Japan’s infamous bar barkers often won’t take no for an answer, but one veteran says this response will stop them in their tracks.
Japan is an extremely safe country, and even when walking through the back streets of its seedier areas you’re unlikely to be accosted by muggers, bandits, brigands, or any other variety of strong-arm robbers. However, should you take a stroll through the bar districts of Tokyo or one of Japan’s other metropolises, you’re likely to run into a common annoyance of a night out on the town in urban Japan the kyakuhiki.
Kyakuhiki literally means “customer puller” and refers to the staff of bars, pubs, and izakaya (restaurants with extensive alcoholic beverage options) who stand out on the street and attempt to corral passersby into their establishments. While they don’t resort to literally pulling people into their bars, the pushier kyakuhiki will follow you down the street pestering you with questions, as related by Japanese Twitter user @KITASAN1231 in this comic he recently shared.
ねんまつたろう (@KITASAN1231) March 12, 2017
@KITASAN1231 has been burned one time too many by promises of all-you-can-drink deals and sumptuous full-course meals which turned out to have meager portions and deliberately slow refill service. Even when he’s trying to shoo the kyakuhiki away the conversation often goes like this:
Kyakuhiki: “Are you looking for an izakaya?”
@KITASAN1231: “Thanks, but we don’t need any help.”
Kyakuhiki: “What kind of place are you looking for?”
@KITASAN1231: “We’ve already picked out a place.”
Kyakuhiki: “I can get you a discount at my place.”
@KITASAN1231: “Really, we’re fine.”
Kyakuhiki: “What kind of food are you looking for?”
@KITASAN1231: “Actually we’ve already eaten.”
Kyakuhiki: “How about coming to my izakaya after you finish up at the other one?
@KITASAN1231: “Please, just let us go.”
Kyakuhiki: “By the way, what sort of budget are you working with?”
However, @KITASAN1231 says he’s found one set of near-magic words that always gets the kyakuhiki off his back, which is “Kyou kuruma de kiteiru n de,” or
“I drove here today, so…”
While Japanese society tends to be remarkably accepting of drinking, it’s far less tolerant of drinking and driving. @KITASAN1231 says that once he (untruthfully) announces he’s driving, the kyakuhiki usually back off, since they don’t want to be seen as an accessory to the crime should a customer they personally ushered into their izakaya be later charged with driving while intoxicated.
“In my experience, this is the most effective way to get rid of kyakuhiki. Please, give it a try,” tweeted @KITASAN1231, thereby giving everyone one more tool for pulling away from the customer pullers.
Provided you’re not behind the wheel of a car right now, why not see what Casey is up to on Twitter?