off the customer's plates.
posted by Bitter soylent at 1:05 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


bad dates.
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on October 7, 2008 [6 favorites]


...ever since he had to pass that cue ball he measures everything first.
posted by mandal at 1:12 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


and you only have to tip them with edamame.

there is no tipping in Japan.
posted by dydecker at 1:13 PM on October 7, 2008


I just found my next vacation spot.
posted by boomcha76 at 1:17 PM on October 7, 2008


This depresses me so much. To this day I STILL have stress nightmares about being a waiter, I would never want that inflicted on anything as carefree and innocent as a monkey.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 1:17 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


WANT.

Can you imagine a monkey waiting on you at happy hour?! Those little paws! The squeaking! The shenanigans! Now if they could just get the people to dress like ninjas, we could finally replace Talk Like a Pirate Day...
posted by Space Kitty at 1:18 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Those damn dirty apes, they'll have to pry the edamame from my cold dead hand.
posted by Elmore at 1:20 PM on October 7, 2008


I love Japan.
I hate Japan.
I love Japan.
I hate Japan.

A restaurant in Japan employs Monkey Waiters -

I love Japan.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:21 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I slid into the booth and asked for a cold Heineken, but the waiter just stared at me uncomprehendingly. "HEIN-EH-KENN", I repeated, in slow, cajoling tones, tones used to speak to a child. The waiter continued his blank gaze.
He didn't understand my accent. Damn.
"Beer."
He ambled off into the back room, pausing briefly to adjust his apron with his disconcertingly babylike hands.

It had started with the waiters, of course, and before long the monkeys were being trained to take up many of humanity's menial jobs: collecting our garbage, mowing our lawns, folding clothes at the Gap. Monkeys were starting to operate taxis now, despite the protests from the cab driver unions, and a couple monkeys were writing Shakespearean sonnets. Real Shakespeare, you know, with the iambic pentameter and the antiquated English.

Last year, a monkey did my taxes.

Most of us, except maybe the cabbies, welcomed the monkeys. We'd have all the free time we wanted -- kind of like the Jetsons, only with chimps doing all the work instead of robots.

The waiter returned with a cold Asahi Dry, and I tossed a few edamame pods on the table, which he swept into a pocket.

So what do I do these days? I'm a monkey trainer. Specializing in waiters. Takes about three years before a monkey's good enough to work in the industry.

Chimps learn by watching, and my job is to show them what a good waiter does. I work ten to twelve hours a day in a fake restaurant, serving fake food from a fake kitchen to fake people. The monkeys sit behind a thick wall of glass and watch me. I polish the glasses. I take fake orders. I set the table. I deliver the food.

I work ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week.

Just like a goddamned monkey.
posted by poq at 1:30 PM on October 7, 2008 [36 favorites]


Yeah laugh it up, till these monkey-waiters join up with dolphin-busboys.

We will all rue this day.
posted by aerotive at 1:31 PM on October 7, 2008


> Wow. Monkeys in Japan get better tips than humans.

> There is no tipping in Japan.


This isn't going to turn into another tipping thread, is it?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:34 PM on October 7, 2008


I am shocked and disturbed that this has not been posted to MonkeyFilter yet.
posted by brundlefly at 1:35 PM on October 7, 2008


there is no tipping in Japan.

In China, however...
posted by brundlefly at 1:35 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Taiping is actually in china.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on October 7, 2008


nuts
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Monkey hostess clubs are the next step.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:39 PM on October 7, 2008


Can they serve DELICIOUS wine for the older kids? Oh boy!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:40 PM on October 7, 2008


mandal, I don't know that many jokes, but that one is perhaps my favorite. Classic stuff. As the for the monkey waiters, do you just point at things that you want or do they understand speech? How does one order? I'm baffled.
posted by friendlyjuan at 1:45 PM on October 7, 2008


Taking this to the dry realms of reality: could this ever really move beyond an amusing attraction? If a monkey can only work 2 hours a day ("[t]he monkeys work in shifts of up to two hours a day due to Japanese animal rights regulations"), you'd have to "hire" more a lot more monkeys than people, and those "off-duty" monkeys would have to stay somewhere while not working.

It'd just be a lot easier to hire children in monkey suits.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on October 7, 2008


Fish aren't allowed to eat the crap off the bottom of your feet due to sanitation and monkeys are allowed to serve hot towels and sake?

There is no justice in the animal kingdom.
posted by teabag at 1:55 PM on October 7, 2008


I always imagine Japan being like a Twilight Zone version of Nerd Heaven. I'd get there and there'd be monkey waiters and comics everywhere and speedy internet and movies about cowboy samurai and I'd run around happily. "Hooray! It's everything I've always wanted in one giant island!"

