Dec 18, 2017
Have you noticed? Japanese people usually hesitate to take the last anything off the plate, and if they do, always ask first and apologize before doing so. It does seem polite to ask first, to make sure someone else didn't really want to eat the last one. We just don't have the custom to do this in the US.
Foreigners never seem to take notice that it's the polite thing to do, and I don't want to seem greedy, but why leave good food to waste? It's also unusual to take home leftovers in Japan, which seems weird, as it doesn't seem right to waste uneaten food.
I thought it was smart when I noticed a fellow foreigner brought a container with her when she went out to restaurants. She knew she would have leftovers and didn't want them to go to waste. As long as we aren't eating in a buffet restaurant, I don't think anyone would mind.