I’ve been in Tokyo since last Sunday. 2 nights ago I passed by an Anna Miller’s – I was hungry so I figured this was a good cultural experience: an American restaurant, as imagined by the Japanese. Maybe this is how Chinese people feel about the cheap “Chinese” restaurants that populate any North American city.

I was greeted at the door by a waitress wearing the Anna Miller’s uniform, which is hard to describe but doesn’t resemble anything I’ve ever seen in America. Apparently the waitresses are a major selling factor for the restaurant. To each his or her own, I suppose. I was shown to a table and presented with a menu in both English and Kanji. I decided on the steak special, which came with my choice of turmeric rice or bread – fries or potato weren’t listed as options. I wasn’t asked how the steak should be cooked, either. I also ordered a beer. The waitress entered my order into her little computer, disappeared briefly, then dropped off some western cutlery, a moist finger napkin of the type usually offered by Japanese restaurants, and a glass of water.

After about 15 minutes, she reappeared with a glass of local beer, a plate of yellow rice, and a large plate containing steak, fries, a slice of lemon, and an unidentifiable herb as a garnish. I was also invited to choose my desert from a menu: lemon pie, or lime pie. The steak was rare, but should have been at least medium given the quality of the meat. The lemon pie showed up as I was finishing the steak. As advertised, it was just lemon, no meringue.

So all in all, a deeply weird experience, like Japan itself. Unlike Japan; however, it left me with no particular desire to visit again.