Friday, September 03, 2004

Moment #41. Chinese, Vietnamese & Spanish at Japanese Steakhouse. Sep 3, 2004.

9/3/2004. The Japanese Steak House had been on my mind for months. I'd considered inviting one or more of the ladies from our Singles Family Home Evening group to go with me to eat there and try to place Books of Mormon. I debated in my mind whether to invite one who doesn't have a car, and treat her to a night out, or to invite one who is more bold and won't be shy about asking people if we can give them a Book of Mormon.

I decided on the bold one, Sister L.

At this restaurant the chef puts on a performance while he cooks in front of you.

We put a Japanese Book of Mormon on the table next to us, and the hostess did a double take on it, but didn't say anything. Our table/grill was the first one next to the door, so the hostess and wait-staff were always going by us.

Knowing that other Asians work at these places, we had Chinese and Vietnamese Books of Mormon in our bags, in addition to Japanese and English.

That was a good thing because it turned out the wait-staff (hostess, and the chef's helper, and the girl who took our order) were Chinese, not Japanese. And our chef was Vietnamese. There was only one Japanese person there, the sushi chef.

We asked the wait-staff what language they spoke, and then pulled a Chinese (Simplified version, which is used in Mainland China) Book of Mormon out of our bag, they were so surprised and grateful. I was worried we may have insulted them thinking they were Japanese by putting out the Japanese Book of Mormon.

Several of the staff didn't speak English well, so we presented the English/Chinese combo as a way of learning some more English. The hostess took them and started flipping through one while she was behind the cashier's counter.

The chef asked if we had one in Vietnamese, so I pulled that one out of my bag and presented it to him. He was impressed and very thankful. I should have given him an English one to go with it, but I didn't.

When I finished my dinner and was waiting on Sister L., I went out to the car to get two more Simplified Chinese and two more English copies for the other two ladies. They were so happy.

And then more of the staff came by and asked about it, and we found out that some of them were from southern China, near Hong Kong, and read traditional Chinese in addition to the simplified version. So I made another trip out to my car and retrieved 2 of those and 2 more English. And gave them to the hostess to distribute to those who wanted them.

We paid for our meal, left a generous tip, and on the way out, I asked Sister L. to present the Japanese book to the sushi chef. Then the Chinese order-taker lady asked me if I had one in Spanish. I remembered one of their chefs is Hispanic. I said "yes", and ran out to my car for the third time and retrieved a pair in Spanish and English.

Sister L. reported that the sushi chef had declined the Japanese Book of Mormon.

In all, we gave out 13 books to 7 people.

I think there was one more chef who didn't get a book, but I'm not sure what language he speaks. We'll have to go back and do a follow-up for anyone who didn't get one who wants one.

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