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Irrashaimase!!! Help on ordering dishes in a restaurant.

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
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nyczfish
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Joined: Apr 22nd, '06, 00:37

Irrashaimase!!! Help on ordering dishes in a restaurant.

Post by nyczfish » Mar 10th, '07, 13:04

Sorry for posting this if someone already did.

Hello. Everytime when I enter my my neighborhood's japanese noodle shop called "Udon West". They always say a greeting, "いらっしゃいませ", and then when they hear me speak english, then they just say "May I help you?" instead of 何かお探しですか. Im familiar with all the japanese etiquettes and responses but the problem is that I can't order a dish without speaking english. I tried to order my sushi fish in japanese. I said, "Ichi mai tuna kudasai". And instead of saying "かしこまりました", they just say "ok". I get my order and I say "ありがとうございます", the employees giggle and ask me if that was the only word I knew. I said, "no" and ate my food. When my friends and I finished our food, we paid what we owed. My friend gave tips, but I stopped him and said to him that japanese people that tips to kindly. To my concern, the waitress will be flattered with the tips, but I live in Flushing, New York not Japan, so will the waitress be kind enough to accept it? I wonder to myself and said forget it and just give it to her. She actually get kind of get flattered but gave it to the manager. Can someone give me any pointers? :D

anoney
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Post by anoney » Mar 10th, '07, 14:07

Part of their "shall we speak Japanese or English?" behaviour can be attributed to the fact that they probably don't deal with very many American (non-Japanese) customers who speak Japanese. Coupled with the fact that you obviously don't speak fluent Japanese (that's not an attack at all, I'm just saying), I can understand why they feel hesitant to switch to full Japanese mode. And remember, it's New York, not Japan. They may feel happy to accomodate you with Japanese greetings and such, but the bulk of the talking will be in Japanese unless you demonstrate that you are competently fluent in both language AND dining-manners. Don't take it personal, it's just novel for them to meet customers who speak more than a few words of Japanese.

With the tipping, it's America and not Japan, so I'd say you should tip. I recently went to a Japanese restaurant in London (where I live) with some Japanese friends. The establishment is owned by and run by native Japanese, but at the end of our meal my Japanese friends suggested we leave some kind of tip. The staff also spoke Japanese to my friends, but mainly English to me (even though I spoke Japanese to them in the form of quick phrases and the odd ありがとうございます).

That said, there may be waiters/watresses who will humour you and speak basic Japanese when you order, but keep in mind that it's not a language exchange, it's a restaurant and they have a job to do.

nikochanr3
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Location: NY

Re: Irrashaimase!!! Help on ordering dishes in a restaurant.

Post by nikochanr3 » Mar 10th, '07, 14:53

nyczfish wrote:Sorry for posting this if someone already did.

Hello. Everytime when I enter my my neighborhood's japanese noodle shop called "Udon West". They always say a greeting, "いらっしゃいませ", and then when they hear me speak english, then they just say "May I help you?" instead of 何かお探しですか. Im familiar with all the japanese etiquettes and responses but the problem is that I can't order a dish without speaking english. I tried to order my sushi fish in japanese. I said, "Ichi mai tuna kudasai". And instead of saying "かしこまりました", they just say "ok". I get my order and I say "ありがとうございます", the employees giggle and ask me if that was the only word I knew. I said, "no" and ate my food. When my friends and I finished our food, we paid what we owed. My friend gave tips, but I stopped him and said to him that japanese people that tips to kindly. To my concern, the waitress will be flattered with the tips, but I live in Flushing, New York not Japan, so will the waitress be kind enough to accept it? I wonder to myself and said forget it and just give it to her. She actually get kind of get flattered but gave it to the manager. Can someone give me any pointers? :D
um, unless u live in japan, you tip japanese people. you don' t tip in japan, for instance if you were in an indian restaurant in japan you would not tip. in ny you HAVE to tip. i'm not jsut speaking in generalities, my wife is japanese, and we have been in 100 different japanese restaurants in this area, and they ALL not only accept, but expect tips.

nikochanr3
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Re: Irrashaimase!!! Help on ordering dishes in a restaurant.

Post by nikochanr3 » Mar 10th, '07, 14:55

nyczfish wrote:Sorry for posting this if someone already did.

Hello. Everytime when I enter my my neighborhood's japanese noodle shop called "Udon West". They always say a greeting, "いらっしゃいませ", and then when they hear me speak english, then they just say "May I help you?" instead of 何かお探しですか. Im familiar with all the japanese etiquettes and responses but the problem is that I can't order a dish without speaking english. I tried to order my sushi fish in japanese. I said, "Ichi mai tuna kudasai". And instead of saying "かしこまりました", they just say "ok". I get my order and I say "ありがとうございます", the employees giggle and ask me if that was the only word I knew. I said, "no" and ate my food. When my friends and I finished our food, we paid what we owed. My friend gave tips, but I stopped him and said to him that japanese people that tips to kindly. To my concern, the waitress will be flattered with the tips, but I live in Flushing, New York not Japan, so will the waitress be kind enough to accept it? I wonder to myself and said forget it and just give it to her. She actually get kind of get flattered but gave it to the manager. Can someone give me any pointers? :D
and about the japanese, if they giggle if you make a mistake or something, no worries. she probably thinks its cute you are trying and failing. its not disrespectful, more funny. my bad japanese has been laughed at many times, but is always appreciated at the same time.

maybe she jsut digs you... :lol

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groink
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Re: Irrashaimase!!! Help on ordering dishes in a restaurant.

