Daily Archives: Feb. 21st, 09


Tokyo Lesson #335: Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the Japanese really mean what they say.

So anyone who has been to Japan will tell you that everyone here is not so good at translating things into English, especially on signs and menus. I’ve seen English idioms and phrases get butchered on store fronts, signs in stores spelling things totally wrong and menu pages use words that don’t really describe anything at all.

Exhibit 1: I think they meant clap

Exhibit 1: I think they meant clap

So when we saw a restaurant called Bowels we laughed and thought it was another case of botched translation. Surely these silly Japanese people meant to call the restaurant Bowls and just put the “e” in there by mistake. Maybe they were just phonetically sounding out bowls since there’s no real “wl” sound here it’d make sense to say “bo-we-ls”, or so we thought. So Thursday night we set out to visit Bowels just to see what they actually served in those bowls and to say we ate at bowels. Too funny to resist. 100_0016

The spot was nice. We got there and were led upstairs where about 3 other parties were dining. Despite all of the outside signage being in English, the menus only came in Japanese. Luckily, we had a friend with us who can speak a lil and a waiter who dabbled in English. We asked the waiter, what they served there and he straight up said BOWELS. We must have looked shocked because he rubbed his lower abdomen and said it again. BOWELS. Oh my God! The entire menu was centered around cow innards. We kind of looked at each other like oh well, there was always the slight chance this place would serve bowels, right? Continue reading


Filed under Good Eats, Tokyo Tales, travel