JAPAN

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Izakaya with Nadia

Izakaya-style Drinking

(Yoronotaki is an izakaya-style drinking establishment.)

When you are seated, wipe your face and hands with the oshibori (wet towel) provided to refresh yourself. Such use of oshibori is common at izakaya in Japan.

First, you need to order drinks. When everyone has decided what they want, summon a waiter by raising your hand and shouting “Sumimasen!” (“Excuse me!”) in a loud, clear voice.

When the waiter comes to your table, order your drinks. Please kindly nominate one person to place the drink order for the whole table. This will make things easier for the waiter, especially if your group is large. Such thoughtfulness, which is highly valued as the spirit of wasi sabi, would be very much appreciated.
Note: Many of our waiters can only speak Japanese. You may find it effective to use gestures and point to the items on the menu when ordering.

When the drinks come, please pass them around to whoever ordered them, as some seats are beyond the reach of the waiter. This is another gesture in accordance with wabi sabi spirit.

Now, you are all set to kick off your party. To make the start:
 1. Each person holds their glass in their right hand;
 2. A senior member of the group says “Kanpai” (“Cheers!”),
   raising his or her glass and tiping it at a 45-degree angle;
 3. Everyone else follows, saying “Kanpai” while doing the same with their glasses.

From this point on, everyone can engage in free conversation.

At an izakaya, food is usually served on large plates for everyone to share by helping themselves with chopsticks.

The Japanese way to enjoy kushiyashi (grilled skewers) is to take the skewers apart for everyone to share. This is also an example of wabi sabi considerateness.

Stack the empty plates out of the way at the end of the table for a waiter to take away.

The last order for all-you-can-drink beverages is taken 30 minutes prior to the time limit. When a waiter comes to take your last order, please place your drink orders together in the same way as you did for your first round.

Just before the time is up, call a waiter to ask for the bill. Raise your hand and shout “Sumimasen!” in a loud, clear voice, followed by “Okaikei onegai” or “Oaiso yoroshiku,” both meaning “Bill, please.”

When you are ready to pay, someone in the group makes a short closing speech. Lastly, everyone at the table performs tejime, a ceremonial hand-clapping, together. Specifically, one person will call out, for example, “Minasan no kongo no kensho wo kinen shite, ote-wo-haishaku” (literally meaning “Wishing for our health and prosperity, let me borrow your hands,”) and the tejime follows as below (in the case of a sanbon-jime-type of tejime): “Yoooo!”

 Clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap “Yo!”
 Clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap “Ha!”
 Clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap
 One final clap

The party is brought to a close with lots of freestyle clapping. If you would like to try sanbon-jime, ask a waiter to help you by saying, “Sanbon-jime oshiete kudasai!” (“Please teach us how to do sanbon-jime.”) We will be more than happy to teach you. Thank you very much for dining with us and for your interest in izakaya-style drinking. We look forward to welcoming you again next time.