Post by groink » Mar 10th, '07, 21:12

nikochanr3 wrote:and they ALL not only accept, but expect tips.
Exactly. In America, it is common practice among restaurant owners to pay waiters/waitresses wages based on the minimum wage rate of the area. This is because it is expected that the tips given by customers compensates for the low base pay. If you do not tip American restaurant workers, it really hurts their take-home pay.

As for Japanese restaurant workers speaking Japanese, don't give in and speak English. Believe me - all Japanese living in America understands Japanese. They don't speak English probably because they're uncomfortable about speaking incorrectly. But they DO understand English. Even when you order fish, such as grilled fish or sushi, feel free to call it mackerel instead of saba.

My friend and I had this very discussion just a few days ago, where I find that in Hawaii, many Japanese restaurants retain its culture through language within the restaurant's atmosphere. When I walk into most Chinese restaurants in Hawaii, I don't hear a single word of Chinese. Same thing goes with Korean and all other Asian restaurants I've been to (and I've been to hundreds of them.) This may differ in other parts of America and the rest of the world.

As the old saying goes, "When in Rome."

--- groink

nyczfish
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Post by nyczfish » Mar 11th, '07, 01:15

I justed lefted the store five hours ago for lunch with my friends after skateboard/guitarr practice. I ordered the Don Katsu. The employees were chatting with me and they offered some sake that was 50% price. Yup, I got drunk and we started talking about the difference between japanese and american/western culture. I was mainly talking to the waitress about japanese girls. The time flew by and I had to leave to skate some more.

I actually kind of did take all your replys very kindly. They were just giggling because it sounded that i wanted really to learn and that we had a language barrier. But, I soon found out that Japanese person are actually nice.

sicsee
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Joined: Mar 2nd, '07, 08:44

Post by sicsee » Mar 11th, '07, 01:41

yes.. tipping. but there are always more scrooges/cheapos than others.

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choco_kinoko
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Post by choco_kinoko » Mar 14th, '07, 11:56

I live in Japan, and it is wonderful that I never have to pay a tip. People give you awesome service just for being a customer.

And, usually employees speak to me in Japanese when I order, but I get annoyed when they try to hand me an English menu. One of the downfalls on looking Western.

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Post by 8thSin » Mar 18th, '07, 00:09

In Japan, you don't need to tip because they automatically take tip from you in restaurants.

If you look at your receipt in some restaurants, you will see something like "Service fee" added, like 10%ish. Others probably just have it built into the price. They always take tips in America because service fee is not added (it's probably not even legal to)

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SSJSubgeta
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Post by SSJSubgeta » Mar 18th, '07, 04:29

hahaha tips, this reminded me of the opening from Reservoir Dogs, when that guy didn't want to pay up for the tip. LMAO. What a great scene.

I however have had a bad experience, I was in Chinatown at a restaurant with a 2 friends of mine. We were sent to the second floor of the restaurant. Since the first floor was crowded. We were seated all the way by the back on a small table for 2 people and the waiter put a chair on the side. While there were other tables free for about 5 or 6 people to sit up front by some windows. I asked that we preferred to be seated by the window. The waiter completely ignored me and I got ticked off a bit but i let it go since i didn't want to get into it. Then some dude comes in and he is all alone, he then gets seated by himself by the same waiter, and you guessed it, by the window. I though well if his 4 or 6 other family members or friend don't come I'm gonna be one pissed off dude. So he takes our order. We ordered a hot-pot so we all ate and I grabbed the waiter and asked if he could bring me a 7up. So we are all still eating and my friend asks for the bill. I took a look at the bill and wow theres a 7up that i was being charged for. A 7up that i never even drank? How the F does this happen? As I was getting up from my chair to reach my wallet the waiter thought we were leaving and he asks "No tip". Thats when my patience meter immediately hit total chaos. I said calmly and kept my cool, "Look you charged me for a 7up that i never got, and you make us sit in a cramped up place when theres plenty of room. Look at that guy you sat him there and he's just 1 person. What is that? and you expect a tip?". Guess what this nut job does, he goes in the back and comes back with a 7up. I seriously wanted to kill this guy. Then I told him, "Seriously for the crap service you gave us you didnt work for your tip and you sure as hell ain't going to get one." We paid for the bill, exactly what the total tallied. He just stood there in shock as we walked out. My only regret is not going to the manager that day.

Sorry to go off topic here but in the US its expected to pay tips in restaurants. In some its even included and tallied up. So even if you get crap service or not you still have to pay up. I'm glad ill be going over Japan soon and experience probably the best hospitality in the world. Even if I don't have to tip, I can offer them my biggest thank you for their service.

hikkichan
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Post by hikkichan » Mar 18th, '07, 06:04

Aw... groink, you live out on the aina... You know that not all Japanese folks in the US don't speak Japanese... I mean, hell... I find it rare to find Japanese folks in Hawaii that speak Japanese fluently.

Sometimes I slip up and order in Japanese at some restaurants when I visit Hawaii due to the "Irrashaimase". And then you have the folks get embarrassed and say they don't speak Japanese.

But, of course tips are to be expected in the US. However, if you frequent a place and tip well, you'll be treated like a king/queen. I remember when I worked in Cali, there was one waiter that would go out of his way to serve me... he knew my name, always had my favorite liquor ready, and would even comp me a drink here and there because he was taken care of so well by the tips.

As for tips in Japan, the hand to hand exchange of money is really looked down upon... That why you always have those little plastic trays to place your money into when you pay at the store/restaurant. Just like if you receive money from the bank or where ever, it'll be put into an envelope.

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