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Jul 13, 2009 08:46 AM

greeting in Japanese restaurants

So you walk into many Japanese restaurants and the staff all call out *something* as you walk in, as a greeting. What's the word? thanks!!

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  1. Is it "konichiwa "?
    It is a Japanese greeting.

        1. re: ricepad

          Is usually spelled "ohayo" or "ohaiyo".

            1. re: ricepad

              Yeah, I guess that was really more what they said when you walked into a store in Japan - not a restaurant...

              1. re: greghoffman

                "Ohayo gozaimasu" is the typical greeting in the morning, akin to 'good morning'.

                I was just pulling your leg over your spelling. Sumimasen deshita!

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Wow, what a flashback to those first few weeks in Japan.

              The first time I entered a mom and pop type place on a village street, all three employees immediately drew erect, and SHOUTED "Irasshaimase!". It is often delivered boisterously, almost sternly, respectfully, but rarely is it gentle or dolce.

              I had no idea what it meant. With all honesty, I figured it meant "no foreigners!!!", so I actually ducked back out the door.

              Next night, after asking friends and finding what it meant, I went back to the same place and established a long and lovely relationship.

              Some places, especially late night working-man's bars, had the greeting at full decibel lusty level.

              Now back in the States, I've found only one equivalent. When I walk into my local Cici's pizza (for my special order double anchovy pie), all the staff shout "welcome to Cici's!" They don't have the unison rhythm quite down like a well honed restaurant team in Japan, but it's fun nonetheless.

              Then, when I special order my double anchovy pizza (included in the 5 dollar buffet price) the youngster at the register is startled and retreats to that internal place that resides within every non-initiated member of the american public, with "Gross!". But, over time (it's a quarter mile from my house) I've gently offered a taste and made a few converts.

              I visit about once a quarter, timed for good sports games on the big TV. The veteran kids there, after the unison "Welcome to Cici's", follow with "It's anchovy man!!!".

              Ah, sweet bliss.. that's the "Irasshai!" for the anchovy guy.

              1. re: FoodFuser

                That's great Fuser, I've been in Japan for 3 years now and I remember thinking, "why are they yelling at me already? I haven't even ordered!"

            2. irasshaimase, sounds like ee-rah-sha-ma-sai?

              its just a greeting that restaurants use, something like welcome or come in I guess. Might not have a direct translation. I don't think there's a specific reply other than to say hello or konbanwa (which may be old fashioned?).

              They also say "dozo" a lot which is something like "please" or "please enjoy this" or "please go ahead".

              1 Reply
              1. re: luniz

                Irasshaimase! that's it, thanks

              2. good phrases for you to know

                itadakimasu (when you are first given your food - mans something like "i gratefully receive this" and gochisosama deshita - after the meal as thanks to yourh osts and/or the chefs etc - i think it translates to "i had a feast"

                (menmonics - it's a ducky mess, and goat cheese sammy desktop)

                1 Reply
                1. re: thew

                  Perfectly ok to just say "gochisosama", either after eating or on your way out the door.
                  I remember itadakimasu (the "U" is nearly silent) literally "I receive", as the first syllable is "EAT".
                  Dozo also can mean "help yourself".