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Spotlight on the Mai Tai

At your favorite Japanese restaurant, you may have noticed the Mai Tai listed on the cocktail menu. Whether you’ve tried this drink and loved it or wonder if it’s a beverage that you might enjoy, continue reading to discover some interesting facts about this popular drink.

The Mai Tai’s Origin

It’s rumored that when the Mai Tai cocktail was first available, its popularity depleted rum supplies. Whether this story holds water is up for debate, but the Mai Tai has been and continues to be an incredibly popular drink. Although there are several theories regarding the Mai Tai’s origin, most people attribute its invention to Victor J. Bergeron, who is better known as Trader Vic, the founder of a Polynesian-themed restaurant chain that began in Oakland, California. It’s said that, in 1944, when Trader Vic first mixed the beverage for some friends visiting from Tahiti, that one was so delighted with the flavor that she exclaimed " maita’i roa a’e," which means “out of this world!” Trader Vic then dubbed the cocktail the Mai Tai.

The Mai Tai’s Original Recipe

Like many popular cocktails, variations of the Mai Tai have been concocted over the years, leaving many people confused about what goes into a traditional version of this drink. Although not everyone agrees about the ingredients, the consensus is that rum, fresh lime juice, Orgeat, orange curacao or triple sec, and simple syrup are Mai Tai fundamentals. The drink is traditionally shaken with ice and served over crushed ice, and may be garnished with a sprig of mint or lime wedge.

The Mai Tai’s Evolution

While many people favor the original Mai Tai recipe, plenty enjoy exploring the variations that have been created over the years. Some of the ingredients that you may see used in Mai Tai variations include mango puree, pineapple juice, muddled blueberries, mezcal, cachaça, absinthe, and blended scotch.

At House of Genji, our Japanese steakhouse features a cocktail lounge and teppanyaki dining in San Jose. If you’d like to learn more or make a reservation, then please give us a call at (408) 453-8120.

Highlighting Sendai's Tanabata Festival

Every year on July 7 th, Japan celebrates the Tanabata or “star festival” holiday. During this holiday, people write their wishes on tanzaku, which are colorful pieces of paper. Then, the tanzaku are hung on bamboo branches, and origami designs are added to the display to enhance its appearance. Many people visit Japanese restaurants to celebrate and enjoy street food at Tanabata events, which are held throughout Japan on this holiday. One of these celebrations is Sendai’s Tanabata Festival.

This Tanabata festival is held in Sendai, which is the city located at the center of the Tohoku District. In front of Sendai Station and throughout the city, beautiful and colorful decorations made of bamboo and paper streamers brighten the streets. Concerts, parades, and fireworks displays are also part of this yearly event.

House of Genji is a Japanese restaurant and steakhouse that serves cocktails, sushi, teppanyaki, and hibachi in San Jose. To enjoy a taste of Japanese culture and cuisine, please call (408) 453-8120 to make your reservation.

What Goes into Teriyaki Sauce?

On the menu of your local Japanese restaurant, you’re likely to find at least a few teriyaki options. Teriyaki sauce is an incredibly popular flavoring used for Japanese food, and it can be used as a marinade, sauce, dressing, or dip.

If you love ordering teriyaki dishes when visiting Japanese restaurants and would like to know how this sauce is made, then watch this video to see what ingredients are often used. Although recipes can vary, this kind of sauce can be made by simmering mirin rice wine, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.

If you’d like to try some delicious teriyaki dishes, then please come and see us at House of Genji. To schedule your reservation with our Japanese steakhouse in San Jose, please call (408) 453-8120 to make your reservation.

Top Things to Do in Shibuya

Shibuya is a city ward in Tokyo that’s known for the entertainment and shopping situated around Shibuya Station. If you’re someone who enjoys dining at Japanese restaurants, likes learning about Japan’s culture, or is planning a trip to Japan, then continue reading to discover some of the top things to do in Shibuya.

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is Japan’s most famous shrine and is dedicated to Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) and his wife, Empress Shoken (1849-1914). The shrine is the most visited religious site in the country and is in a green setting that makes it a peaceful, beautiful area within the city. Meiji Shrine holds a spring festival May 2-3 and a fall festival November 1-3, and as many as 1 million visitors enter the shrine on November 3, which is Emperor Meiji’s birthday, and on New Year’s Day.

Yoyogi Park

A popular location for jogging and picnicking, Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi Koen) is one of the largest city parks in Tokyo and is ideal for many outdoor activities. You can enjoy cherry blossom viewing if you visit this park in spring, and its Gingko tree forest becomes a bright gold in autumn.

Shibuya Crossing

In front of Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit is the large and well-known intersection called Shibuya Crossing. Also referred to as the Shibuya Scramble, this intersection stops traffic in all directions to allow pedestrians to cross. Often, hundreds of people cross from all sides, and at peak times, there’s thought to be more than 1,000. This scene of organized chaos is one not to be missed if you’re heading to Shibuya.

Takeshita Street

Harajuku is a district in Shibuya that is known for being the birthplace of many new fashion trends in Japan. Takeshita Street (Takeshita Dori) is the epicenter of teen culture in Harajuku and features many fashion boutiques, trendy shops, and fast food stands.

House of Genji features a cocktail lounge and offers teppanyaki Japanese dining in San Jose. To learn more or make your reservation, please give us a call at (408) 453-8120.

A Look at Dining Etiquette in Japanese Culture

When dining at a Japanese restaurant in the United States, many people use Western table etiquette. If you’re curious about what table manners are followed in Japan, then read on to learn about dining etiquette in Japanese culture.


While some restaurants in Japan feature Western tables and chairs, others use traditional low tables, tatami mats, and cushions. In these situations, it’s customary to remove your slippers or shoes before stepping onto the tatami mat and to avoid stepping on the cushions of others. Seating order is also a consideration, and the most important person at the table typically sits farthest from the room’s entrance, and the least important person or the host sits closest to the entrance.


At most restaurants in Japan, customers are provided with wet towels to clean their hands before eating. People typically wait to eat until everyone’s dishes arrive and then begin the meal with the phrase “ itadakimasu,” which means “I receive gratefully.” It’s considered good dining etiquette in Japan to finish one’s food down to the last grain of rice and to then return the dishes to where they were placed at the beginning of the meal. Burping, chewing loudly, or blowing one’s nose at the table are considered bad table manners in Japan.


It’s customary in Japan to wait until everyone has their glass to begin drinking. Then, the glasses are raised, and a salute is said, usually “ kampai,” which means “cheers.” When it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages, it’s ideal not to serve yourself. Instead, people periodically check the cups of others and offer refills. If someone offers to refill your cup, then it’s good manners to drink more from your cup and then extend your glass toward the person.

At our Japanese restaurant in San Jose, House of Genji features a cocktail lounge and teppanyaki dining. If you have questions or wish to make a reservation, then please call (408) 453-8120.

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