I would appreciate some advise on whether I committed a massive social blunder. A few months ago I booked reservations at a top Japanese restaurant. They called me a couple weeks later and said that they had booked a company function on the night of my reservation and asked if I could move my reservation to another night. I agreed and they were very apolgetic and promised special service.
When we arrived, the manager of restaurant came to my table and personally apoligized. I stayed seated (blunder 1?) and he presented me with his business card, I simply took it and thanked him (blunder 2?).
The meal we had was fantastic. The chef came out and chatted with us briefly which was cool.
Then at the end of the night, I asked for the bill. The manager came to my table and said something about "inviting us" to dinner. I thought he meant he was asking us to come back in the future, so I said "absolutely!". He looked a little stunned. It then hits me that that he was offering that the entire meal be on the house". I ask the waiter to bring the manager back, I stood up and said I apolgilized for misunderstanding, and said I would be embarassed not to pay for our meal. He assured me it was no problem. He even gave me a parting gift.
Did I commit a major social blunder by accepting the free meal ($900 value). Was I expected to reject his offer and insist on payment? What should I do now? Send them a gift, personal letter, phone call?
Any help would be appreciated.
There's really no particular Japanese dimension to your anecdote other than the ethnicity of the restaurant. They felt bad about forcing you to reschedule your plans and comped you a meal. Move on with your life.
Sounds like you won the lottery. Send them a nice thank you note, and visit that restaurant regularly as evidence of your gratefulness for their treating you so well.
Upon reading the title of this thread I was expecting to hear that you put a chopstick up your nose and shot it at your food multiple times over the meal but it really just sounds like you had an awesome dinner.
I am sure a nice thank you letter would be very appreciated or a small gift. In a very formal setting, you should stand up to bow and accept the business card with two hands. But I don't think it's a blunder if you didn't.
I've been here 3 years and the Japanese don't worry to much about foreigners. As long as you don't walk around with the bathroom slippers, you are fine!