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Dining out with Japanese friends 2012/3/28 12:14
My wife and I are going on our second trip to Japan soon. During our first trip we met up with a couple of nice Japanese people who we connected with through a mutual friend in the US. So this was the first time we met our Japanese friends. We had dinner with them out at a restaurant and had a great time (we ended up hanging out there for 3 hours or more). At the end of the meal they surprised us by paying for the meal. We tried to pay also but were pushed away. We later learned that it was insulting that we offered. I doubt they were offended, because they probably know that we didn't know any better.

Now for my question. We were hoping to reconnect with our two Japanese friends, but there will be a total of 4 of us. I am worried that our Japanese friends will feel obligated to pay for all 4 of us. Is there something I can do so that we can pay? I've been avoiding contacting them so far because I almost feel like they might think we are "using" them for a meal. This is in Tokyo if it makes a difference.

Thank you!
by Cache77  

Re: Dining out with Japanese friends 2012/3/28 21:56

Just tell them you'd like to have a meal together "in one condition that you go Dutch." That's all there is to it.

I don't think it's anything special. In every country I've traveled to, when an adult friend comes from far away, the host(ess) treats them by paying for a lot of things if not everything. And I think it's even more common for (especially female) guests to refrain themselves from offering to pay. So nothing insulting about offering to pay especially in Japan.

And sometimes hosts will find ways to pay for you even if you had insisted on going Dutch. But then, what can you say about it. You can just "pay it forward" by being nice to other people you encounter in your life.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Dining out with Japanese friends 2012/3/30 00:51
Since they paid before & If you want to pay this time, sneak out (w/ an excuse like going to the rest room) before you get the bill & pay at the cashier behind his back.
That is how it is done without saying anything & before the guest knows & before he does. If you wait til the bill comes, it becomes an awkward situation.
You can ask your own friends to pay their portions later, if you prearranged. Otherwise, your friends may thank you, too.
by ay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Dining out with Japanese friends 2012/3/30 14:31
I would say to them upon the invitation 'We would like to invite you for dinner some day soon. Since last time you paid the meal, so this time it is our turn, OK? Let's go out there. What would you like to eat?'

This way, they are sure you appreciated the deal you received and now want to give it back to them. It is natural and they will consider some meal that won't go too much of the price. Anyway people here is always trying to be nice to the guests from foreign countries and love to pay the meal for the guests. You can insist YOU pay it. It does not offend anybody. Then they may say OK let's go dutch this time. Either way will be OK. The money is not a matter in such occasion.

Have a good time with your friends.
by Jay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Dining out with Japanese friends 2012/4/8 01:43
I'd guess that they are unlikely to be offended by your having offered to pay last time. In fact, as long as you stopped short of arguing or insisting, I suspect that it was regarded as desirably polite that you put up a small protest.

As for the new meal you're planning, I'd bring the subject up beforehand and outright say that since there are so many of you this time and since they paid last time you would loke to repay their kindness. They may also protest a little, just as you did, but just follow their lead last time and quietly make it happen :)
by MeHere (guest) rate this post as useful

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