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A Guide to Obon Season in Japan

If you’re a fan of Japanese restaurants and culture, then you may be interested to hear about Obon season, one of Japan’s major holidays. Obon (or Bon) is a Buddhist event that’s celebrated in mid-August and is held for people to commemorate their ancestors. Use this guide to gain a better understanding of Obon.

Lighting and Hanging Lanterns

Once the first day of Obon arrives, people hang lights and lanterns outside their front doors or inside of their houses to help guide the spirits of their ancestors back home. If someone is celebrating their first Bon holiday after losing a family member, then the lanterns are typically placed outside to better guide the spirit of the deceased on its first journey back home.

Ozen and Grave Cleaning

During Obon, families visit the graves of their ancestors to perform a ritual cleaning of the gravestones. Additionally, people will place handmade sweets, fresh fruit, sake, and green tea on their home’s Buddhist altar, at ancestors’ graves, and at Buddhist temples. Called ozen, these offerings to the dead are intended to treat the spirits as if they were still alive.

Bon Dancing

At many towns and cities throughout the country, groups of dancers practice for months leading up to Obon season. During the holiday, streets are closed off, and Bon dancers perform Bon Odori that began hundreds of years ago as spiritual performances. The dances performed during Obon are some of those that make Japan’s dancing so recognizable.

Saying Farewell

At the end of Obon, people can send off the spirits in several ways. Those who live near water often set out paper lanterns to float down rivers, with each flame representing a departed ancestor. Others light ceremonial fires in the shape of kanji, and some temples hold fire ceremonies.

If you enjoy Japanese culture, teppanyaki, sushi, and hibachi, then visit us at House of Genji. At our Japanese steakhouse near San Jose, we offer a broad range of delicious entrées, side dishes, and cocktails. To learn more about Japanese dining, call us today at (408) 453-8120.

The Makings of a Perfect Mai Tai

If you’re interested in broadening your drink-blending repertoire, then you should consider adding Mai Tais to your classic cocktail lineup. Learning how to make a perfect Mai Tai can allow you to enjoy some of the benefits of a Japanese restaurant in the comfort of your home.

Japanese restaurant

Mai Tais are sweet and tasty tropical cocktails that boast flavors reminiscent of an island vacation. These drinks come in many varieties, but there are a few essential ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dark rum
  • Light rum
  • Orange juice
  • Lime juice
  • Cointreau or triple sec

The key to making a perfect Mai Tai involves the use of fresh ingredients whenever possible, so fresh-squeezed lime and orange juices are ideal. To take your cocktail up a notch, include grenadine, orgeat syrup, and pineapple juice.

At House of Genji, we offer delicious Japanese food and also feature a cocktail lounge and teppanyaki dishes in a Japanese dining atmosphere. To schedule a reservation at our Japanese steakhouse near San Jose, call us today at (408) 453-8120.

Take a Peek at Tokyo's Trendy Shibuya District

Tokyo is home to many unique and bustling areas, and Shibuya is among the most recognizable and fashionable districts in the city. Home to shopping malls, Japanese restaurants, and a world-famous scramble crossing, Shibuya is considered by many to be a must-see neighborhood when visiting Japan.

Watch this video to get a glimpse of trendy Shibuya. Reaching this district is easy to do because it’s directly connected to many subway lines. Among the most-used exits to Shibuya is the Hachiko stop. It was named after a loyal dog who continued to wait there for his deceased owner every day for over a decade after the man’s passing.

To experience a taste of Japan’s culture, visit House of Genji. At our Japanese steakhouse near San Jose, we offer teppanyaki, sushi, hibachi, and more. Call us today at (408) 453-8120 for more Japanese dining information.

Why Teppanyaki Isn't Off Limits for Non-Meat Eaters

While you may be familiar with seeing items such as pork, steak, and shrimp as the highlights of teppanyaki menus, do not be discouraged if these foods do not appeal to your appetite. Although Japanese food often includes meat or seafood, you can still enjoy vegetarian-friendly teppanyaki options.

Teppanyaki Cooking

If you have visited any Japanese restaurants in America, then you have probably seen a teppanyaki cook in action. These chefs cook up freshly grilled meals right at the table, often with a significant amount of flare and character. Teppanyaki grills are often several feet long, allowing your cook to prepare the ingredients for several meals at once. While customers frequently order teppanyaki menu items because they enjoy grilled meat and seafood, these elements are not required for you to take advantage of this fun and tasty method of meal preparation.

Teppanyaki Ingredients

Teppanyaki cooking typically involves fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables. Your chef prepares these ingredients using minimal amounts of seasonings, such as soy sauce, wine, garlic, vinegar, and pepper, which are selected to enhance the food’s natural flavors and to complement the grilled cooking style. Luckily, non-meat eaters can also enjoy the lively and delicious nature of teppanyaki-style cooking.

Vegetable Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki grilling is a highly versatile cooking method, allowing for a broad range of options. Besides meat and seafood, teppanyaki chefs frequently cook ingredients like broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini, snap peas, chard, bean sprouts, spinach, and squash, to include in teppanyaki dishes. You can also ask that tofu, eggs, or fried rice be added to your grilled meal. By requesting a teppanyaki option that includes no beef, shrimp, pork, or salmon, veggie lovers can enjoy teppanyaki, too.

If you’re looking for unique and enjoyable teppanyaki in San Jose, then visit House of Genji. At our Japanese steakhouse, you can enjoy a wide range of traditional dishes and vegetable teppanyaki. Call us today at (408) 453-8120 to schedule your Japanese dining reservation.

A Look at Japanese Superstitions

Do you enjoy visiting Japanese restaurants and trying traditional Japanese food? If so, then you may be interested in learning about some of the country’s most well-known superstitions.

Upright Tea Leaf

After brewing loose-leaf green tea in a teapot, sometimes a leaf escapes the filter and is deposited into the teacup while the tea is being poured. Once in a while, the renegade leaf will stand upright in the cup. This rare event is considered to be a sign of good fortune in Japan.

North-Facing Pillow

A widespread superstition in Japan involves your sleeping orientation. Because corpses are positioned with their heads facing north in Buddhist funerals, it’s considered bad luck to have one’s pillow facing this direction. This Japanese superstition states that facing your pillow toward the north will result in your early death.

Feline Face-Washing

This popular Japanese superstition involves weather prediction. According to the superstition, if you see a cat washing its face, then you can expect it to rain the following day. Some people say this is because cats dislike the sensation of moisture on their whiskers, or that they take advantage of the high humidity to clean their faces.

Unlucky Numbers

Like many cultures, the Japanese consider some numbers to be lucky and others less so. If you find yourself walking through a Japanese hospital, you may see that it lacks room numbers 4 and 9. This is because 4 is associated with death, and 9 with suffering.

Sneezes and Gossip

This superstition is a popular one and is known by people of all ages in Japan. If you sneeze once, then someone mentioned your name. A pair of sneezes means that someone said something bad about you. Finally, three consecutive sneezes indicate that someone has fallen in love with you.

For a taste of authentic Japanese culture, visit us today at House of Genji. At our Japanese restaurant, we specialize in delicious Japanese dining in San Jose and have many menu items to select from. To learn more about our Japanese dining options or to schedule a reservation, contact us today at (408) 453-8120.

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