Restaurant Smokers = “Otaku”


In most countries it is impossible to smoke inside a building, let alone at the main counter of a restaurant.

What can you do when you neighbors are smoking cigarettes by the dozen, and on top of it, a shooters pipe, a pipe I had never seen. We are not smokers, we detest smoke, and rarely go where smoking is permitted. Astonishingly when I sat down I noticed my neighbor was a smoker, the ashtray filled up with butts.

I laughed it off when I heard them talking about tobacco, comparing notes, I thought to myself, “otaku”, those Japanese types obsessed by their own madness. Luckily it was yakitori, the smoke billows out the vent above the chef’s head so no need to worry. The smoke never made it near us, it streamed up and out without any negative impact on us.

I had no choice but to find out more, so I talked with these gentlemen, in their mid forties and fifties, they seemed like good guys. We carried on light conversation for most of the dinner which lasted three hours.

The pipe smoker seated beside us was definitely “otaku”, he talked with his friend explaining and discussing the nuances of modern tobacco. They kept comparing notes and they kept smoking. He smoked tobacco in a pipe I had never seen. It was slim set, long-necked and had a small mouth to fit tobacco. This pipe is called Kiseru, a Japanese pipe that was used since the 17th Century. Hard to believe but true; a yakitori dinner lasted three hours and awesome smoking – with Japanese goodness.