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Mar 30, 2014 06:01 AM

Big News For All You Japan Chowhounds: René Redzepi's NOMA to Japan


Dear Friends, guests and colleagues,

A long lasting dream of mine has come to fruition:

Restaurant noma is moving to Japan for two months in the beginning of 2015.

Five years ago I was invited there by chef Murata of the acclaimed Kikunoi and I was awestruck by the richness of Japanese food culture. In some way since that first visit I’ve been secretly planning this temporary relocation.

Although our entire staff will move to Tokyo, we’ll leave our ingredients at home. Rather we’ll bring our mindset and sensibilities to the best of pristine winter produce from all over Japan.

The whole staff is exhilarated, like myself, by this opportunity and we believe that the wealth of knowledge from the journey will enrich our own restaurant and cooking when we return to Copenhagen.

In June we will give you the final details: of what, where and when. If you want to be fully updated on this, please register here.

Sayonara, from René and the rest of noma.

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  1. "Sayonara"? That's a good start there. Yawn.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Yabai

      The miracle of machine translation.

      1. re: Tripeler

        Why would they need machine translation? They speak perfect English.

        I think Contra responded very well (although with misplaced apostrophe) on twitter:

        Contra ‏@ContraNYC Mar 30
        Contra and it's staff are moving to Boise, Idaho for the summer of 2020. We will see how the potatoes can be cooked. See you guys there.

        1. re: Gargle

          I think the term in question was "Sayonara" which is a very final way to say "goodbye" perhaps a "yoroshiku onegai itashimasu" (please take care of us) would have been more appropriate...but who knows...

          1. re: Tokyoite

            1. I was kidding.

            2. Machine translation wouldn't come up with sayonara unless the original said goodbye, which it wouldn't, because that would be as weird.

            3. The error in usage pattern of sayonara predates publically available machine translation.

            4. I really can't wait for them to finally do something with all that pristine winter produce.

            1. re: Gargle

              Sorry couldn't grasp the mistake.

            2. re: Tokyoite

              This is exactly the sort of sensitivity I was missing when I saw "sayonara" at the end of that post. Japanese was used when there was no reason to use it. They should have just said "goodbye" in English, or another more appropriate salutation to close the letter, and stopped there.

              1. re: Tripeler

                How would "goodbye" make more sense than trying to do as well as you can in Japanese? Try and put it there and see if it does.

                Showing off a little bit of Japanese knowledge (like thinking Sayonara is only for permanent departures and that now you think you know that you're not a silly gaijin anymore) is exactly the sort of sensitivity I was missing when...

                That they come across as pricks is a different matter altogether and would not require any kind of salutation.

                1. re: Gargle

                  1. "Sayonara" - It doesn't make sense, I was only offering a suggestion to your machine translation "joke"
                  2. I wasn't trying to show off and I didn't pick up on your joke, could you please stop being so abrasive and dismissive.

                  1. re: Tokyoite

                    Making fun of someone trying to do their best just because someone else thinks they know more than they actually do is the dismissive element. Then having no sense of humor about it is the abbrasive part.

                    And when a Japanese person is probably, but not certainly, going to see someone in 9 months or more, does Sayonara really make no sense? are you sure? need counterexamples?

                    p.s. are you the same poster as Tripeler, because I was responding to their post, not yours.

                    1. re: Gargle

                      The comment is no longer any kind of issue for me. Tokyoite and I are not the same person. I will be interested to see how Rene and Noma do in Japan.

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        I am curious as well. I tend to view skill, creativity and execution at a high level as dependent on the original approach and ingredients available as the inherent skill of the chef himself (or the chef and his team). Too often, quality does not transfer well despite the inevitable media hype and michelinization. This problem is magnified in a place like Japan where there are many places interpreting Japanese ingredients and where there is a more exacting expectation.

                      2. re: Gargle

                        I don't know. That original blog post from Noma just sounded a bit too Commodore Perry/condescending, as "we will bring our mindset and sensibilities" implying that they are somehow superior to the local ones. Which they are not, I'm pretty certain of that.

                        As for Sayonara, why would they be bidding adieu, when they haven't even arrived yet? Let them show up, stick around for a while, and then leave with a "we bid you farewell/adieu/whatever".

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai

                          As it did to me, hence the quote of a response by Contra suggesting the same, but then it didn't seem like they were trying to show off their Japanese skills, so perhaps trying to do that in response is a little Perryesque too ;)

                          That's all I was saying.

                          (I have an incredibly funny story about this, but it's from privileged sources, I'm sure it'll come out during their stint because some of the people involved won't be able to hold back)

        2. The original comment has been removed