Tokyo is coming to be known as a hot spot for pop-up shops, but they are usually of the pop-culture themed variety--as seen with recent Power Puff Girls Cold Stone creamery drinks. However, last weekend, a restaurant with a name that would catch anyone's eye popped up in the Toyosu district of Tokyo called "The Restaurant that Messes up Orders" ((注文をまちがえる料理店)), a name that makes a pun out of Kenji Miyazawa’s famous story, "The Restaurant of Many Orders". While one might wonder why a restaurant would specialize in incorrect orders, the answer is quite simple. The restaurant employs waiters with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and does so to promote awareness and inclusiveness of those with such conditions in society.

Opened on June 3rd for a trial period in Tokyo, The Restaurant that Messes up Orders employed a waiting staff with dementia and Alzheimer’s. While some may find the premise a little uncomfortable, the idea is that customers understanding of the restaurant's concept can see these patients in a new light, appreciate them as members of society, and also provide a nice outlet for communication and fulfillment for all involved--even if that means ending up with a slightly different dish than you wanted.

According to an interview conducted by Yahoo News Japan, one waitress participated in the promotion because she had experience preparing school lunches for children, and felt it was a job "even" she could do. On her first order, she became nervous and a little forgetful, but being able to talk with the customer calmed her down, and she even delivered a perfect order. (Although the above Tweet from Mizuho Kudo mentions ordering a hamburg steak and getting gyoza instead.)

The same Yahoo story features an interview with the promotional staff, who say the project was born of a similar incident in a nursing home for those afflicted by dementia and Alzheimer’s, where one patient handling cooking duties mistook the day's lunch, plating gyoza instead of hamburg streak. When the staff received it, he simply thought that bringing up the mistake would just be negative, and that gyoza were perfectly acceptable too. The project aims to promote understanding and lessen the pressure and stress of these patients with the attitude of "Hey, it's OK to make mistakes."

The project, headed by Maggie's Tokyo, is preparing to relaunch for World Alzheimer's Day (September 21st), according to Spoon & Tamago.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.