Fast and Convenient Food in Japan
Standing Soba Noodle Stall Shops
The "stand and eat" style tachigui soba restaurants are designed for the thousands of Japanese businessmen who do not even have time to sit and eat their meals. Everything is fast at a tachigui soba place. In my opinion, the speed of a meal at a tachigui soba restaurant dwarfs the "fastness" of a fastfood chain like MacDonald's.
The tachigui soba experience first begins with the ticket machine, just like at a ramen place. You purchase the ticket for the soba or udon you want. This reduced the amount of time it would take to order your food and pay at a register. You hand the ticket to the cook over the counter. The cook may sometimes ask whether you want your noodles cold or warm. The food will take maximum 2 minutes. During peak hours, the noodles are usually cooking, even before you order, and so preparing your meal is only mixing your noodles with the right sauce. They will hand you your meal and you should take it to one of the "tachigui" counters. Although people around you will definitely be in a hurry, I recommend you add Negi (onions) and Shichimi (spicy powder) to your noodles. They will enhance the taste. Once you are ready, start slurping! Its what people do here and is considered even mannerly. Slurping is how you eat noodles Japanese style! Plus, if you don't slurp, you won't get enough of the sauce with your noodles and your bite won't be perfect.
Water is usually self service. Once you are finished, take your bowls to the return counter. You're then ready to go.
The good thing about tachigui soba places is that since everybody around you is in a hurry and there are no seats, it prevents you from slacking off at a restaurant. At a regular restaurant, you feel to comfortable and relaxed to return to work. Tachigui soba will be done in no time and you will feel obligated to return to work. That is probably one of the appeals of tachigui places to Japanese businessmen.