Perceptions are always fun to explore. The other day I made a lunch date with Mrs. J-List at a nice French restaurant we like to go to occasionally. The Japanese are big fans of French-style formal dining, and every Japanese city is well served by several French restaurants with price points ranging from expensive to very expensive. As we ate, I amused myself by wondering how different Japan's stylized image of French dining differed from what French people actually eat. Japan's fascination with all things French might trace back to the popularity of The Rose of Versailles, the anime and manga about the French Revolution from the 1970s. In addition to Tokyo Tower, a 1:1 scale homage to the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo is filled with boulangeries offering all manner of French-style baked goods, restaurants with trained sommeliers for recommending the perfect wine, and pâtissiers who have apprenticed under master pastry chefs in Paris. A famous symbol of Japan's love of France is their embracing of a thick brown sauce called demi-glace, which is as popular in Japan as teriyaki is in the U.S. But when I asked some of my Twitter followers in France about it, several had never heard of the sauce and needed to use Wikipedia to find out what it was.
The Japanese have a slightly idealized image of France.