• 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.