Phrases You Need to Know When You’re in a Restaurant in Japan
Japan has always had courtesy and politeness integrated into their culture. Knowing what words to say in a restaurant in the Land of the Rising Sun can help you communicate with your friends and the staff for a great and fun dining experience.
Words of Politeness
If you come to a Japanese restaurant, you will often be greeted by the staff with a cheerful “Irassyaimase”. This means "thanks for coming" and can also translate to “welcome”.
If there are Japanese people you wish to talk to and you want to introduce yourself, you can start by saying, “Hajimemashite”. This means "nice to meet you", and is ideally used for first-time meetings. Follow up by giving them your name. For example, if your name is Alex you would say, "Watashi wa Alex desu."
Words for Ordering
After all of the greetings and introductions, you can call on the wait staff and start ordering. If you're feeling adventurous and you have an appetite for the restaurant's specials, ask the wait staff for a recommendation with "Osusume wa nan desu ka." The waiter will then recommend the specials they have or maybe one of their best-selling dishes.
When the waiter has finished setting you up and taking your order, don't forget to be polite and thank him by saying "Arigatou gozaimasu."
You can then continue to do what you came here to do: dine and have fun! Make sure you get to enjoy the food and the ambiance!
Get the Check!
Once you have had a good time and meal, call the wait staff for the check with, "Okaikei wo onegai shimasu," and he'll bring the check around. Don't forget to pay, too.
So, now you've had a great dinner at a Japanese restaurant. If the night is still young, it's probably a good idea to find Japanese watering holes, like an izakaya or a karaoke bar.