Thursday, November 5, 2009

Manic Monkey Waiters in Japan

Not your typical monkey business, two furry critters are making a monkey out of top-notch maître d’s as they serve tables waiting on hungry customers in Japan, working for nothing more than mere peanuts — or rather, soya beans, to be specific.

The two monkey waiters are the star attraction at the Kayabukiya tavern, a traditional “sake house” north of Tokyo, which employed the uniformed Japanese macaque.

Yat-chan and Fuku-chan serve customers drinks and hot towels to clean their hands before they order, as per Japanese custom, and are given soya beans as tips which they get to eat in their down-time.

Four-year-old Fuku-chan has only 2 years experience under his furry belt, so his work load is limited to hot towels.

The macaque monkeys are actually family pets that have been allowed to help in the bar. It all came about when tavern owner Kaoru Otsuka noticed 12-year-old Yat-chan had started aping him, and realized they were capable of working in the restaurant.

“Yat-chan first learned by just watching me working in the restaurant.” said Kaoru.

“It all started when one day I gave him a hot towel out of curiosity and he brought the towel to the customer.”

Both monkeys are certified by the local authorities, which means that animal rights regulations regularly visit the premises to ensure the creatures aren’t being mistreated.

“The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones.” said Takayoshi Soeno, a customer at the restaurant.

Shoichi Yano, a regular at Kayabukiya’s, says the animals are like her children.

“Actually, [they're] better.” she said. “My son doesn’t listen to me but Yat-chan will.”

Some customers claim that Yat-chan can even understand their exact orders.

“We called out for more beer just then and it brought us some beer!” said customer Miho Takikkawa, who came to the tavern specifically to meet the monkeys.

“It’s amazing how it seems to understand human words.”

The monkeys work in shifts of up to a maximum of two hours a day due to Japanese animal rights regulations.

But owner Otsuka is hoping to train another generation of monkey waiters, after receiving three new baby monkeys this year.

Monkey Waiters in Japan

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