• Visit House of Genji for Your Free Birthday Dinner!

    House of Genji is a popular Japanese restaurant in San Jose that offers a teppanyaki experience. We always welcome parties celebrating special events, including birthdays. In fact, we’d like to invite you to visit us on your next birthday for your free New York steak dinner! Bring three or more adults with you and enjoy fine dining prepared right at your table. Your free steak dinner is available with the purchase of three full-price adult dinners.

    Before you head over to House of Genji for your NY steak dinner, treat yourself to a birthday outing at one of the many attractions near our restaurant. We’re a short drive away from the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which regularly offers special programs. House of Genji is also close to the San Jose Museum of Art and the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.

    Call House of Genji at (408) 453-8120 to request a reservation for your Japanese dining experience for your birthday. Remember to bring your driver’s license to verify your birth date.

  • How Is Green Tea Ice Cream Made?

    Green tea ice cream is a popular dessert option at Japanese restaurants. It’s made from milk, heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, and matcha green tea powder. Matcha isn’t like regular green tea leaves. It’s a finely ground powder that has a highly concentrated flavor.

    You can see a demonstration of how green tea ice cream is made when you watch this video. The process is complex, requiring multiple heating and cooling periods, and constant stirring. Although the delicious taste is worth the effort, most people prefer to simply buy their green tea ice cream when they go to a Japanese steakhouse.

    Experience the best of Japanese dining in San Jose, including green tea ice cream, at House of Genji. Call us at (408) 453-8120 or browse our lunch and dinner menus on our website.

  • The Origins of Japanese Kanji

    If you enjoy Japanese restaurants, you might be interested in learning about the culture. The Japanese language is still rather enigmatic to professional linguists, and there are multiple theories as to the origin of the spoken language. The primary system of written characters is called kanji. These characters are notoriously complicated, and require intensive study to master. Individuals who do choose to study kanji are rewarded by the artistic beauty and poetic nature of the brush strokes.

    The Early Written Japanese Language

    Centuries ago, the Japanese people relied solely on spoken language. It is thought that they had no written language of their own until Chinese immigrants settled in Japan and brought their own language with them. Archaeologists have dated the earliest known writings to the 5 th and 6 th centuries B.C.E. These writings are found on a sword and a mirror, and they use Chinese characters to indicate proper names. A few centuries later, the Japanese people had become accustomed to using Chinese characters for their own spoken language.

    The Evolution of Japanese Kanji

    The problem with borrowing Chinese characters for Japanese words is that the two languages are vastly different in syntax and phonology. Over time, the Japanese began modifying the characters to fit their own language better.

    The Meaning of Kanji

    To a Westerner, the intricate characters look impossibly detailed, and it can seem unimaginable to memorize thousands of them. There are at least 8,000 kanji used in Japan today, but most people get by knowing about 2,000 of them. Although the system is intimidating to Westerners, it’s actually easier than it seems, because characters are combined together in a logical fashion. For example, one would write “train” by combining the characters for “car” and “electricity.”

    The Other Language Systems

    Japanese kanji is actually just one system of three. The other two systems are hiragana and katakana, which are both collectively referred to as kana. It’s possible to write a sentence that has all three systems.

    Immerse yourself in the culture and food of Japan with a visit to House of Genji. Our cocktail lounge and hibachi grill are conveniently located in San Jose. Get in touch at (408) 453-8120 to inquire about reservations.

  • Kagami Biraki: The Traditional Sake Ceremony

    The Japanese people enjoy a number of traditional ceremonies, including kagami biraki. Literally translated, this means the opening of the mirror. Of course, this is just a metaphor. Instead of a mirror, it’s actually a barrel of sake that is opened. Kagami biraki is a celebration that marks a major change in someone’s life, and so it can be held any time of the year. For instance, you could get your friends together at a Japanese steakhouse to celebrate a graduation with this traditional sake ceremony.

    Events Associated with Kagami Biraki

    Most often, kagami biraki is held to celebrate the New Year. Odd numbers are favored in Japan, and so the New Year celebration is typically held on January 11. Many traditional dojos, which are martial arts schools, will schedule a kagami biraki to usher in the New Year. This traditional ceremony may also be held at weddings and sports events. Companies might hold a kagami biraki to launch a new venture.

    History of Kagami Biraki

    It’s thought that the first person to hold this ceremony was the fourth Tokugawa Shogun. About 300 years ago, the Shogun gathered together his daimyo—who were influential feudal lords—to break open a cask of sake before a battle. They triumphed in battle, and so the ceremony continued as a good luck superstition.

    Types of Kagami Biraki

    Kagami biraki can refer to two different ceremonies. The celebration of the New Year traditionally involves the breaking of the kagami mochi. This translates to “mirror rice cake.” Kagami mochi is two rice cakes of different sizes. The smaller cake is placed on top of the larger one. It’s also traditional to top the smaller rice cake with a daidai—a Japanese bitter orange—that has an attached leaf. Kagami mochi is traditionally cooked in a soup on kagami biraki. The other ceremony that involves sake includes the opening of the sake barrel with wooden mallets. Then, masu cups are filled with a wooden ladle, called a hishaku.

    Enjoy fine Japanese dining and drinks at a cocktail lounge near you in San Jose. House of Genji has been a beloved favorite of locals for years, and we’re confident that you’ll fall in love with our unique teppanyaki dining experience. Call our restaurant at (408) 453-8120.