• Facts About the Japanese Service Industry That Surprise Westerners

    If you’re from the western hemisphere and you’ve never been to Japan, you’re missing out on a beautiful culture. Food tends to be a link between different cultures, so a Japanese restaurant may give you an introduction to a new way of living. Here are a couple of facts about the Japanese service industry that surprise westerners.

    You Request Service

    It’s normal to wait for your waiter to return to your table to tell them what you need, but in Japan, you may hear customers shout “sumimasen” if they need service and aren’t currently being attended to. Japanese restaurants tend to get crowded, so the shouting is warranted and not interpreted as impolite. You can shout the same word in a shop if you need assistance. This tends to be uncomfortable for Westerners to adjust to, but it’s a completely polite practice in the Japanese service industry.

    Servers Run and Bow

    Seeing a waiter run towards the cash register tends to be a bit jarring in American culture, but in the Japanese service industry, it’s completely normal. It’s not uncommon to see waiters rushing around a Japanese restaurant just to be as efficient as possible. This keeps lines from getting too long and people from getting impatient. In the Japanese service industry, it’s also normal for the person who helped you to carry your belongings to the door, hand them to you, and bow.

    There’s No Tipping

    One major difference between American and Japanese service industries is that in Japan, there’s no tipping. In stark contrast to American society, it’s borderline impolite to hand a Japanese serviceperson cash in the open. This can be confusing or even insulting, so keep your extra bills in your wallet.

    You can get a taste of what Japanese food is like when you go to House of Genji. We aim to give you the best Japanese dining experience possible in San Jose, and you and your friends will feel welcome in our cocktail lounge. Call us at (408) 453-8120 for more information.

  • Differences Between Sake for Drinking and Sake for Cooking

    Sake is both a delicious accompaniment for a Japanese meal and an important component in cooking Japanese food. The sake you order alongside your teppanyaki or hibachi is very similar to the sake used in cooking, with only a few small differences.

    Cooking sake is usually made using rice that is less polished than that used in drinking sake, which makes the flavor of rice more noticeable. Cooking sake also typically has a lower percentage of alcohol and is flavored with salt, in order to impart more flavor in the dishes in which it is used. Sake served for drinking is often sweeter, with a higher alcohol content, and it may be served hot or cold.

    At House of Genji, alongside sake, we offer a variety of cocktails that are delicious alongside our sushi, hibachi, and teppanyaki meals. Contact our Japanese restaurant in San Jose today by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Traditional Japanese Miso Soup

    Miso soup is a favorite part of the meal for most people who visit a Japanese restaurant. It contains a base of dashi broth and miso paste, with a variety of solid ingredients and is the perfect starter for any meal of Japanese food.

    Watch this video to see how miso soup is made. After creating the base, a number of different ingredients can be added, from tofu to shellfish. The broth can also be adjusted to accommodate preferences for mild or strong flavors.

    Start your meal at House of Genji off with a cup of miso soup before enjoying our teppanyaki or hibachi entrees. Learn more about our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Traditional Fukusasa and the Toka Ebisu Festival

    Although Japanese food traditions have become well-known across the world, you may know less about some of the traditional festivals held in Japan. The Toka Ebisu Festival is one such tradition. It is held every January across Japan and is when people buy lucky bamboo branches that have been decorated. Here is a look at traditional fukusasa and the Toka Ebisu Festival.

    What are traditional fukusasa?

    Fukusasa is the name given to the bamboo branches sold during the festival. The fukusasa are decorated by Miko. Miko is loosely translated as shrine maiden in English and refers to women who play important roles in the rituals and traditions of Shinto shrines. Traditionally, Miko are considered to be akin to shaman and able to perform acts like driving out evil spirits and serving as spiritual mediums. Today’s Miko tend to perform fewer such spiritual roles and instead work in reception areas of shrines, where they sell lucky trinkets and take part of ceremonies such as weddings and festivals. Decorating fukusasa branches is an important part of their role.

    What is the Toka Ebisu Festival?

    The Toka Ebisu Festival takes place in various shrines across the country in January. The festival honors the deity Ebisu, who is the god of fishermen and luck. Although the Toka Ebisu Festival is celebrated all over Japan, the largest event is in Osaka. Osaka’s Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is visited by more than a million people during the festival, who line up to buy lucky bamboo branches crafted by the shrine’s Miko. In other parts of the country, similar bamboo marts are set up at shrines throughout the multiday festival.

    Immerse yourself in the Japanese traditions of teppanyaki and hibachi cooking by dining at House of Genji. We offer an extensive menu of Japanese favorites, including sushi, as well as traditional teppanyaki-style dining at our Japanese steakhouse in San Jose. Get answers to your questions about our menu and dining hours by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Everything You Should Know About Gyoza

    If gyoza are one of your favorite ways to start out a meal in a Japanese restaurant, you’re not alone. Both stateside and in Japan, gyoza are a beloved snack, a popular appetizer, and even a favorite meal in and of itself. If you’re a gyoza fan, here is everything you need to know about these tasty dumplings.

    Gyoza blend Japanese and Chinese cultures.

    In Japan, people recognize gyoza as half-Chinese and half-Japanese. The dumplings themselves are thought to have originated in China, but they are now an intrinsic part of Japanese cuisine. One major difference between Chinese and Japanese gyoza is the way that they are eaten. In China, it is much more common to have steamed and boiled gyoza, while in Japan, pan-fried gyoza are the norm. In Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the U.S., it is common to find both steamed and pan-fried on the menu, although some Japanese restaurants stick to the more traditional pan-fried variety that is most common in Japan.

    In Japan, gyoza are often served alongside drinks.

    Across Japan, it is common for gyoza to be served in izakaya, which are similar to bars or taverns. They are considered to be a flavorful accompaniment for beer and other drinks. In other instances, gyoza can be found in ramen stands, food stalls, and even in convenience stores. They are usually served as a snack or may be eaten before a main meal. There are also specialty gyoza restaurants, where you can enjoy an inexpensive selection of gyoza.

    Multiple types of fillings are available.

    The most popular type of gyoza in Japan are yaki gyoza, which are pan-fried dumplings that are typically filled with cabbage, garlic, and ground pork. However, other types of fillings and styles are available, including sui gyoza, which are filled with soup.

    At House of Genji, we serve a variety of traditional Japanese side orders and appetizers, including gyoza, tempura, and edamame, that are perfect alongside our popular teppanyaki meals. To find out more about our Japanese steakhouse in San Jose, please call (408) 453-8120.