Ordering food in Japan can be an adventure and if you are at a restaurant that uses a digital display to order food, get ready for some fun. It is not as easy as it may appear when you take your seat and prepare to figure out your meal.
A lot of restaurants, especially the really popular and busy ones, use digital screens that allows their customers to order food and drink whenever they want, allowing the wait staff to focus on just dropping off the items instead of waiting for patrons to pick their food and wasting time. It’s pretty smart but if you don’t speak/read Japanese, it can be a challenge.
We found this out the hard way when we stopped at a busy restaurant in Osaka. There was a language barrier (no big problem) and we sat and waited around for a bit, forcing us to work to figure out the digital screen in order to get some food after exploring Dotonbori. We had no clue what we were ordering even with the help of Google and our limited knowledge, but thank goodness, a waitress finally arrived with English menus and told us the screen was in Japanese only. We could have been ordering something we didn’t want and messing it up (plus adding to the bill).
So if you are presented with a digital screen when you sit down, try to find out from the staff it that is how you order food or do you need to do something because you don’t speak/read Japanese well enough. It will help save some time and confusion and get your food to you a lot easier.