Then the tentacle rape and six-day work weeks would start.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 1:58 PM on October 7, 2008 [11 favorites]


"Animals serving humans is just grotesque, as is whale hunting, Japan!"

This reply to the blog post confuses me. Does having animals serve humans demean the animals or the humans? How does the practice compare to killing animals for food?
posted by fatehunter at 2:23 PM on October 7, 2008


I dunno. I'm supremely conflicted in my feelings about this, mostly because of the human inclination to take advantage in a way that's detrimental to whatever they're taking advantage of and my strong feelings about consent. And this is something a human could do, so there's the erosion of jobs thing in my head, too.

Based on the collars around the monkey's necks, I'm not entirely certain they want to be doing this. And he's now specifically raising baby monkeys to join the team. Maybe he's a nice guy and the rules govern better treatment for them, but once he's proven it can be done, others will do it, too, and they may not be as observant of the rules. We already have human slavery/trafficking despite rules in just about every nation prohibiting it. If we can't control the flow of fully recognised sentient beings with the ability to share their opinions, how would the government control everyone who wanted cheap/compliant help that won't tell if you beat them up?

I seriously dunno how I feel. I want to like this so bad for so many reasons. I just don't have much faith in humanity to keep things fair and, perhaps ironically, humane.
posted by batmonkey at 2:24 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


This makes good, financial sense to me. There'll be one at first. But he'll train others.
posted by avoision at 2:29 PM on October 7, 2008


It's sort of weird because *no one* likes monkeys in Japan. They are relatively common enough (but not in the big cities) that they're not particularly exotic. In some places, they're little more than dangerous pests. Ask any kid in Japan if they would want a pet monkey, and the answer would be an emphatic "NO". Which is why this restaurant is a little weird. I also kind of wonder what's going to happen to the monkey waiter when it gets a little older and less easier to control. Destined for a life in a dank cage, I suspect.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:32 PM on October 7, 2008


I always imagine Japan being like a Twilight Zone version of Nerd Heaven.

If you do go to Japan, you're bound to be disappointed - especially if your idea of Japan is taken from Metafilter, or even the English-speaking Internet in general. The comic book/anime/wacky Japanese thing is only one very small slice of things.
posted by dydecker at 2:40 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just trying to gauge the proper level of outrage here: Humans feeding Animals To Other Animals = Outrageous. Animals feeding Other Animals to Humans = Hilariously Awesome?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:01 PM on October 7, 2008


Dance, Monkey, Dance
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:44 PM on October 7, 2008


Obviously, you've GOT to take your shoes off before sitting at the table.
Eating food served by a monkey - what's wrong with that?
posted by Shebear at 3:49 PM on October 7, 2008


We are not impressed.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 3:51 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Waiters? How about monkey butlers, who regale us every night with jungle stories!
posted by bonefish at 3:59 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't let George Lucas see this, he'll clone them and create an army of Monkey Animators™ for his dark crusade.
posted by dbiedny at 4:21 PM on October 7, 2008


It was the best of times, it was the . . . blurst of times?
posted by resurrexit at 4:37 PM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Monkey waiters, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington, DEE CEE.
posted by DU at 5:34 PM on October 7, 2008


awww. Those serious monkey faces.

Adding to the monkeybiz: Monkey-dog rodeo rider. Impersonating George Burns.
posted by nickyskye at 5:39 PM on October 7, 2008


Everybody's got somethin' to hide
'Cept for me and my waiter
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:44 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your sentiments are true ericb. This is how Planet of the Apes gets started.
posted by Lokisbane at 5:51 PM on October 7, 2008


If you do go to Japan, you're bound to be disappointed - especially if your idea of Japan is taken from Metafilter, or even the English-speaking Internet in general. The comic book/anime/wacky Japanese thing is only one very small slice of things.

Yeah, that's true. Mostly here in Tokyo it's just everyday stuff like naked tourists swimming in the Emperor's moat, attacking police, holding a squadron of police at bay, falling back into moat, stuff like that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:29 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing on a Japanese TV show (yes it's possible I watch too much Japanese TV). The owners claimed that one of the monkeys just starting aping them and serving by themselves.
posted by gomichild at 6:37 PM on October 7, 2008


Karl Pilkington really needs to know about this!
posted by h00py at 7:00 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Big F'ing deal..... OOOH the Japanese trained a monkey how to be a waiter. Well 8 years ago we trained one how to be the president!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:54 AM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Very cute. Maybe next time, instead of the bakery, the chimp could take his pups there for a snack. And someone could order a singing telegram gorilla, and it'd be like a scene in a movie written by a Japanese Mel Brooks.
posted by notashroom at 2:31 PM on October 8, 2008


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