Monkey Business: Monkeys as Waiters in Japan





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Published on Oct 6, 2008

And now onto an unusual tip to fight off a business crisis. A Japanese tavern owner is bringing up a new generation of customer pleasing waiters: macaque monkeys. Are you ready for some monkey business?

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This "sake house" in northern Tokyo employs two popular and unusual waiters. They are named Yat-chan and Fuku-chan (pronounced Yat-tchan and Fookoo-chan), and are a pair of Japanese macaque monkeys.

Four-year-old Fuku-chan has already two years of experience under his furry belt. His main duty is delivering hot towels to customers before they order their drinks. This is how 12 year-old Yat-chan learned the tricks of the trade.

[Kaoru Otsuka, Tavern Owner]:
"Yat-chan first learned by just watching me working in the restaurant. 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 well appreciated by customers who tip them with boiled soy beans.

[Takayoshi Soeno, Tavern Customer]:
"The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones!"

Yat-chan is a natural and is always eager to please his customers.

[Shoichi Yano, Tavern Customer]:
"These guys are really adorable. They're like my kids. Well actually better -- my son doesn't listen to me but Yat-chan will."

And customers are impressed that Yat-chan understands their order.

[Miho Takikawa, Tavern Customer]:
"We called out for more beer just then and it brought us some beer, right? It's amazing how it seems to understand human words."

Both monkeys were once household pets. But now they are certified restaurant employees. The monkey pair work in shifts of up to a maximum of two hours a day, due to animal rights regulations. And so their employer is now ready to train three new baby monkeys this year. He hopes to bring up a new generation of Japanese waiters and waitresses.


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