• A Look at the Awa Odori Festival

    In Japan, the Obon season in mid-August is marked by dance festivals across the country. One of these festivals is Awa Odori. “Odori” means to dance and “Awa” is an old name for the Tokushima Prefecture, where the dance festival is held. It takes place from August 12-15. Thousands come every year to enjoy the “Fool’s Dance.” There are lots of activities during the daytime, and you can expect to find many Japanese food stalls scattered throughout the area.

    The main dance event takes place during the evening hours. Groups of dancers, called “ren,” wear colorful uniforms and play musical instruments as they dance in a procession. The city center of Tokushima is turned into a huge dance arena with multiple stage platforms. Paid seating areas are for viewing professional groups of dancers, while free seating areas are for watching more casual dancers. If you plan to travel to Japan for the Awa Odori festival, you should book your hotel reservations months in advance, as this festival is very popular.

    Even if you can’t travel to Japan, you can still enjoy authentic Japanese food right here in San Jose. Call (408) 453-8120 to request reservations at House of Genji, which offers teppanyaki.

  • Must-Try Japanese Salads and Sides

    A visit to a Japanese restaurant is a feast for the senses. The aromatic sauces, delicious flavors, and pleasing textures combine to produce an exceptional meal. Bring your appetite, as there’s lots more to the Japanese dining experience than just the entrees. There are also plenty of delectable salads and sides to try.

    Seaweed Salad

    The next time you go to a Japanese steakhouse, consider starting your meal with a small seaweed salad. Seaweed is packed with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support healthy thyroid function, gut health, and even cardiovascular health. Salad recipes can vary from one Japanese restaurant to the next, but generally, seaweed salad is made from reconstituted, mixed seaweed and a dressing of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and ginger juice.

    Edamame

    Edamame is a perfect appetizer or side. Edamame is young, flavorful soybeans. When served as an appetizer or side, edamame is typically salted and left in the shells. It may also be served with a dipping sauce. Although the shells are not eaten, you can place the whole shell in your mouth. You can then work the soybeans out of the shell, and you’ll get the flavor of the salt or sauce at the same time

    Tempura

    Tempura has been a traditional Japanese side dish since the 16th century. Its creation was inspired by the fritter-cooking techniques used by Portuguese residents of Nagasaki during that time. Tempura is usually vegetables and seafood dipped in a light batter and fried. If you’re a vegetarian, you may order only vegetable tempura.

    Asian Fusion Chicken Salad

    Some diners prefer a salad as their main entrée. This delicious salad offers protein and vegetables in one dish. Chicken breast is lightly battered and fried until crispy. It’s served over fresh greens, rice vermicelli, cilantro, and cashews, and tossed with an Asian-style dressing.

    You’ll find a full menu of delicious entrees, salads, and sides at House of Genji—a Japanese steakhouse in San Jose. To inquire about our hours, call (408) 453-8120. We’re open for dinner seven days per week!

  • Spotlight on the Mai Tai

    The mai tai is a delicious cocktail reminiscent of the tropics. Every talented bartender who works in a cocktail lounge should know how to make this drink. There are many variations of the mai tai. Some people like to add pineapple juice, for example, and some add a little rock candy syrup.

    As you’ll learn by watching the accompanying video, the base ingredients for the mai tai are Jamaican rum, rhum agricole, lime juice, and dry curacao. Mai tais should be served poured slowly into a full glass of crushed ice, and garnished with a fresh sprig of mint.

    House of Genji is famous for fabulous drinks, and one of our specialties is the mai tai. Call our Japanese restaurant in San Jose at (408) 453-8120 to inquire about our cocktail lounge or request a reservation for an authentic Japanese dining experience.

  • Exploring the Beautiful Art of Japanese Calligraphy

    Writing is usually only considered to be an art form when one is discussing works of fiction. But in some cases, the letters and words themselves can become dazzling artworks. The art of Japanese calligraphy has been practiced for centuries by people of all ages, of all social classes, and from all walks of life.

