Views #424 | Low-Intermediate 4

Bar Service

Simon compares bar service around the world from three different places.

Todd: So, Simon, you live in Japan and you were just in Germany. How is the service in restaurants different in Japan than it is in Germany?

Simon: Yeah, I can talk about that. Well, I might be stereo- typing here and I'll talk about maybe Japan, Germany or Europe, and then North America. Ah, I think in Germany there was definitely an emphasis on efficiency, so when I went into
a pub and I said, "I wanna order a beer" and Munich is famous for beer, so there's many kinds, so I was thinking."What should I order? What should I order?" and the server said, "Well, you can't decide, I'll come back in a minute. Thank you" and then quickly off.
In Japan, if I did the same thing, the emphasis would be on politeness, so the server would wait and if I said, "Mm, what should I order?" the server would patiently wait and says "Take your time. I'm here," you know. You know, "Thank you for deciding," things like that. And you know, in my home in Canada, Vancouver, you know, they would try to be cool and friendly, so everybody would be like "Hey, did you try our special? Would you like to drink our special beer today?" you know and smile, you know, and that's that, so Japan the emphasis would be on politeness. In Germany, or Europe, the emphasis would be on efficiency and in North America the emphasis would be on friendliness or being cool.

Todd: Interesting.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!


I might be stereotyping here when I talk about Japan, Germany or Europe, and the U.S.

When you are 'stereotyping' you are making stereotypes about something. When we make stereotypes we express simplified ideas about groups of people. These stereotypes are often incorrect or partially correct because they are based on limited situations. Notice the following:

  1. I hope I'm not stereotyping too much, but from my experience people there are usually late.
  2. His articles include a lot of negative stereotyping of immigrants.


When I go into a pub and I say, "I want to order a beer," I have to know which kind.

A 'pub' is a British English word for bar. Notice the following:

  1. My friends and I are going to the pub after work today.
  2. I had a friend in university who preferred to study in a pub.


I think in Germany, there's definitely an emphasis on efficiency.

Efficiency is the ability to accomplish something with the minimum amount and effort. To use the best or most direct way. Notice the following:

  1. Our company focuses on efficiency.
  2. One of the first things you learn as a mother is efficiency.

take your time

The server would patiently wait and say, "Take your time. I'm here."

When someone tells you to 'take your time' they are telling you to do something at your own speed or not to rush. Notice the following:

  1. Just take your time coming here.
  2. Take your time and try to remember everything you can about that night.


In North America, the emphasis would be on friendliness or being cool.

The 'emphasis' of something is its focus. Notice the following:

  1. My teacher places a huge emphasis on classroom participation.
  2. The emphasis of our first meeting will be to get to know each other.

Vocabulary Quiz

stereotype • pub • efficiency
his time • emphasis
  1. She gets things done her own way, but is not one of her strongest skills.
  2. I don't think you should all American travelers like that.
  3. I want him to take to make this decision.
  4. The of this grammar session will be punctuation.
  5. We are all going down to the to drink a couple beers and watch the game.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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