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Hello everyone! I’m Fiona from the Editorial Department of Okinawa Holiday Hackers!☆
Omotenashi — a national spirit for Japanese hospitality
With the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics & Paralympics, the catchphrase “Show Japanese OMOTENASHI to the world!” is becoming more recognized.
The Omotenashi culture is appreciated by a lot of foreign customers for Japanese’s thoughtful acts of service. While there has been a growing interest in this national spirit, the country espeically the tourism sector is attempting to progress their excellent hospitality. We, the Okinawa Holiday Hackers, is also working hard to deliver the ultimate Okinawa experience to you all(^.^)Japan Fighting!
Japan is opening its door to foreign tourists while trying to gain a better understanding on different culture・custom. With the expectation of 1.4m Muslim tourist’s arrival in 2020, today we want to give you all a little more information about “Muslims” turists.
This time, we went to the Okinawa GRAND MER Resort to learn more about their experience in receiving Muslim tourists (both FIT and group travellers).
(40 minutes by car from Naha airport ·7 minutes by car from Aeon Mall Okinawarycom · 20 minutes by car from American Village ※ Time will be slightly different according to the traffic situation.)
☆It is the same hotel where I took the sushi roll lesson before.
Chef Hamazi: Hello.
Fiona: Hello! (What are you holding? It looks delicious…)
→This is the “Halal Lunch Box”
For Muslims, there are certain types of food that they cannot eat. So we are very careful in selecting food ingredients.
“Halal” is the term for food that Muslims can eat.
Chief Hamazi:This a Halal lunch box that we specially deisgned for them to enjoy.
Food contents are as follows (from top left corner, clockwise).
Brassica rapa＆Okinawa-style tofu with sambal chili
Fruits（orange・pineapple・sultana (thompson seedless grapes)・date palm）
New Zealand sauteed lamb ribs & vegetables cooked with chili sauce
Grilled chicken leg
Yellowtail broiled with soy sauce.
→The sambal chili adds flavors to Halal dishes♪
→This mayonnaise is what we used as dressing for the potato salad. The little green bit at the bottom left is the Halal certified food ingredients label.
Fiona: This looks spicy but appetizing! Is this also permissible by Halal…?
Chief Hamazi: Yes, all of our ingredients and sauces are Halal certified.
Fiona: Thank you.
Chief Hamazi: These food contents of the Halal lunch box are not fixed. We can change the food ingredients according to customers’ preferences or allergies.
Oh it seems a bit late for introducing myself, but my name is Hamazi Takehiko. I appreciate you coming today.
Fiona: It’s my pleasure meeting you.
→The certification is written in Japanese…but it also comes with an English translation for Muslim customers. That’s great~
Fiona: Can you tell us more about your experience of receiving Muslim tourists?
Chef Hamazi: My first overseas working experience was in Maldives, I worked as a deputy chef in a resort Japanese restaurant. Drinking was totally prohibited except in tourist areas such as resort hotels. On Friday, everyone would go to a mosque, so the town streets were barely filled with people. Most of the offices and shops were closed.
Fiona: Friday is considered a special day for Muslim people. By the way, how did you spend Fridays at that time?
Chef Hamazi: People did not go out that much on Fridays, so I stayed at home most of the time.
→All sauces used for the Halal meals at Okinawa-grandmer Resort are certified by Halal.
→ This well-known Marukome miso is also recognized by HALAL. (The red circle on the left handside is the certificated label. )
→ This famous Yamasa soy sauce is also recognized by the HALAL organization. (HALAL is written beneath the Japanese characterしょうゆ . )
Fiona: Besides from Maldives, do you have other working experiences that you could share with us?
Chef Hamazi: I once worked in a catering restaurant in Kuwait where we served the JGSDF backward support force unit. Besides, I also had working experience in a Japanese restaurant in Saudi Arabia and being a deputy chef in Fiji. Overall, I feel like Kuwait has more of a relaxing lifetyle.
Fiona: So you have stayed in 4 different countries in total?
Chef Hamazi: Except for the aforementioned places, I also worked in an Embassy in Brunei for 2 years.
Fiona: Wow! The Embassy! you worked there for two years!
Chef Hamazi: It’s normal to have a two-year contract if you work in an embassy.
Brunei is quite a strict nation comparing to other Muslim countries, so it was a very good learning experience for me.
Fiona: I see, that’s really nice! (and awesome)
→How about this coffee……
→ It also aligns with the Halal standard. (The black label shown at the bottom right is the certification)
→ This is the “Muslim-friendly Japanese Cuisine” which is usually offered for groups.
Fiona: Wow! It looks so yummy…!
Chef Hamazi: The food contents are as follows (starting from the bottom left, clockwise)
Chicken Shabu-shabu (with cooked Halal chicken)
Chawanmushi (made with Halal soy sauce・kombu soup)
Assorted Tempura (seasoned with salt)
Red soup (made with Halal miso sauce、kombu soup)
Vegetable chanpuru (made with katsuo soup)
Grilled salmon with salt
Yellow pickled radish
※The menu may change depending on the season.
→It must be delicious. This sweet chili sauce will be used to cook the Chicken Shabu-shabu as mentioned in the menu.
Fiona: Lastly, Is there anything that you want to tell to Muslim customers?
Chef Hamazi: Please feel free to come to the Okinawa-grandmer Resort! We are well-prepared and we are waiting for you!
Fiona: That’s great. When Muslim tourists are asked “Is there anything that makes you feel uneasy while traveling to Japan?” The main concern for them was “Is there any Halal food at the destination?” While another concern is “If there is any worshipping place that I could visit at ease?“
Chef Hamazi: I see. Here at the Okinawa-grandmer Resort, we can rent out prayer mats if they need.
Fiona: Ah really!
→Please check if the direction of the prayer mat is correct.
→Anyone who stay at the resort can lend it for free. You can reserve in advance.
Fiona: Chef Hamazi, thank you for today.
Chef Hamazi: Thank you so much as well.
We are currently planning a new dish made by Kobe beef. Please come again at that time.
Fiona: Really? Kobe beef? Please contact me then, I am excited!!!!!!!!!!!!
The location is the same~ Okinawa-GRAND MER Resort（╹◡╹）
This activity also supports Halal. People with food allergies are also accepted because we can change the food ingredients according to your need. Do not miss this chance and take you home the sushi-making skills taught by professional Japanese chef!
→ Here is a non-alcohol vinegar with Halal certification. It is used in the sushi roll lesson for Muslims.
Show the Omotenashi of Okinawa to the world!
That’s also why Okinawa Holiday Hackers is here today. We bring you the most exciting happenings in Okinawa……
For restaurant inquiries→ TEL: +81-98-931-1585
Born in Osaka, I was raised in Saitama. My horoscope is Cancer. It is pretty hard to imagine myself commuting to work on a crowded train every day, so I decided to move to Okinawa. And now I am kinda annoyed at kyphosis.