When I was a child the ordinary Japanese people did not have the concept of "ethnic cooking", I believe. We had some Chinese restaurants (but in small cities most of them were not "real" Chinese food though we exceptionally had many true Chinese restaurants run by Chinese immigrants for we have the biggest China town in Japan here in Yokohama) but no Italian, French, Spanish , Korean and Indian foods... we had no idea about them.
But now there are many places we can enjoy ethnic cooking, especially in Tokyo you can find any kind of restaurants like in London or New York(maybe). And here, recently we see many new Indian or Nepalese restaurants even on small, local shopping streets, maybe because of those Indian people's good sense of business?
Anyway, when we enjoy the foreign food we could know something about their culture even if sometimes it brings us a big surprise :D And good food is always a better teacher than a book or newspaper, for it appeals to our sense not to our reason.