    The High Regard for Accomplished Calligraphers

    The Chinese and Japanese cultures alike regard calligraphy with great respect. Some hold it in higher esteem than sculptures and paintings. Pablo Picasso once said that if he had been Chinese, he would have become a calligrapher instead of a painter. And according to the China Institute, an ancient Chinese scholar is recorded as having said, “Calligraphy is images without real features, music without real sounds.” In Japan, you’ll find many homes with sets of calligraphy tools. In primary schools, calligraphy is a required subject. In Japan, calligraphy is regarded as being a practice of philosophies as much as an art form.

    The History of Japanese Calligraphy

    Japanese calligraphy is referred to as “shodo,” which means “the way of writing.” Shodo was introduced to Japan from China during the fifth century. Calligraphy became more widely used with the introduction of Buddhism, as it was used to print the Buddhist sutras. Copying these sutras by hand, rather than merely reading them, was used as a form of meditation. During the Heian Period, from 794 to 1185, shodo began to evolve and look distinctive from Chinese calligraphy. This deviation continued and expanded during subsequent centuries.

    The Styles of Japanese Calligraphy

    Three primary styles of shodo are practiced today. Kaisho is the standard or square style. It features “blocky” characters that most closely resemble Chinese calligraphy styles. Since it’s the easiest style to learn, most beginners start with kaisho. The second style, gyosho, is semi-cursive and more artistic, with strokes that flow together. Sosho is cursive and abstract. The strokes are done quickly and gracefully. There is an emphasis on aesthetics over legibility.

    You can experience Japan’s rich cultural heritage at House of Genji. Join us for delicious, expertly prepared Japanese food in San Jose. If you have questions about our hibachi grill, cocktail lounge, or teppanyaki, call (408) 453-8120.

     

  • What to Wear to Happy Hour

    After a long work day, hitting a local cocktail lounge for happy hour is a great way to unwind. During happy hours, you can usually expect drink and food specials, so it’s a terrific chance to try out something new while spending time with friends. House of Genji’s cocktail lounge offers unique drinks and Japanese food favorites to share as you get rid of the stress of the day. Many people who want to attend a happy hour wonder what the dress code is. Whether you’re coming straight from work or dressing specifically to go out for happy hour, these looks will serve you well.

    Use a Blazer to Go from Office to Cocktail Lounge

    A blazer can be your best asset if you want to take a look from work-appropriate to cocktail lounge-friendly. Consider wearing a dress that is the right length for the office but that has some upper-level detailing, like a crisscross neckline or sheer neckline, which might otherwise be wrong for the office. Wear a blazer during the day to tone down the edgier details of the dress, and then leave the blazer behind to show off your style during happy hour. The blazer trick can work with lots of different looks, so you can transition from daytime to happy hour easily, without running home to change.

    Aim for Smart-Casual

    Depending on the dress code of your office, you can find a look that works in both environments by going for smart-casual style. With this look, skip the dress-downed jeans in favor of trousers, tuxedo pants, or slim-leg slacks, but top things off with a casual, patterned tunic, embellished top, or crisp T-shirt. Choose heels or ballet flats over tennis shoes for a look that works in your meetings and over drinks.

    Look to the Accessories

    Accessories can easily take your outfit from office to happy hour. Trade out your conservative earrings for chandelier styles and swap your simple chain for a statement necklace. Changing your shoes can also easily make your look happy hour-friendly.

    If you’re looking for a great happy hour, try the cocktail lounge in San Jose at House of Genji. You’ll love our drink specials and Japanese food and may even decide to stay for a teppanyaki dinner. For more information, call us at (408) 453-8120.

  • Why Shouldn’t You Stick Chopsticks Upright in a Bowl of Rice?

    Every culture has its own dining etiquette rules, and Japan is no exception. One important point of etiquette to remember when dining in Japanese restaurants is to never put your chopsticks pointing upwards in a bowl of rice. For people who are not accustomed to eating with chopsticks, this can seem like a natural thing to do, but it is actually a faux pas in many Asian countries.

