Monday, March 22, 2010

How do you say "doggy bag" in Japanese? You can't!

Once, many years ago, when I went to an Italian restaurant and I couldn't eat all of my dinner, I asked for a doggy bag. They didn't understand.So, I said "mochi kaeri onegaishimasu" ( which means "take out") while pointing to my dinner. They said no. Take out food is take out food. What you can't eat at the restaurant is garbage. Thankfully, that idea might be changing.

According to the Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Doggy Bag Committee (DBC) ,the amount of food wasted in Japan every year equals the amount of global food aid (actually, according to the According to the Ministry of Agriculture's Food Action Nippon Committee, 19 million tons of food is wasted every year and only 5 million are recycled in to fertilizer or feed. ) So, The DBC was founded last March and is trying to popularize the English term "doggy bag" to help reduce the waste. At a recent meeting he had to explain that a doggy bag is not a bag you put dogs in nor, is it a dog shaped bag.

The DBC recommends using a reusable doggy bag that you can carry with you. This special doggy bag was created using origami techniques and it won't leak. The biggest challenge will be to get people to use them and to allow restaurants to let people take their food home. Apparently, many restaurants fear that if people take their food home they will get food poisoning and then won't go back to the restaurant . So the DBC has created cards that people can sign and leave on the table stating that they are taking their food home "on their own responsibility" So far only 200 restaurants in all of Japan have signed up with the DBC and posted notices in their restaurants stating that customers can take their food home if they wish.
Perhaps if the government steps in, it will help? Well, in Chiba prefecture, that is what has happened. The prefecture is worried about the space left in their landfill and so has asked about 280 restaurants to participate in "Chiba Tabekiri Eco Style" (Chiba Finish Your Dish Eco Style) and let people take home their food. Only time will tell if this will work or not.


Pili said...

I think that's a great idea! I don't like food wasted, and if I can't finish something, taking it home and putting it in the fridge is a great thing, and can help you avoid cooking for another meal too!

But I have to say, the name doggie bag... I don't like!

Lila's Bowtique said...

This may seem to simplistic, but why don't they just offer smaller portions?

FromJapanWithLove said...

I don't know about other countries but in Canada and America "doggy bag" is just the normal way to say it. Perhaps it used to mean food for the dog and so the name stuck!

As for size...Japan's portions are very small compared to Canada but still, for many people or children the size might be too much. When I went back to Canada in the summer I was SHOCKED at the portion sizes! For me, here in Japan, I don't normally need a doggy bag but the option would be nice!

Anonymous said...

hello^___^ ahh yes i love this idea.i dont have the biggest appetite,but i shouldnt like to waste! im happy and i actually like the name doggy-bag.anyways,i love your blog!^^

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