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.

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