    Putting chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice is done at a person’s deathbed, just after their death, or in front of a picture of him or her at a Buddhist alter. The tradition, called tsukitate-bashi, is meant as an offering to the person’s soul. It is also considered to be bad luck. Note that placing chopsticks in rice this way is also an etiquette faux pas in China.

    Test out your knowledge of chopstick etiquette while enjoying delicious Japanese food at House of Genji. Get more information about Japanese dining in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Off-the-Radar Places to Visit in Japan

    If you’re visiting Japan, you will naturally want to see all of the usual tourist attractions, such as eating Japanese food at some of the top restaurants in Tokyo or exploring Mt. Fuji. However, there are plenty of off-the-radar places that deserve your attention as well. Visiting these places will give you a unique spin on the tourist experience in Japan and give you plenty of stories to share about unbelievable places once you’ve returned home. Consider putting some of these unusual places in Japan on your itinerary.

    Wisteria Tunnel

    You can find the Wisteria Tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, which is easily reachable on the Shinkansen. The tunnel features a long pathway of hanging, pastel wisteria flowers, with benches along the way to enjoy the view. The best time of year to visit is April and May, during the Fuji Matsuri festival. This is the time at which the wisterias are in full bloom. Keep in mind that the flowers don’t bloom all year long, so check with a local before you go to avoid disappointment.

    Tashirojima Island

    If you’re a cat lover, Tashirojima Island, or Cat Island, as it is sometimes called, cannot be missed. There are fewer than 100 people living on the island, but an enormous population of feral cats roams freely. The cats are well cared for and considered to be a symbol of luck. Visitors to the island can bring food and treats for the cats to bring luck to themselves.

    Sagano Bamboo Forest

    The Sanago Bamboo Forest is only a 30-minute journey from Kyoto, and although it is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, you can still find quiet spaces among the sky-high bamboo stalks. The sound of the bamboo stalks knocking together as the wind rushes between them is a governmentally recognized soundscape in Japan.

    For a taste of Japanese culture a bit closer to home, try a teppanyaki lunch or dinner at House of Genji. In addition to teppanyaki in San Jose, we offer hibachi and a full menu of appetizers and side dishes. To learn more about our menu, please call (408) 453-8120.

     

  • See How Chef Johnny Does Teppanyaki

    If you’ve never had teppanyaki before and wondered what the experience is like, this video will give you some insight on what to expect. Teppanyaki dining isn’t just about delicious Japanese food but also the entertainment that comes with it.

    This video is filmed in a teppanyaki restaurant in the Cayman Islands, but although every chef brings his or her own style to the process, you can always expect to see amazing knife skills and an interactive experience between diners and the chef.

    You can experience teppanyaki for yourself by visiting House of Genji. If you’re intrigued, you can also learn more about our Japanese restaurant in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.

     

  • How to Eat Edamame

    A popular appetizer and snack you’ll find on the menu at most Japanese restaurants is edamame. Many people are familiar with seeing these young soybeans after they have already been shelled on salad bars and mixed in dishes, but when they are served as appetizers, they are still in their shells. This leaves people who are new to Japanese food wondering how to eat them.

    The easiest way to eat edamame in their shells is to put the shell into your mouth and use your teeth to gently slide the beans out of the pod. Usually, the shells are salted, so you will get some of the salt while you eat the edamame. Some people like to dip the shells in soy or another sauce before eating as well.

    Come experience the tastes of Japan at House of Genji. Our teppanyaki restaurant and Japanese steakhouse in San Jose offers a full menu of new flavors for you to try. Call us at (408) 453-8120 to learn more.

  • How to Use an ATM in Japan

    Say you’re visiting Japan and you want to try some Japanese food in a restaurant that only accepts cash. If you don’t have any money on you, you will need to withdraw some from an ATM. The trick is that most ATM machines at banks don’t accept cards issued outside of Japan.

    Watch this video to find out how to withdraw money with a foreign card in Japan. If you want to enjoy some cash-only Japanese dining, look for a 7-11. These stores have ATMs that take cards from around the world, and they are open every day, around the clock.

    For a taste of Japan closer to home, try House of Genji for authentic teppanyaki dining. Find out more about the menu at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.